Vallco Shopping Mall
Major stores and activities
The anchors and major businesses in Vallco are:
Vallco also hosts Pacific Coast Farmers' Market in the parking lot behind JC Penney. Running every Friday throughout the year, it is popular with the local residents of Cupertino and has been there for over a decade. The farmers' market is host to many regional and local growers and producers.
Vallco Park started as a business park in the 1960s, formed from land owned by 25 Cupertino property owners. It was named for the primary developers: Varian Associates, and the Leonard, Lester, Craft, and Orlando families.
Origins and expansion
In the early 1970s, the Cupertino City Council held public hearings on the possible locations of a regional shopping center in the city. After it decided the city could only support one center, the Vallco group found itself competing with another group led by orchard owner Paul Mariani, Jr. In 1973, the city council decided it wanted the regional shopping center on the edge of the city and gave the proper zoning to Vallco.
Vallco Fashion Park opened in September 1976. In its first years, the mall's main walkway was punctuated by several parks showcasing aspects of local history, ranging from apricots to Klystron tubes. Vallco was one of the largest shopping centers in Silicon Valley and soon drew customers from all over the region.
One of the early features of the mall was the ice skating rink attached to the shopping center. The Ice Capades Chalet, open for almost ten years, began to encounter trouble in 1986, when proposals to close it and replace it with movie theatres emerged. By June 3, 1988, the rink faced imminent closure, until the Cupertino city council stepped in and kept the rink open when faced with vocal protest. (At the time, the ice rink was one of two year-round skating rinks in Santa Clara county.)
Increased competition from other regional malls, such as Stanford Shopping Center, and in particular Valley Fair (opened 1986) began to cause Vallco trouble. In July 1988, an $20 million expansion for the mall was announced, which would add a lower level and 50 stores, increasing the total store count from 140 to 190. Ultimately, this expansion was completed in August, 1988, adding a total of 60 stores.
Another large tenant arrived at the mall on the weekend of August 11, 1990, with the addition of the Tilt Family Entertainment Center.
Deterioration and renovation
Occupancy began deteriorating in the 1990s, and the emptying of the mall continued into the mid 2000s. One reason for this decline was that the selection of mid-range stores didn't reflect the affluence of the surrounding populace.
Alan Wong, Emily Chen, and John Nguyen bought Vallco and began renovation of the mostly empty mall in 2005. By 2006, Vallco had the lowest occupancy rate of any mall in the area, at just 24 percent. One of the changes made to Vallco as part of these new renovations was to completely close the first of the mall's two levels in 2005, leaving the focus on the second floor. From there, new tenants were pulled in over the next few years.
In 2006, Cupertino voters prevented re-zoning of part of the Vallco property for condominiums by overturning a re-zoning ordinance that was passed by the city council. The loss of the revenue that was expected from this sale contributed to the financial problems of the owners. The contractor for the movie theater, DPR, filed a mechanic's lien against the owners for approximately US$10 million in July 2007, which was settled the following September when Orbit Resources acquired the mall.
Vallco Fashion Park's name was changed to Cupertino Square in 2007. Later that year, the owners sold three parcels of land to Evershine Property Management and sold a controlling stake of the mall to Orbit Resources, which switched managing agents from Landmark Property Management to Jones Lang LaSalle.
Renovation of the mall that began in 2005 continues. As of 2009, two new parking structures, a 16-screen AMC movie theater, a food court, and Strike Bowling (at the former location of Tilt Family Entertainment Center) have been added to the complex. Future plans include shops facing the street at the corner of Wolfe Road and Vallco Parkway, a seismic upgrade of the parking garage west of the theatres as well as the main mall structure, as well as two new hotels.
In September 2008, the two owners of the complex filed for bankruptcy to prevent the primary financier Gramercy Capital from foreclosing on their property. According to Gramercy, the assets of the company fall well below the amount they are in debt to, though the consortium disputes this.
In September 2009, Vietnamese food processing company Son Son Co. purchased Cupertino Square for US$64 million in an all-cash transaction. The new owners restored the name Vallco Shopping Mall.
References and footnotes
- Fuller, David W. "Vallco Park: From Orchards to Industry". In Linda Sharman Schultz (ed.). Cupertino Chronicle (2002 Edition) (2002 ed.). Cupertino Historical Society. pp. 155–165.
- Vallco Business Park still exists and is the home of the Cupertino campus of Hewlett-Packard and a future campus for Apple.
- Cupertino.org: History
- Paving the Way: Vallco Plans $20 Million Expansion, San Jose Mercury News, 1987-07-02
- Vallco Strikes Back: Cupertino Mall Opens Big Addition, San Jose Mercury News, 1988-08-26
- For the Vid in All of Us: Video Games, Bumper Cars, Pinball — The Tilt Arcade is Something Like a Kid's Idea of Heaven, San Jose Mercury News, 1990-08-14
- Kraatz, Cody (2007-02-14), Vallco gets new name to go with its new look, shop, Cupertino Courier
- Lu, Crystal (2007-10-03), Cupertino Square and 3 parcels are bought by local investors, Cupertino Courier
- Jones Lang LaSalle press release, Jones Lang LaSalle Named Leasing and Managing Agent for Cupertino Square, (2007-10-09)
- Simonson, Sharon (2008-09-04). "Cupertino Square owners file for bankruptcy". San Jose Business Journal (San Jose News). Retrieved 2008-09-21.
- Conrad, Katherine (2009-10-16). "Cupertino Square deal brings new owners, returns to old name". San Jose Business Journal. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
- Vallco Shopping Mall home page
- AMC Cupertino Square 16 home page
- Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association home page
- Park & Ride Lots - Vallco Shopping Center at VTA
- Vallco Shopping Mall Twitter account
- Vallco Shopping Mall Facebook page