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Richmond’s Dying Hilltop Mall Under New Ownership

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LBG's Richmond mall project
A rendering of part of LBG's design for The Shops at Hilltop

LBG Real Estate Cos. and Aviva Investors have acquired the 1.1M SF Hilltop Mall in Richmond. The troubled mall has been in foreclosure or lender-owned and has suffered from deferred maintenance over the past six years, according to LBG managing partner Leslie Lundin. The mall also lost its J.C. Penney, which closed in June. LBG will become the first true developer ownership for the mall since the end of the last downturn, according to Lundin.

The JV plans to explore a larger redevelopment to take advantage of the zoning in place, which allows for over 9,600 housing units and office and hotel uses at the property. Hilltop Mall features national tenants including Macy’s, Walmart, Sears and 24-Hour Fitness.

“The Hilltop District has the potential to become the premier East Bay residential mixed-use walkable community of the future,” LBG managing partner Doug Beiswenger said. He is in charge of entitlements and construction.

LBG plans to implement an entirely new merchandising strategy for the mall. Combined with extensive rebranding and redevelopment, the developer wants to create an inviting atmosphere for shopping, entertainment and dining and revitalize this formerly iconic destination in the East Bay.

The immediate retail redevelopment will include significant upgrades to the building exterior, interior common areas and signage surrounding the property. The mall will join many other Bay Area malls under renovation.

The property at 2200 Hilltop Mall Road was developed in 1976 and renovated in 2007. It encompasses approximately 77 acres at the Hilltop Mall exit off of I-80. The property is 20 miles northeast of San Francisco and 25 miles south of Napa, and within a 30-minute drive of San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Napa and Marin County.

“The surrounding neighborhood has great growth opportunities that contribute to a strong value proposition,” Aviva Investors' Global Indirect Real Estate Group Head of Americas Russ Bates said.

Aviva typically assesses the prospect of repositioning a property along with demographic income levels and buying habits when considering buying an asset.