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San Jose Mercury News

May 18, 2016

Blue Bottle Coffee, Tin Pot Creamery planning Bay Meadows stores

By George Avalos

Blue Bottle Coffee and Tin Pot Creamery will become the first retailers for the Bay Meadows mixed-use development, executives said Wednesday.

The two merchants will be part of the 40,000-square-foot retail in the mixed-use Bay Meadows development. The retail will include outdoor an indoor spaces.

Landing the retailers marks a key new stage for the Bay Meadows complex, which includes residences and offices, and now has embarked on attracting retailers. It’s part of a trend of development projects in Silicon Valley and other parts of the Bay Area that are transit-oriented.

About 1,300 people live in the Bay Meadows development. Separately, SurveyMonkey has struck a deal to shift its headquarters from Palo Alto to the Bay Meadows complex in a lease deal that will completely fill a 210,000-square-foot building.

Construction began in 2013 on the Bay Meadows complex on the site of the old horse racing track. Eventually, the site will consist of 780,000 square feet of offices, 1,150 residential units, retail in the site’s Town Square and 18 acres of open spaces. A total of five office buildings are planned for Bay Meadows.

“This is literally a selection process for the retail,” said Matt Holmes, a principal executive with RetailWest, a commercial realty firm that is seeking retailers for the complex. “We have gone door to door to recruit the retailers, we are out recruiting specific categories. This is not a typical lease up process.”

The project is co-owned by investment firm Stockbridge Capital and developer Wilson Meany. Wilson Meany also headed redevelopment of the Ferry Building on the San Francisco waterfront.

“For Tin Pot Creamery, to be in a community designed by the team behind the Ferry Building was an amazing opportunity,” said Becky Sunseri, owner of Tin Pot Creamery. Tin Pot has locations in Palo Alto and Los Altos.

The two retailers intend to open their shops in the Bay Meadows Town Square in 2017.

“We believe that each of our cafes must be both a unique representation of our craft and a respectful tribute to the community in which it is located,” said Arion Paylo, director of retail development at Blue Bottle Coffee. “We plan to fully utilize the outdoor space.”

Besides RetailWest, brokers from commercial realty firms Creative Space and Bokman Rock arranged the leases for the two merchants.

Blue Bottle Coffee and Tin Pot Creamery, each with very dedicated followings, speak to the kind of neighborhood-serving tenants we’ll continue bringing to Bay Meadows,” said Janice Thacher, a Wilson Meany Partner.

The Bay Meadows site is deemed to be a “transit-oriented” project, and is located next to a Caltrain station. The developers believe the retail complex will be a key element to make the site unique.

“We are looking for brands that have a nostalgic urban appeal, that have succeeded in urban areas,” Holmes said. “The common areas of this project and the curbside appeal is really what will make this project different.”