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How to Lure Shoppers

It's a farmer's market, and Fremont's Pacific Commons Shopping Center is tacking on the tasty hook to lure more foot traffic and put a pep(per) in steps at NorCal's biggest power center.

Try a farmer's market. That what they're doing at Fremont's 1.1M SF Pacific Commons Shopping Center. You may remember it made waves in December when Catellus sold it in a bid-heavy process to Heitman, making it the largest retail deal in NorCal in 2013. Now all eyes are on new leasing and property manager Vestar. After getting hired in December, GM Jennifer Duarte tackled the arduous process of getting a market up and running. Come July 12 it will debut behind DSW and Nordstrom Rack. She's hoping 1,000 consumers will roll through every Saturday.

Jennifer came from Equity One, where she was in charge of Serramonte Center, a regional enclosed mall in Daly City. This one's open air, which is why an outdoor food shopping piece works. This marks her comeback to Vestar, where she previously served for seven years in SoCal. The center is 98% leased, with newbies Dick's and Buffalo Wild Wings opening in November (Catellus still owns that 305k SF block that includes those tenants). She picked West Coast Farmers Market Association to host the 25-vendor market every Saturday through November (she wants it to be year round and this will be a test period). 

The three-year-old association's got 10 in NorCal but this will be its first in Alameda County. Located at the southwest corner of I-880 and Auto Mall Parkway, the center serves residents from Union City to Milpitas with nearly 200,000 cars passing daily. Her goal is to bring more events to the center to draw the community in at a grassroots level (will there be shots of wheatgrass Saturday to celebrate?). Selling refreshing vegetables and fruits is one way to do it, she says. The center's fast casual spots get crazy at lunchtime, she says, thanks to loads of nearby office buildings. When Blaze Pizza opened June 5, 1,500 pies were handed out for free, breaking all records, she said.