ELK GROVE, Calif. — What do you call a ‘Ghost Mall’ after it is officially dead? More than 10 years after construction stopped on the site near Kammerer Road and Highway 99 the City of Elk Grove confirmed the buildings are coming down.
Developer Howard Hughes Corp. told the city it no longer plans to build the Outlook Collection at Elk Grove and will instead demolish the buildings.
So, what happens next? Here are four things to know:
When will demolition start?
Elk Grove does not have a specific date, but says demolition is expected soon. The City says it will work with Howard Hughes Corp. to get the demolition done. ABC10 asked the developers for more information, but they have not yet returned our calls or emails.
As the old mall site comes down, testing is underway at the Wilton Rancheria Elk Grove Resort and Casino Project, which is just north of the mall site. The City says the casino development partners are not fazed by the recent developments with the mall site. The Casino plans to start construction this year and open in 2020.
What happens after demolition?
At this time, no one ABC10 spoke with is sure of what will happen next. Howard Hughes Corp. still owns the property, although its agreement with Elk Grove expired in November 2018. The land is still zoned for a “regional mall.”
Darrell Doan, Elk Grove Economic Development Director, said it’s the City’s desire that HHC sells the property. The City would then work with a new developer to create a regional dining, entertainment and retail space.
"The City did everything within its power to move the project forward, but all decisions on the development of the mall ultimately rest with HHC,” Doan said. “While we are disappointed that HHC was not able to complete the project, we are excited for the opportunity to potentially partner with a new developer who shares the City’s vision for the site and its potential as a regional destination.”
Howard Hughes Corp. told the City it is considering its options. Those options could include a new development concept or selling the property. While the City is hopeful the developer will sell the land, Doan said the City will work with the Howard Hughes Corp.or whoever they sell the land to in order to develop a plan that is in the best interest of the community.
Many have made suggestions about what to build on the site. Popular options included a paintball site or a hospital, but the City has limited control over what actually happens. Doan says the City has some control over zoning and permitting, but the site is private property and the City has no direct control over the property owner.
If Howard Hughes Corp. does sell to another developer, that company would need to work within current zoning for the site. Doan said the City would be open to changing the zoning if the right project came along, but it would take the City Council’s approval.
What about the businesses that planned to open in the Outlet Mall?
Doan said while it is regrettable the mall project is not moving forward, it is not a surprise, and actually comes with a silver lining. Demolition, he said, “eliminates uncertainty about development in Elk Grove.”
Though the planned businesses will not be able to open at the mall, the City does plan to work with them to find them a new spot in Elk Grove.
Doan calls the effort a “full-court press.”
“There were companies who signed leases at the mall who want to be here," Doan said. "Given this news, my team will do everything possible to assist those businesses locate somewhere in Elk Grove."
Doan did not specifically mention any businesses the city was planning to contact, but businesses linked to the outlet mall include Dave & Buster’s, Nike, H&M, Columbia, Guess, Express, Forever 21, American Eagle Outfitters and Victoria’s Secret.
Doan said there is “a lot of retail interest” in the City, and the goal moving forward is to align those businesses with the right projects
What new businesses are still coming to Elk Grove?
Even with the outlet mall coming down, there are new businesses being built, like the ones below:
The biggest retail project under construction is “The Ridge” shopping center on Elk Grove Blvd and Bruceville Rd. Costco opened there last year and Doan said it has been as successful as they hoped.
Confirmed businesses at “The Ridge” include Olive Garden, Buffalo Wild Wings, Noah's Bagels, 85°C Bakery, Cafe Rio, Farmer Boys, and Pieology. Businesses are expected to open in the center later this year.
Ongoing leasing efforts for “The Ridge” have been good, Doan said, and some of the businesses that planned to open at the outlet mall could find space there.
BIG HORN VILLAGE
Down the street from “The Ridge” is another planned shopping center, named “Big Horn Village.” Craig Burress, the Executive Vice President with CBRE in Roseville, is leasing both centers. He told us in August that he was already getting interest in the “Big Horn Village” site.
ELK GROVE CIVIC CENTER
This year the city will open a new civic center on Big Horn Blvd. and Civic Center Dr. It includes an aquatics center as well as a community and senior center. The full center should be open by this summer.
LIFESTYLE SHOPPING CENTER
The City is also moving forward with plans for a lifestyle shopping center on Elk Grove Blvd., just north of the Civic Center. The City owns 20 acres of land on the site. When first announcing the project in 2018, the City said, “the project envisioned by staff would be similar in concept to The Fountains (at) Roseville and would consist of an elevated mix of entertainment, restaurants, and shopping.”
Doan said the City is looking for a developer to partner with to build the 300,000 square foot lifestyle center. He also said there is also the potential for a hotel on the site.