Monday, December 21, 2009

Larkspur Landing / Marin Country Mart: landscape plans revealed

The plans for reviving Larkspur Landing Shopping Center (or as it will be known, Marin Country Mart) were revealed today in the North Bay Business Journal. The center's new owner, JS Rosenfield & Co. hopes to find retailers to occupy the 50,000 square feet of space that is
currently either vacant or occupied by non-retail uses.

Goodbye Fountain
The landscape plans approved last month by the City of Larkspur, include renewing the perimeter with $1 million worth of olive trees. In the plaza area, the plans call for removal of the fountain, to be replaced by a play structure and a fire pit.
Landscape improvements will help to freshen the center (although I think it's a mistake to lose the fountain) but the new owner will have to do some impressive leasing to turn the center around and make it relevant as a shopping destination.


BIGMallrat said...

After reading this story, boy do I have questions.
Initially, the same intention was had by the original owners of the shopping center... house retail. However, the laws of supply and demand may have had a significant impact to the situation we see now. I'm curious as to what extent. No one can wave a magic wand and suddenly generate retail interest. Is kicking out the non-retail a good idea? The article didn't mention what would happen to the existing offices.
I'd really like to think that million dollar olive trees will bring in the retail, and then the shoppers, but they have to be kidding themselves. Olive trees are as out of place in the Marin landscape as the existing mature tree. What ROI could million dollar trees bring?
My non-professional opinion is that Larkspur Landing is missing both a strong drawn (e.g., anchor) and street visibility. It sits up on that hill and is somewhat hidden.
Don't get me started on the name, "Marin Country Mart." Sounds like a knock-off department store.
My rant is over. I wish them luck in their endeavor and hope Larkspur Landing gets the dignity it deserves.

Nigel said...

Good points, Scott.
For me, the shopping center should be part of a wider master plan to create a higher density transit interchange. That means moving the location of the southern terminal of the SMART train next to the ferry terminal, replace the ridiculously huge paved car park with a decked structure, and finance it all by building a few condo towers over the terminal and on the shopping center site. There'll be plenty of room for retail uses at the street level and where commuters and residents will actually use it - i.e. at the terminal itself.

BIGMallrat said...

Your idea is on the mark. This is the perfect location for a transit village. I wonder why they haven't considered that... or perhaps they did and were overturned by the county? Hmm.
Missed opportunity.

David said...

Love the idea of the condos, and making it community. That would bring a huge energy if done well! I'm onboard!