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Tanforan Mall in San Bruno to Close Permanently

SAN BRUNO (CBS SF) -- The Shops at Tanforan, a popular mall in San Bruno, is getting ready to close its doors for good.

QIC Global Real Estate, the mall's owner, provided KPIX 5 with the following statement:

"We can confirm QIC's successful divestment of The Shops at Tanforan to Alexandria Real Estate, which is in line with our investor-endorsed strategy. We are not disclosing the financial details of the transaction."

Alexandria Real Estate plans to develop a mega campus for tech companies and firms on the Tanforan site, which sits next to the San Bruno Bart Station.

The sale wasn't a huge surprise to longtime San Bruno resident Ryan Fernandez.

"All over the Peninsula, you see this happening. I think it's the norm, now," he said.

George Naganuma, a frequent visitor who lives nearby, was bummed to hear of the sale.

"Well, it's a big deal for me anyway. It's very convenient," he said.

Numerous people who work at shops in the mall didn't feel comfortable going on camera, but told KPIX 5 they learned about the sale from news reports, not from the mall operator.

"It's pretty sad. It's been here for a while," said Lito Alas, who was at the mall on Friday.

But as this chapter at the Tanforan site closes, a new one is already being written, and it will include what many see as a long and overdue tribute and reminder of Tanforan's history.

"We're here to witness the groundbreaking for a memorial to those who were wronged, and a reminder, that this must never happen again," said Congresswoman Jackie Speier.

The Tanforan Memorial Statue and Plaza will honor the 8,000 Bay Area residents of Japanese ancestry, most of them U.S. citizens, who were taken and imprisoned at the Tanforan "Assembly Center" during World War II.

"We all have an obligation never to forget," Speier said.

Long before it was the mall, the Tanforan site was a racetrack. During WWII, it was temporarily used as a Japanese-American internment camp. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 - which sealed the fate for Japanese Americans living on the West Coast - nearly 80 years ago, on February 19, 1942.

"It is important that this is here to teach, educate, and remind everyone, 80 years ago is not that long ago that this happened," said San Bruno Mayor Rico Medina. "This memorial is here to acknowledge, to honor, to remember, and to remind us what can never happen again."

The memorial will be on the Tanforan site next to the Bart Station, and is expected to be completed later this spring.

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