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How did Cupertino’s Vallco mall become ‘The Rise’?

How did Cupertino’s Vallco mall become ‘The Rise’?

By   –  Lead Researcher, Silicon Valley Business Journal
 Updated 

Vallco, the beleaguered former retail center in Cupertino, has a new redevelopment plan dubbed “The Rise.” To see all of the twists and turns in its long Silicon Valley history, check out the timeline of the events that led up to this point.


1976: Vallco Fashion Park opens. The center is named for the names of the principal land owners and developers. The mall bounces around several owners over the next few decades, including Westfield Corp., the former Australia-based mall landlord that would become global mall operator Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.

2003: TIAA-CREF, the New York-based teachers’ pension fund, sells Vallco to a local investment group that includes Alan Wong, Emily Chen and John Nguyen for $67 million. The new owners target an international tenant mix, with a new food court and entertainment.

2005: Owners close mall’s first floor to focus on leasing the second level.

2006: Occupancy is just 24%, the lowest of any mall in the area.

2007: Name changes to Cupertino Square. AMC movie venue opens. Orbit Resources Inc. acquires 85% stake in the mall.

2008: Owners Cupertino Square LLC and Vallco International Shopping Center LLC file for bankruptcy protection to prevent foreclosure by financier Gramercy Capital.

2009: Vallco is bought by a Vietnam-based group directly from Gramercy, which foreclosed for $64 million. Name changes back to Vallco.

2011: Sears subleases 69,000 square feet to fitness company Bay Club. Vallco owners hire listing agent to sell the mall for at least $100 million.

2013: Sand Hill Property Co., which is developing a mixed-use center nearby, says in court records it is negotiating to purchase Vallco.

2014: City proceeds with general plan update that contemplates more land use options for the Vallco area. Then-Mayor Gilbert Wong makes revamping Vallco a priority.

October 2014: Sand Hill Property Co. purchases the retail spaces of Vallco’s three anchor tenants Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Sears for about $200 million. J.C. Penney and Sears announce they have made plans to eventually close these two locations.

November 2014: Sand Hill Property Co. purchases the remaining portions of Vallco (600,000- square-feet of interior retail space) for $116 million.

January 2015: Macy’s Inc. announces it will be closing 14 stores, including at Vallco.

August 2015: A $3 billion redevelopment of the site dubbed “The Hills at Vallco” is announced by Sand Hill Property Co. Starchitect Rafael Viñoly’s plans for the site include space for retail, office, residential and the world’s largest green roof.

November 2016: Cupertino voters reject two opposing ballot measures pertaining to Vallco. Measure C would have killed Sand Hill’s plans for the site and Measure D would have approved it.

December 2016: Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market exits for Cupertino’s Creekside Park.

March 2017: Sand Hill receives approval to build seven temporary barricade walls in the mall’s interior as it begins closing down parts of the facility.

March 2018: Cupertino is notified that Sand Hill intends to invoke Senate Bill 35 in its redevelopment of Vallco because community pushback has delayed the project. The controversial law streamlines new housing developments and is seen as an attractive option because the updated plan for the Vallco site includes 2,402 residential units (half of which will be available at below market rates).

March 2018: AMC Theatres confirms the shuttering of its AMC Cupertino Square 16 movie theater at Vallco. Fitness facility Bay Club and Asian restaurant Dynasty Seafood are among the tenants that join the exodus later in the year.

June 2018: A group called “Friends of Better Cupertino” sues the city to stop the project from moving forward.

October 2018: A demolition event is held at Vallco to begin dismantling the retail center. State Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco), the author of SB 35, speaks.

October 2019: A second lawsuit is filed against the city of Cupertino, this time by Sand Hill Property Co. The developer is challenging the city’s September decision to only allow housing on a 13.1-acre portion of the site’s total 51 acres and to not allow the company to build more office space to offset the housing construction costs.

May 2020: Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Helen Williams rules against Friends of Better Cupertino, granting Sand Hill a huge win.

March 2022: “The Rise,” the newest iteration of the Vallco redevelopment plan, is revealed. Cushman & Wakefield, Newmark and Lockehouse Retail Group Inc. have been hired to represent the project’s leasable spaces. Currently under construction, The Rise is expected to open in phases between 2026 and 2028.

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