South Shore Center Makeover Planned

Part One
The real-estate acquisition and management firm Jamestown filed its development plan amendment with the city in May to redevelop South Shore Center. The use of the word “amendment” simply means that Jamestown is changing plans that it or its predecessors submitted earlier. 

Jamestown purchased the 47-acre open-air retail center from Portland, Ore.,-based Harsch Investment Properties in 2011. The shopping mall opened near the city’s south shore in 1958 as South Shore Center. Harsch had owned the property since 1979. 

The company changed South Shore Center’s name to Alameda Towne Center in 2002 as part of an $85 million redevelopment plan, which. Harsch completed in 2010. The following year, Jamestown purchased the shopping center from Harsch for $181 million. Jamestown renamed Towne Centre, giving the shopping destination back its original name. 

After eight years of ownership Jamestown is currently working on redevelopment plans that involve three phases. The first phase includes a pair of eight-story apartment buildings: the first on the southeast corner of the center where Sushi House serves its meals at Park Street and Shore Line Drive. This building would house 167 residential units and 22,500 square feet of retail space.  

The second eight-story apartment would stretch from the site of the Shoreline Car Wash west to the retail building that currently houses Pagano’s Hardware. This structure would contain 183 residential units and 19,300 square feet of retail space. In addition to the eight-story buildings, Jamestown plans to build a pair of single-story retail buildings with a total of 8,700 square feet. The larger of the two would stand just to the north of today’s car wash; the smaller near today’s Bed, Bed and Beyond. 

Jamestown would execute the second phase of its plans at the mall’s northwest corner along Otis Drive near today’s Office Depot and South Shore Cafe. This phase includes a pair of four-story buildings: one with 150 assisted living units, the second with 78 residential units. 

The company would build its “remaining phases” at the site of today’s Kohl’s and TJ Maxx: five buildings for residential units and one each for assisted living and office space. Jamestown would execute these remaining phases only if these bigger box tenants ask to downsize or close. These sites currently house some 15 smaller retail shops as well. 

Jamestown points to the struggling retail market as one of the reasons for these changes. The center has seen a number of stores close or go bankrupt: Radio Shack, Beverly’s Fabrics, Charming Charlie, Crazy 8 and Payless Shoes. Jamestown states that the shopping center would “thrive” if it were “more thoughtfully consolidated and supported by other uses, including residential.” Retail is not going away, it is simply being consolidated. 

Jamestown faces an approval process that involves technical studies, preparation of an environmental impact report (EIR), meetings with the Planning Board and EIR certification. Jamestown expects the process to take between two and four years before it could start building Phase 1. The company hopes to complete development of Phase 1 in 2025 and the entire process by 2041. The Alameda Sun will discuss the process in part two of this story. 

Jamestown’s plans are available online at www.southshoreneighborhood.com/plan. Scroll down and click on “View the Plan.” Residents can see a hard copy of the plan at the Main Library, 1550 Oak St.