Plan calls for complete remodeling of most stores
University Mall, a 1966 establishment, is soon to be remodeled. Brixmor Property Group, Inc., the landowners of University Mall, have made plans for a redevelopment of the mall in order to better suit the needs of the Davis community. Andrew Gracey, the vice president of Brixmor, explained the fundamentals of the redesign.
“Originally, we went in there, to the city, to look at either [demolishing] it or the redevelopment of that center,” Gracey said. “Some of the space and the way it’s laid isn’t the most functional, so we were going to address that. The feedback we’ve been getting has been welcoming, and the center could use some redevelopment.”
The proposal is currently under review by the city of Davis. George Phillip, a land use and zoning attorney, outlined the public process.
“The scoping meeting that will be held in the next 30 days will be the first opportunity where there is a notice that will go out to the public,” Phillip said. “People can attend that scope meeting and provide feedback for the project in terms of what they think [and also] environmental issues that they want analyzed. Then, that will be taken into consideration. It will take about five months to prepare. Once that is released, there is another one that is released and a 45-day comment period. Then there will be public hearings.”
The redevelopment has called for the complete demolition of 90,653 square feet of the existing mall to create a new mixed-use development. Brixmor plans to refurbish not only the current stores but also add new shops and residential buildings. Approximately 150,000 square feet are being set aside for retail, restaurants and other uses.
“We’re looking for a retail mix,” Gracey said. “Our goal is to then heavily seek the tenants that we would like to come over here and be able to be successful [in order] to provide those services. [The mall] would work well and be something that would be special, with not only the students but with the community as well.”
In order to accommodate the increasing demand for housing, Brixmor has also proposed 264 multi-family residential units spanning 1,124 square feet of the property. These new houses will consist of one, two, four or five bedroom units and a total of 894 beds.
In addition to the many new buildings and parking structures, the proposal includes outdoor lounges, benches and other outdoor accommodations for residents. It will also include a pool and a workout room.
The proposal also calls for the addition of a multi-level parking structure and ground level parking. The structure will have 693 total parking spaces, with 264 being reserved for residents and the rest for retail use. Currently, there are 427 parking spaces. Along with parking availability, electronic charging stations may also be added, but are not built into the formal plan as of now.
Bike parking is planned for the first level of the parking garage, as well as 124 additional spaces outside any retail stores. One bike slot will be provided per bed.
University Mall has been a part of the Davis Community since its opening in 1966. In 1970, the mall added Lawrence’s, a department store. That space is now occupied by Cost Plus World Market. In 1999, the mall went under a large renovation, relocating many long-standing businesses. In 2004, the mall was acquired by Brixmor, which is now the current owner.
Eui Hyung Lee, a first-year economics major, expressed his appreciation for the renovation.
“My first impression [of the mall] wasn’t positive,” Lee said. “When I went there, I didn’t really like it. There were no features that grabbed my attention. It looked empty and mundane. [The renovation] would definitely attract more people. It looks modern. It really resembles current outlets that I usually go to. It [is surprising] how it can accommodate more people and provide more parking.”
Written by: John Regidor — firstname.lastname@example.org