Thursday, July 23, 2009
Cupertino Square on Life Support
It's not looking so good for Cupertino Square mall.
The mall is now neck-in-neck for title of "most drama" in the South Bay retail market (Sunnyvale Town Center current holds the title).
Cupertino Square currently is under control of the lenders, Gramercy Capital and United Commercial Bank. When the old owners, Cupertino Square LLC and Vallco International Shopping Center LLC, stopped making debt payments, the lenders moved to foreclose on the property. However, Cupertino Square LLC and Vallco International Shopping Center LLC filed bankruptcy to keep the mall from going back into the hands of the lenders. Yet, last month, the mall went back into the hands of the lenders anyway. Now Gramercy Capital and United Commercial Bank are working with Jones Lang LaSalle to get the mall back on track.
My visit the other day showed the mall is declining quickly. A few more stores have closed since last month, but more concerning, new eateries in the freshly revamped food court have already closed! Not to mention, the "coming soon" signs for new eateries STILL say coming soon. I don't think anyone is coming soon anymore.
All this is such a shame... the mall has been trying, but has it made some wrong decisions?
Cupertino Square LLC and Vallco International Shopping Center LLC sought to reposition this mall as an Asian-inspired destination (east Asian). However, my informal racial profiling of shoppers showed that a majority of shoppers fell into the Caucasian and Indian segments. Did repositioning the mall alienate these groups?
What about capital improvement? The mall built a fancy new parking garage for the hordes of shoppers it expected, but the old pink and turquoise "Vallco Fashion Park" sign still adorns Interstate 280. The fourth picture shows the entrance to the food court... As you can see, no signs. I would have figured investing in improvments to guide shoppers to your mall would take priority over potential parking problems.
Some fresh photos for your perusal. The first is the quiet food court at noon. CNN blares on the LCD TVs... a good reason to leave when trying to enjoy your lunch over the pictures of death, dismemberment, and unrest.
Second photo... the deserted parking lot on the backside of the mall.
Third photo... the unusual architecture of JC Penney.
Fourth photo... food court entrance.
Read my guide to Cupertino Square
See the aerial view.