Thank the lord: That depressing, long-vacant block of Market Street between Fifth and Sixth is finally seeing some action again. The approved CityPlace development — billed as a discount-anchored mall with 260,000 square feet of new retail — which we didn't realize had gone into foreclosure, has been snapped up by a new development firm. They've got JCPenney committed as an anchor tenant (the original deal faltered when Target decided to go to the Metreon space instead of here, among other factors), but that's about all we know at this point.

Shoppers can expect some new retail possibilities to be announced once more contracts are in place — maybe Bed, Bath & Beyond? Fry's? Name any retailer that would require a lot of square footage and good visibility and doesn't yet have much or any presence in S.F., and they could be targeted.

Most importantly, the development would take a blighted block, demolishing vacant buildings like the former St. Francis Theater, a former 7-11, and the former Social Security building (935 to 965 Market Street), and connect the lively block of Nordstrom and the Westfield, foot-traffic-wise, to the slowly improving environs of 6th and 7th Streets — it will likely also encourage property owners between 6th and 7th, many of whom have been sitting on boarded-up property for years, to maybe finally sell, or something.

Anyhow, this is good news, no matter what your feelings about JCPenney.

[Biz Times]