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May 13, 2011

What do you think about how Neiman Marcus is taking shape?

Rounding one of our downtown Walnut Creek corners recently, my eyes were suddenly filled with the sight of it. That would be the new Neiman Marcus store that is under construction and due to open next spring.

I'm always in downtown but there was something about the latest stage of construction of this 92,000-square foot luxury department store that made me stop and immediately think; "Wow. It's big!"

I'll leave it at that, because as we all know the effort to bring Neiman Marcus to Broadway Plaza was a mighty touchy subject here in town.

Remember Measure I? Before we had the contentious City Council election this past fall, we had the Measure I special election in the fall of 2009. It was part of a long, ugly and costly civic debate. There were lawsuits filed by longtime slow-growth advocates and annoying petition gatherers--paid for by a rival developer opposing Neiman Marcus in Walnut Creek--stopping us outside supermarkets.

As I reported back in 2009, developers on both sides of the debate about Neiman Marcus and Measure I spent around $2 million combined on their campaigns to sway Walnut Creek voters. Broadway Mall owner Macerich spent around $1.3 million on the Yes on I campaign, while Taubman Centers, which owns Concord's Sunvalley Mall and had hoped to develop a Neiman Marcus in San Ramon, spent $700,000.

In the end, 71 percent of Walnut Creek voters gave Measure I--and Neiman Marcus--a resounding yes, and the project was able to go forward.

Of course, the building is not finished yet. It will have lovely public art components, and it's hard to judge its final look and how it will fit into this valuable corner of downtown at Main Street and Mt. Diablo Boulevard.

Meanwhile, in a newly released Long Range Financial Plan for 2010-2018, the city says it expects sales tax revenues to increase 4 percent annually in the 2012-13 fiscal year and to see additional revenues coming in from Neiman Marcus.


7 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I'm waiting until the fin on top is more fleshed out before I have a comment. I think from the mockup photo, it should be pretty and contemporary.

I think Nordstrom's now looks looming to me, and there are some aspects of the remodel inside that I'm not sure I like. The women's shoe area is still not done, I wonder what happened, because the guys is all finished! The outside of the building looks too sparse, and I hope some of the foliage in the front will help once it grows out. I sure miss the arc of wisteria on the side.

Thud said...

As I only see the city in biannual snapshots it is fascinating to see the changes and i look forward to seeing the progress on NM since my last visit.

Anonymous said...

As the Designer of the Neiman Marcus Store in Walnut Creek, I am very proud as to how she is taking shape. The building is enjoying a physical "gestation" true to the original vision which took over half a year to develop. Hats off to Niles Bolton Associates for taking ownership of my firm's design and bringing it faithfully into reality. Oh, and Swinerton Builders, and all of their Subcontractors...your craftsmanship is par exellence. The White Granite cladding has been executed with astonishing perfection.

lorrielovesparties said...

I'm looking forward to eating lunch there even if I can't afford to shop there. The last time I bought something at Needless Markups it was for a $20 pair of socks and that was 15 years ago.
I really hate the new Nordstrom makeover (actually the inside, the outside is nice.) I skip Nordies and go to Macy's.

Anonymous said...

I designed the building, but can't afford to shop there either! I shop at the Gap and Banana Republic...one in the same.
Nonetheless, I believe this building will be outstanding and nudge Walnut Creek onto the map, where Architecture is concerned...thanks to Swinerton and the other folks building it.

Anonymous said...

I will NEVER set foot in, Nor spend another dime in Nordstrom.
My Fashionista Grandmother was IGNORED in Nordstrom Designer shoe dept by it's snooty and snotty STUPID sales clerks. Apparently THEY determined my Grandmother wasn't even worth GREETING, let alone Letting HER BUY shoes !!! Instead they walked PAST her multiple times as though SHE were INVISIBLE to Greet tramp-y-looking young-things trying on STILETTOS Thet Couldn't afford !!!!
NORDSTROM YOU S T I N K !!!!!!!!!!

ted ford said...

The building is quite ugly and a blight on downtown Walnut Creek. Most of the newer architecture in downtown Walnut Creek including the movie theatre building, the horrible yellow head "art piece" and the Nieman Marcus building. It's very unfortunate.