Stanford Shopping Center rebuild to bring major changes

Reshuffling of Bloomingdale's, Fleming's makes room for four new buildings

A larger entrance with a circular fountain, a driveway lined with towering Italian cypress trees, and four new buildings that will stand in place of the massive Bloomingdale's department store await Stanford Shopping Center after it gains city of Palo Alto approval for the final phase of its redevelopment.

The initial phases of the upscale shopping center's transformation included constructing a new building in the parking lot along El Camino Real for Fleming's restaurant and the upcoming move of Bloomingdale's to a new, scaled-down, three-story building located at the former Fleming's site.

But the third phase, which the Palo Alto Architectural Review Board considered recently week, would include some of the most dramatic changes the center has seen in its three-year remodeling effort.

Most notable would be the construction of three retail buildings and one mixed-use building on the former site of Bloomingdale's, which at 133,600 square feet currently dominates the center's northeast corner, facing El Camino. Each building will house multiple small shops, though Simon Properties Co., the company that manages the center, stated in an email to the Weekly that it couldn't comment on which stores might occupy the new space.

There will be two, 1-story buildings and two, 2-story buildings, one of which will house office space on the second floor. The four buildings, which tenants would customize with their company's "look," would be visible from El Camino and Quarry Road.

The final phase of the renovation also includes plans that would impact the feel of the entire shopping center, which was founded in 1955 and has been renovated several times. To modernize and create a more cohesive appearance, the lighting, pavement and signage throughout the site would be updated to differentiate between the center's streets and pedestrian paths.

The central walkway, running parallel to Quarry, would become the center's new "main street," with each of the remaining interior streets designed with distinguishing characteristics.

Though a detailed landscaping plan hasn't yet been unveiled, renovation would also update the shopping center's popular landscaping, featuring a simplified at-grade scheme with different themes for four distinct areas — outdoor rooms, the main avenue, luxury shopping and areas for families and kids.

The southeast entrance to the center, next to Neiman Marcus, would be redesigned to accommodate events such as concerts and gatherings and would include a circular water feature with a pedestrian bridge.

Rows of Italian cypress trees along the primary entrance of the center at El Camino would be planted. In all, the shopping center is proposing to plant 78 trees and remove 38 throughout the site. They would include valley oak, southern live oak, callery pear and gingko trees.

Stanford Shopping Center currently has 5,826 parking spaces, but the proposed project would eliminate 260 spaces, leaving the center with more than the required number of 5,284 spaces.


Like this comment
Posted by Tom Croft
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 14, 2013 at 2:26 pm

This article needs a map showing where stores will be.

Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 14, 2013 at 4:29 pm

I see a huge parking problem, especially during long busy weekends and the holidays. With the current construction I believe they are probably down about 1000 spots. Build another 2 story garage. Would be great to bring back Palo Alto Creamery and some other places to sit down and eat kid friendly.

Like this comment
Posted by Frequenter of Shopping Center
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Oct 17, 2013 at 9:54 pm

One of my favorite things about the Stanford Shopping Center is that it's outdoors and the walkways have stunning foliage including trees, vines and incredible flower variety and compositions. I used to take my kids here when they were younger just to appreciate the beautiful flowers and fountains (and of course we ended up purchasing food and clothes as a result).

I really hope they don't replace these beautiful parts of the Center. Dumbing down the landscaping with "a simplified at grade scheme" using "themes" sounds horrible. It sounds like Disneyland.

Regarding the parking, it's already a huge pain on weekends and around holidays to find a parking spot. Really, they're going to increase stores, creat office space and decrease parking? Sounds like a good plan to annoy shoppers and decrease business.

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