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Eastridge Make-Over Serves Arts and Community


A lot has changed since Eastridge Center opened its doors in 1971. Now the regional mall is evolving to keep up with the times.

On April 6, Eastridge owners took the wraps off a center-wide refresh that aims to keep the East San Jose mall’s look, feel and amenity portfolio current and relevant.

John Peterson, Eastridge Center General Manager

The $15 million effort comes as retail shifts more and more online, forcing shopping-center owners to up their game and give shoppers a reason to visit brick-and-mortar spaces. At Eastridge, that means a big focus on public gathering spots within the mall, including:

  • Family play areas featuring grassy lawns and comfy lounge seating
  • A revamped food court with modern, multifunctional seating
  • Center-wide renovations that upgraded finishes and contemporary graphics and branding
  • Murals peppering the mall’s exterior in line with the malls’ theme of community heritage and “the best of San Jose”
  • Regular events, such as “OPEN SPACE at Eastridge” (a weekly evening for creative expression); “Yappy Hour Fourth Fridays” (a dog-friendly social event); art events; and food truck popups.

Eastridge has also been shifting its tenant mix, in recent years adding experience-oriented tenants like Round 1 bowling alley, 24 Hour Fitness and an IMAX AMC theater. It is anchored by legacy department stores JC Penney, Macy’s and Sears — but also added H&M recently. (A first-to-region tenant arriving this month is ann 8,400-square-foot Toni & Guy salon academy.) The entire center weighs in at about 1.32 million square feet – ranking as the fourth largest retail center, according to The Business Journal’s annual list.

The upgrades come two years after General Growth Properties sold the mall to Pacific Retail Capital Partners and its partner, Goldman Sachs. At the April 6 event, Pacific Retail hosted dignitaries and community members to express the company’s continued commitment to Eastridge and East San Jose.

“Pacific Retail values San Jose and believes that business in San Jose is a good investment,” said Najla J. Kayyem, senior vice president of marketing for Pacific Retail. “This is a long term investment in the community and the city that has created memories and supported Eastridge here for generations.”

Soon after taking over, the new owners signaled a more community-oriented and participatory approach to mall management. (They also switched out “mall” in Eastridge’s formal name for “center,” signaling a less old-school mall-centric approach.) A “taste for the space” contest will provide a free home and startup support for Trifecta Cooks, the San Jose-based catering trio that won out. Trifecta was on hand last week along with Dan Gordon of Gordon Biersch brewery and David Costa and Jessica Carreira from East San Jose’s Michelin-starred Adega. The foodies participated in a panel on San Jose’s restaurant scene moderated by Linda Zavoral of The Mercury News.

 

Keep up to date on Eastridge on the center’s happenings on its Facebook page, here.