January 8, 2009

Lower, smaller, less parking-intensive new plan for WC’s Neiman Marcus

The owner of Broadway Plaza has submitted a new plan for a scaled-back Neiman Marcus.

As reported by the Contra Costa Times, the proposed project will be two stories instead of three. And, perhaps most important for anyone who attempts to shop in downtown Walnut Creek, the smaller, 92,000-square-foot project (as opposed to the original proposal's 107,000 square feet) will require fewer additional parking spaces, meaning it will not need the five-story Broadway Plaza garage to be transformed to valet parking during peak shopping times.

The Times says:

Because the size of the store building is smaller in the new plan, [Broadway Plaza owner] Macerich Co. only has to add an additional 175 spaces. They will propose to meet this demand by installing a mechanical car-lift system parking for employees only, which will free up 150 spaces. Also for employees would be attendant or valet parking on the top level of the garage, which will net another 40 to 50 spaces.

A mechanical car-lift system? Not sure how that will work.

Marcerich says it scaled back the size of the high-end department store in response to public objections to the project's proposed height and to the additional burden it would place on downtown parking.

Macerich officials told the Times that this plan is not set in stone, and that they will participate in community meetings to discuss it, starting in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, we should note that, as Texas-based Neiman Marcus plans to build its Walnut Creek outpost, the luxury retailer, like other high-end retailers, was hit especially hard during the holiday shopping season. The economic recession has dampened the enthusiasm of luxury consumers; Neiman Marcus saw same-store sales sag 27.5 percent in December, the Associated Press reported.

Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, are a key indicator of retailer performance since they measure growth at existing stores rather than newly opened ones, AP says.

Such news about Neiman Marcus’s struggling fortunes continue to make me wonder if, and how soon, a Neiman Marcus will rise in Walnut Creek.


Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the "mechanical" lift system (which uses energy of some sort to work) would not be the GREENEST way to solve the parking problem. Remember that WC is attempting to tout itself as a "green" city so is this the best solution that fits this image?

Anonymous said...

They could put a solar panel on the roof of the lift system to offset any increase in electrical usage. This sounds like a great plan all around. WC is the go-to place for high end stores.

Anonymous said...

Now that the heat of battle has been calmed over Neiman Marcus' original plans and the sinister outsiders who led the charge have left our fair city who is really going to be our voice of reason regarding further over-development of our downtown area? Do we really trust the other outsiders, aka MaceRich, to decide just how our city will look for years to come? Has anyone noticed that Steve's Hallmark store is gone and just coincidentally it will be replaced with David M's stationery department? Must have been one hell of a sweetheart deal that MaceRich cut with David M's to get them to move out of their old location to a smaller, less visible site to make way for Neiman Marcus!!! Guess what kids, they can hold all the community hearings they want for show but in the end, we, the citizens of Walnut Creek really have no say in the goings on around town. Think about it.....