Proposal for Bay St. Macy’s dead, City seeks new ideas

Published On August 15, 2013 | By Rob Arias | News & Commentary, Planning & Development

The once popular Emeryville Flower Outlet shuttered its doors in 2006 and the building that housed it and other small businesses, demolished. The plan was an extension of the Bay Street Shopping mall with discussions to include a Macy’s department store anchor and (apparently non-union) hotel. The Emeryville redevelopment agency had earmarked millions to build a parking garage that was deemed necessary to accommodate the additional influx of car trips here (It was never clear what/if road improvements would be made to accommodate the expected increase in traffic in the already bottle-necked area).

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As we all know by now, Redevelopment was axed in 2011 and with it, the viability of this project (according to Madison Marquette). The property remains barren save the Vironex trucks and technicians that monitor the soil as part of the remediation process. Meanwhile, the adjacent “Site A” remains under Madison’s ownership and is zoned for retail or a hotel. It’s mainly functioned as a seasonal Christmas tree lot & pumpkin patch in the 6 years since. The city expects Madison to submit a proposal for that site “in the near future,” but selling the parcel is another option that could be considered.

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The most contentious point of this argument seems to be the exclusivity that Madison has received to this point through multiple extensions of their ERN (Exclusive Right to Negotiate) Agreement. Proponents of perpetuating this seem to rely on Madison’s track record of successful development & reputation of being a “good corporate citizens”. Detractors advise that competition would lead to more creative use of the space beyond merely big-box retail and allow for better negotiation of community benefit. The City Council meeting posted on the EPOA website is worth watching.


Reported by Blanca Torres, San Francisco Business Times

Madison Marquette has killed its proposal to build a Macy’s in Emeryville as an extension of the Bay Street retail and housing district. City officials recently hired consulting firm Keyser Marston and architecture firm Field Paoli to come up with a different use for the 3-acre site Madison Marquette had eyed for a department store. The site, at Shellmound and Powell streets, is known as “Site B” and was formerly owned by Emeryville’s redevelopment agency, which was disbanded last year when the Gov. Jerry Brown shut down redevelopment agencies. Those agencies used tax proceeds and bonds to finance new development to get rid of blight.
“The Macy’s project could only have happened with redevelopment agency funds to offset the costs of the parking for the site,” said Helen Bean, Emeryville’s economic development director.
Madison Marquette, which developed the million-square-foot Bay Street complex more than a decade ago, had an exclusive negotiating agreement with the city to develop the 3-acre site, but let the agreement expire after several extensions.

Bay Street has 382,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space, but lacks a department store. An Emeryville store for Macy’s would have filled in a gap for the retailer since its closest locations are at Hilltop Mall in Richmond, Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek and Bayfair Center in San Leandro. The developer banked on using redevelopment money to pay for a parking garage and the site is too small to incorporate surface parking, which is less expensive, Bean said. “Redevelopment is a tool doesn’t exist anymore and now we have a 3-acre site that we have to develop as best we can,” she said. | Read More on SF Business Times →

Additional Reading:

Special Meetings to Sell Site B are Cancelled | EPOA.US
Emeryville Residents to Challenge Development Plan | The Bay Citizen
Conflict Of Interest Cited In Move To Sell City Owned Property | Emeryville Tattler

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

3 Responses to Proposal for Bay St. Macy’s dead, City seeks new ideas

  1. Gabriel Luna says:

    How about something fun. Dave and Buster’s?

    • Rob says:

      I think if Emeryville wants to pursue its “Family Friendly” objectives, having some type of family entertainment options is important. This or a “Hooters” … kidding 😉

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