The owner of Cupertino’s defunct Vallco Shopping Mall says the almost empty mall is closing, but what that means for the site’s few remaining tenants is unclear.
On Nov. 8, voters defeated a measure that would have approved an ambitious proposal by the mall’s owner, Sand Hill Property Co., to redevelop the site into a 55-acre mixed-use development with up to 2 million square feet of office, 625,000 square feet of retail and 800 residential units.
“For safety and security reasons, we will be winding down mall operations,” wrote Reed Moulds, Sand Hill managing director, in an email statement following the election. The company declined to provide any timeline or further specifics.
The sprawling mall currently has nine tenants, according to Cupertino Public Information Officer Brian Babcock, including a few large ones such as Bowlmor Lanes, AMC Theatres and the Cupertino Ice Center.
Bowlmor AMF CEO Tom Shannon said he hadn’t heard anything from Sand Hill, but that his company has more than 20 years on the lease for the bowling alley space. The alley opened in 2007 and the company invested significantly in the space to make it a high-end bowling concept.
“We are not only 100 percent committed to being in Cupertino but fully expectant that our lease will be honored until its conclusion,” Shannon said.
Bowlmor is located on the outside of the shopping center and can be entered without going into the mall itself.
“I think they can do stuff to the mall space without disturbing our tenancy,” Shannon said.
Representatives of AMC Theatres, located inside the mall, did not respond to a request for comment.
The number of tenants in Vallco will be down to seven come New Year’s, according to Babcock – Golden Vision Optometry is moving to Main Street Cupertino (a Sand Hill development) and Tatami Buffet is leaving.
In 2015, Sand Hill began the process to get the project approved through the normal city processes. But those efforts were put on hold when a group of residents filed an initiative, which became Measure C, to kill Sand Hill’s plans for Vallco.
The company put Measure D on the ballot in response which, if passed, would have allowed the project to skip most of the city’s approval process.
Cupertino voters rejected both measures.
It’s unclear at this point if the company intends to try to restart the application process through the city.
“The future is uncertain. We will not sell the land nor make investments into the current failed asset,” Moulds’ statement reads. “In order for us to invest in Vallco we will have to be certain it will be a worthwhile investment and not just the band-aid approaches that have failed Vallco for decades. Until Cupertino is ready for that approach, we have no choice but to stop.”