Editor’s note: An incorrectly stated that ownership of Red Hill Shopping Center had changed and was no longer local. In fact, the same family who originally built the strip mall continues to own and operate it. The Arntz siblings also live in Marin. Main Street Property Services, Inc, based in Lafayette, has been contracted to do just leasing services and development consulting.
As construction gets underway this week, Red Hill Shopping Center will become just Red Hill – no “Shopping Center” attached to the name. And that’s not the only change coming soon to a shopping center near you.
Some renovations to the nearly 50-year-old center will be small – won’t be the only store with a different colored sign anymore – and some will be much, much bigger.
“We’re going to create a great place,” said Craig Semmelmeyer, the principal for Main Street Property Services, who are working with Red Hill and the Arnzt family on developing a new plan for the center.
Construction on the renovations will begin Wednesday and renderings can be seen at right.
The main focus on the several million dollar remodel is on updating the outside of the buildings and creating a sense of community. An entryway plaza will be built in front of , a small courtyard will be added at the east end, and a another courtyard established with outdoor fire pit and seating at the west end, where is. There will be old-fashion light poles, hung lights, walkways and trellises.
The most popular location for stores wanting to come into the center is near Peet’s, because of the foot traffic. People walk in and out of Peet’s and hang out – something any retailer loves. It is exactly that foot traffic and community that Red Hill hopes to expand and replicate.
The second half of the remodel will happen with the stores themselves.
“The interior has to reflect the exterior,” said Dee Dee Iacopi, who manages the property for the Arnzt family. Gene Arnzt built the center in 1967. Today, it is still owned by his children and their children.
To this end, Main Street has worked with Red Hill to develop design guidelines for the outside of the stores. The idea is for each store to show their identity on the outside. SZFM Design Studio, who worked on the remodel of Town Center, worked on the guidelines and plans for the outsides of stores.
This, however, requires some buy-in from the stores themselves to put in the money for their own remodels. And, not everyone is excited about that kind of investment.
Some stores have already signed on for renovations, remodels and upgrades. Peet’s wants more space and West America Bank is ready for upgrades. will become Sofie’s Nail Spa. And Swirl, a self-serve yogurt shop, will open next to Memorial Park sometime after the construction is finished at that location.
, on the other hand, opted not to renew its lease instead. And the also chose to move out.
Additionally, Round Table Pizza will not have their lease renewed when it expires in January. Red Hill felt that with the new fire pit and upgraded courtyard in front of that location a higher-end restaurant could take better advantage of the new amenities.
The key for the upgraded Red Hill is capitalizing on making it a place people want to spend time, said Semmelmeyer, and providing people things they can’t get online or at big box stores. , which moved into Red Hill, is a good example of this, he said, and has done great business.
“People are tired of buying shoes on the internet that don’t fit,” he said.
The whole process of working with different stores and bringing in new retailers will take a few years, said Iacopi, but they’re optimistic improvements will be worked out for everybody.
Coming very soon.