The owner of the Stonestown Galleria mall property has been conducting workshops with nearby neighborhoods to discuss a future development that could create a new neighborhood out of what is now just 30 acres of surface parking lots.
Stonestown has been in a period of transition in the last several years following the shuttering of its Macy's store in 2017, and the closing of Nordstrom in 2019. As the Chronicle reports, the mall hasn't been in total decline the way many suburban malls around the country have, however. Target took advantage of Nordstrom's closing to triple the size of its store, and a 12-screen Regal cinema is set to open in the Macy's space this summer, along with a new Whole Foods.
But now a much bigger re-envisioning project is underway, with the help of Mission District-based SITELAB Urban Studio. Some new details of the vision were unveiled in neighborhood meetings on Thursday, per the Chronicle, and these include 2,900 housing units on what's now parking lot — some in taller towers clustered near SF State — six acres of green space, and a reconfigured 20th Avenue that would become a new "Main Street" for the neighborhood, lined with new shops. The meetings were part of a planning process that property owner Brookfield Properties expects will take two years.
The housing would likely be a mix of affordable, market-rate, and senior housing, though the exact mix has yet to be determined. And while all this construction is happening around it, the existing mall would theoretically remain operational.
A new greenway would connect the property to Rolph Nicol park, and the designers foresee a much more welcoming space than the current concrete wasteland — with about 50% of the parking lot regularly going unused anyway. Parking would be replaced by structured and underground garages.
The owner of Stonestown Galleria is proposed to remake the midcentury mall with new housing and retail in a town-center setting. Check out the renderings. https://t.co/wzVbbv5aJA— San Francisco Business Times (@SFBusinessTimes) March 26, 2021
"People now come to the farmers’ market but don’t go from there to the [mall] because there is a vast sea of parking between the two," says Laura Crescimano of SITELAB, speaking to the Chronicle. "This plan frees up most of the site for people rather than cars."
Crescimano also talks about creating more intimate spaces, with lively plazas and outdoor restaurants, that will contrast with the large open spaces of the west side of the city.
The video below, from a community meeting in December, discusses some of the vision.
Supervisor Myrna Melgar, who represents the district where Stonestown resides, says she loves the plan so far.
"I think it is a really great opportunity to make sure that property is sustainable over the next 50 years.”
“Malls are going under all over America but this one has been successful," Melgar tells the Chronicle. "As always, the devil is in the details, but this plan preserves the mall and builds around it. I love the ground-floor retail. I love that they are putting the parking underground."
Images from Thursday's meeting haven't yet been released, and all of this is still in the pre-design phase, it sounds like — with concepts and master site planning being hammered out before any actual architecture takes shape. Then comes city feedback followed by the environmental impact (CEQA) process, and we all know that all of this takes years in San Francisco.