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New Mall Owners To Breathe Life Into Richmond's Struggling Mall

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

Richmond’s once dying mall could soon be a bustling entertainment center. The Shops at Hilltop owners LBG Real Estate Cos. and Aviva Investors plan to add a movie theater, live theater, grocery store, food hall and 40 restaurants, the East Bay Times reports. The company wants to bring in large retailers like H&M and Forever 21.

Malls around the Bay Area have been undergoing massive transformations to remain relevant in an age of e-commerce and declining brick-and-mortar retail sales.

The JV bought the 1.1M SF mall in July. The shopping center, formerly known as Hilltop Mall, went into foreclosure four years ago and has been struggling ever since. It lost J.C. Penney this summer and has dealt with significant vacancies for many years. The JV plans to buy the J.C. Penney building and bring in new retailers. The mall is expected to undergo its initial transformation over the next 18 months.

Richmond has rezoned the property to accommodate a mixed-use development with office, hotel, retail and over 9,600 housing units. LBG is working with architects on potential housing for the site. The location was also pitched for Amazon HQ2 as part of a Bay Area bid.

LBG has rebranded the mall as Shops at Hilltop and is undergoing a revitalization of the interior and exterior. The owner also plans to add more retail tenants. It will renovate the parking lot and add new lighting. Additional security will be added with the installation of 120 security cameras and a security desk. The owners also plan to offer more events to draw people to the mall.