Thursday, July 12, 2007

Elk Grove Shopping

Anger over the failure of this project's approval by the County years ago is partially what led to the successful incorporation of Elk Grove.

People like to shop in their own community, and this sounds like a beautiful project to do so.

Elk Grove council approves mall plan
The open-air facility will be the first regional shopping center in the city.
By Sandy Louey - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, July 12, 2007

Late Wednesday night the Elk Grove City Council approved plans for a 1.1 million-square-foot open-air shopping mall.

Elk Grove Promenade, the city's first regional shopping center, will have as much retail space as the 1.1 million-square-foot Arden Fair mall and nearly as much as the 1.3 million-square-foot Roseville Galleria.

The council approved the development plan 3-1. Councilmen Gary Davis, Patrick Hume and Michael Leary voted in favor, while Councilwoman Sophia Scherman was opposed. Mayor Jim Cooper was out of town.

The 107-acre project at Grant Line Road and Highway 99 is expected to generate nearly $4 million in sales tax revenue its first full year of operation and provide 2,500 jobs, according to Louis Bucksbaum, who is overseeing the project for Chicago-based General Growth Properties.

General Growth hopes to break ground this summer with October 2008 as the opening date.

The company is expected to spend $25 million for public improvements, such as roads, sewer and water lines, for the project, according to the financing agreement between the city and General Growth.

Under the agreement, the city will pay General Growth up to $18.6 million for public rights to the mall parking and to acquire rights of way for the Grant Line Road/Highway 99 interchange project and other off-site public rights of way and improvements.

The agreement also calls for General Growth to pre-pay the road development impact fee at the rate set out in a development agreement, one that is lower than the current rate.

The city will transfer that $5.7 million difference to the city's roadway program from general fund revenues from Elk Grove Promenade.

In return, General Growth agreed to a timeline for the opening of the project and a list of prospective tenants.

The agreement calls for at least 12 tenants from an A-list of about 30 stores -- such as Coach, Banana Republic, Sharper Image and Crate & Barrel.

At least another 30 would come from a B-list of about 100 stores -- such as the Body Shop, Tiffany & Co., Mikasa and Forever 21.

The council's discussion about the financing agreement and development plan for the project came after the city Planning Commission voted 3-1 last month to recommend approval of the Elk Grove Promenade.

At the commission meeting, some speakers questioned the center's open-air design, the selection of anchors for the mall, and whether it would be a regional draw.

Others liked the open-air concept and the convenience for area residents, who have had to leave Elk Grove to shop in regional malls.

General Growth has announced lease deals with Macy's department store, bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. and Cinemark Theatres. Target Corp. and JC Penney Co. are said to be prospects for the retail center.

The open-air center is to be patterned after a traditional Main Street, with store-side parking and wide sidewalks shaded by awnings.