Elk Grove's Inauspicious Fifth Anniversary

July 30, 2013 | Five years ago last Thursday marked a dubious anniversary for Elk Grove. On or about July 25, 2008, construction on ...

July 30, 2013 |

Five years ago last Thursday marked a dubious anniversary for Elk Grove. On or about July 25, 2008, construction on the Elk Grove Promenade came to an abrupt halt.

In that time, the mall's original developer, Chicago-based General Growth Properties, filed what is the largest Chapter 11 real estate bankruptcy coming off the heels of the 2008 credit collapse and ensuing recession. As a result of the bankruptcy proceedings, the Promenade was "awarded" to the Howard Hughes Company (HHC).

Since HHC took possession of the property nothing substantial has happened to push along completion. Elk Grove Economic Development Director Randy Starbuck has attended a few Las Vegas conventions claiming to have identified nine prospective tenants to an unfinished mall and HHC has floated a trial balloon of sorts this spring saying they are going to convert the project into an outlet mall.

In reality, it looks like nothing has really changed.

Speaking of reality, it is of no small coincident that yesterday online retailing behemoth Amazon.com announced plans to hire up to 7,000 new employees, 5,000 of which will be full time, to meet burgeoning demand. As more consumers turn to online shopping, one must ponder the prospect that the Elk Grove Promenade will never actually function as a shopping mall the way it was intended.    

Even then Mayor Pat Hume acknowledged in an August 2009 interview with KCRA the changing retailing environment. "I think the face of retail is changing so we don't know the mall that was originally planned is going to be built," he said.

The mall, which was supposed to be a major source of tax revenue and regional attraction instead sits on the Elk Grove's south side among a field of weeds and serves as a brutal reminder of the credit collapse of 2008, the Great Recession and the changing habits of consumer shopping.  

Perhaps the time has come to go back to the drawing board.

See a video of the last known recording of construction at Elk Grove Promenade just two weeks prior to the halt of construction five years ago this month.

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Lynn said...

Yes...the face of retail is changing; I went to Best Buy and the product I wanted to purchase needed to be bought online from the store...
I wasn't really heard but on this one; but as a mom with young children I would of preferred online shopping....I am wondering...is this becoming the shopping preference for parents with young children. I really believe that our city could of worked with HHC to bring something that would meet the tax revenue needs and be beneficial to all...this of course takes thinking "outside the box"...

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

I can only speak of my buying habits, but I can tell you that more and more I am shopping for larger items, especially electronics, online. For instance yesterday I purchased a Google tablet from Amazon. It will be delivered tomorrow and it was all done without having to get in my car and drive to a store.

There are dead malls all over the country so the likelihood this mall will ever be completed is diminishing with each passing day. Time for the city to pull their head out of the sand and prod Howard Hughes to do something realistic with that parcel.

Anonymous said...

Believe me, HHC knows what they're planning for that area and they're most likely telling our city fathers what ever will make them smile. Malls as in the past are over/done...gotta think "outside the box" as stated above. I would not be surprised if for the right price, it's not for sale.

I'm another person who does much of my shopping on the internet. Bought my coffee maker from BB & B, but when needing water filters for it had to go online to purchase. Saves me many hours running around town looking for some simple item and in most cases even get free shipping.

Greg from EG said...

HHC does have a plan for the mall site. How does "Hughes/Davis Elk Grove International Soccer and Fast Food Facility for the Apathetic" sound?

It's just what our city leaders envision for the future of our city.

Can't wait!

Anonymous said...

I don't believe the mall site is in contention for the soccer stadium. I believe the soccer stadium is planned in the SEPA..nearer to Whitelock. The mall area will remain a noose around our necks because EG does not hold the strings. HHC is in the driver's seat and we must live with their timetable, not ours. I agree that shopping habits have changed over the years and on-line, free shipping, Amazon-type websites make it an easy, generally safe and convenient alternative to driving, parking, etc. that mall shopping involves. I'm sure HHC is looking for an alternative business plan for that land, but has yet to come up with something feasible. And we sit and wait and hope that someday something rises from the ashes on Grantline Road.

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