LOOKING  BACK

Origins

Built in the early 1960s, Foothill Square was a state-of-the-art shopping center at the time, with unusual cutting-edge features like a central outdoor promenade and an indoor food court. Original anchor stores included Lucky Supermarket, Thrifty Drugs, S.S. Kresge (precursor to Kmart), Roos/Atkins men’s clothing, Bank of America, Zales Jewelers and Round Table Pizza.
Lawrence Halprin Mall

Turnaround

Over time as other centers were built with more modern facilities, Foothill Square lost its luster. In the mid-1990s, ownership began the process of renovation. With the help of local district council member Larry Reid, and the tireless efforts of many City of Oakland staff, the project moved forward.

Expansion

Beginning in 2012, the center was renovated and expanded. Over 67,000 square feet of space was demolished and 100,000 square feet of new space was built from the ground up along with a quarter mile of new building façade. In total the size of Foothill Square went from 155,000 to 202,000 square feet.

Funds Required

Foothill Square’s renovation was a $45 million project done entirely with private funds, but the City of Oakland strongly supported the project by providing $7.5 million of streetscape improvements to MacArthur Blvd. Alameda County Congestion Management also allocated $300,000 to re-align the close by off-ramp from east bound Interstate 580 to bring it directly adjacent to Foothill Square.

Ground-Breaking

In August 2012, the ground was officially broken for the anchor tenant, Foods Co grocery store. Owned by Kroger, this Foods Co is the first superstore in the San Francisco Bay Area built for America’s largest grocer.

FoodsCo Artist's Rendering

Artist rendering of the Foods Co supermarket

Ground breaking ceremony

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan participates in the ground-breaking ceremony for the Foothill Square renovation project.

Demolition begins

Before new construction can commence, the old structure must be demolished.

The nearly completed shopping center has been slowly transformed into a vibrant neighborhood centerpiece.

Anchor Stores

The FoodsCo store at Foothill Square is a hybrid of a discount warehouse and a full-service grocery store, offering bulk items as well as a deli, meat counter and bakery. Other large stores in the renovated center include Ross Dress for Less, Anna’s Linens and Rainbow Apparel.

ross-dress-for-less
Head Start Logo

Local Stores & Services

Foothill Square now has a mix of retail, community, and health care resources with a dialysis center, medical clinic and Head Start preschool facility. Many of the smaller stores such as Fashion Nails and Lucky Express Chinese restaurant are returning tenants.

Recreation

Foothill Square is also proud to offer fun and unique recreation with The Academy of Hawaiian Arts dance school and Foothill Square Bingo hall, both popular previous tenants.

Impact

Foothill Square’s rebirth promises to keep more money in the community as residents enjoy the chance to shop locally. In addition, hundreds of new jobs have been created, many of them union jobs, providing a boost to the local economy. Foothill Square has finally returned to its former position as an integral part of the surrounding neighborhoods, providing a convenient and safe place to get health care, go shopping and have fun.

The Future

Foothill Square’s revival serves as an inspiration to others working to improve East Oakland. These types of investments often attract further investments which could gradually lead to a renaissance of the MacArthur Boulevard corridor, the Elmhurst neighborhood and surrounding East Oakland and San Leandro neighborhoods.

Viva Foothill Square!

REFERENCES

Oakland’s Foothill Square overhaul attracts new anchors” by Blanca Torres, San Francisco Business Journal, June 10, 2011

Kroger’s Ground Breaking at East Oakland’s Foothill Square” by nannystu, Zennie62 [web log], November 6, 2012

Largest Supermarket in East Bay to Open in Oakland’s Foothill Square” by Ken Epstein, Oakland Local, January 13, 2014