Now we are awaiting the final plan from Related California, WDA and Ken Kay for the Corp Yard/Heinlenville/Japantown Square development – and it should be soon – let’s look at one of the potential opportunities that this development might provide.
Looking at the official Japantown Square website, I see the following suggestion:
Up to 20,300 square feet of new neighborhood-serving commercial space.
I’m definitely interested in visualizing what that might look like. It’s tricky for most of us to imagine what kind of stores or restaurants would fill 20,300 square feet. A tiny curio shop and the smallest sushi bar or something the size of a Walmart!? (Just kidding there.)
Here’s an interesting visual, found at How Big are Big-Box Stores?
Wal-Mart and Target are currently building “supercenters,” which combine their usual array of merchandise with a full supermarket and numerous specialty services from cut flowers to eye glasses. Supercenters typically range from 180,000 to 250,000 square feet, or between 4.1 to 5.7 acres. The parking lots that surround these stores are several times the size of the store itself. Many other big box retail stores—including earlier-generation Wal-Mart outlets, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Office Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.—are in the 60,000 to 140,000 square foot range. Barnes & Noble and Borders Books stores range from 25,000 to 45,000 square feet, or about the size of a very large supermarket. Free-standing chain drugstores operated by Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS are generally 11,000-15,000 square feet.
As for independent retailers, there’s quite a range. Many Main Street stores are under 1,000 square feet. A full-service neighborhood grocery store might be 10,000 square feet. Locally owned hardware stores generally range from 2,000 to 20,000 square feet. An independent bookstore might be 1,500 square feet.
A growing number of cities and towns are adopting store size caps to ensure that new retail development is scaled appropriately for the community and does not overwhelm the local economy or exacerbate sprawl and traffic congestion. Most communities choose an upper limit of between 35,000 and 75,000 square feet.
I just want to leave you with that. The hypothetical discussion was about Nijiya market moving to a larger facility on the corp yard grounds. Their current building covers a little less than 10,000 square feet, so this alone would be quite a bounty. They could bring it up to the size of their store in Mountain View – leaving their current property open to use for – who knows?