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Richmond residents still hopeful about Hilltop Mall redevelopment

Plans for deserted East Bay shopping mall unveiled
Plans for deserted East Bay shopping mall unveiled 03:43

Neighbors hoping to see long-abandoned Hilltop Mall in Richmond become something more just got a long-awaited update from the city and the site owner last week.

"Yeah unfortunately this is a vacant mall and it's been this way for decades," said Arto Rinteela of the Fairmede Hilltop Neighborhood Council "People are really tired of seeing it this way."

Rinteela and Bhavin Khatri. head the two local neighborhood councils in the Hilltop area, and they have plenty of ideas on what they would like to see here.

"We really need something that we can go shop and dine," Khatri said. "And little little bit of housing is needed as well, because housing will sort of drive the growth for retail and entertainment, and things of that nature."

Khatri's wish list is starting to age a bit. He first told KPIX about his hopes for the site when mega-developer ProLogis bought the 77 acres back in April of 2021.

"We've had several delays. One after another," Khatri said.

"That's something we're going to be working on," Jonathon Fearn of the Signature Development Group told a crowd of about 100 Thursday Evening. "What's the proper retail mix? What are the right tenants to bring in that can serve Richmond residents?"

With neighbors wondering what is going on with this project, ProLogis and their developer partners hosted a town hall to provide an update on the planning, but there are no real plans yet. The city is still drawing up its goals for the area. ProLogis is said to be waiting on that. 

"There is a new wrinkle to the plan which is going to put it on hold," Rinteela said of the new delay. "And we're hoping that rhe city will unveil that wrinkle."

The city did not return calls by deadline, and Rinteela says he is not free to discuss the wrinkle, but it is said to be a potential job-creating element for the project, which is good. But another delay, he says, could be bad.

"Sometimes those delays cost the developer," Rinteela worried. "And the developer just raises their hands and says 'hey, we have to move on.' So we're concerned about that as well."

Despite the delays, the two leaders are still hopeful.

"We're optimistic that something good is going to happen," Rinteela said. "ProLogis has listened to us."

They'd just like to see things moving a little faster.

"And we really want the city to get through this process as soon as they can," Khatri said. "I really want to see something in five years. This is not a 10, 20 year plan. We want development here within the next five years." 

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