By Jennifer Modenessi, | 05/27/2016


WALNUT CREEK — The half-century-old Rossmoor Shopping Center will soon get a major overhaul.

According to plans recently approved by the city, the retail center at 1938 Tice Valley Road, a short distance from the Rossmoor retirement community, will be renovated and expanded to accommodate new tenants, including a new 2,000-square foot drive-through Starbucks that will also pour beer and wine.

Existing anchor tenants Safeway and CVS will also receive significant improvements to their spaces, and new anchor tenants including a pet store, hardware shop or discount clothing and housewares store could also soon be in the mix.

Once complete, the revamped center will have more than 138,000 square feet of leasable space, a new main plaza and a reconfigured parking lot with more easily maneuverable spaces for larger transport vehicles and elderly drivers.

“It’s going to be like a new shopping center,” said Terrence Tallen of Tallen Capital Partners, who with other investors paid $35 million for the center in 2012.

While continuing to serve the residents of the senior community, the center will have plenty to offer commuters who pass through Rossmoor while heading to nearby cities including Alamo and Lafayette, its operators said. They hope the updated complex will attract young families, including future residents of a 53-single-family home development Pulte Homes wants to build across the street.

“We have this vision of Saturday mornings, families crossing the street, coming into the shopping center and hanging out,” Tallen said. “We want it to be a place of gathering, a place where people can visit their parents in Rossmoor — a place where people will sit and congregate.”

Built in 1966, the Rossmoor Shopping Center generally has less activity than the various bustling shopping plazas that dot Walnut Creek. Another Walnut Creek shopping plaza, Encina Grande at Ygnacio Valley and Oak Grove Roads, is undergoing a similar facelift, an updating of its stuck-in-the-70s look.

The Rossmoor Safeway, which underwent an interior remodel a few years ago, is that center’s largest tenant. There are also various service-oriented businesses there, including a U.S. Postal Service branch, a women’s apparel store, a hair and nail salon and the Rossmoor Diner, which dishes up comfort-food staples like omelets and sandwiches.

But city staffers say the center could use more foot traffic.

“I’d say it’s underutilized due to the lack of patronage,” assistant planner Alan Carreon wrote in an e-mail. “The new ownership is attempting to revive the center with the remodel and, of course, new tenants.”

Plans call for four new buildings in the existing parking lot, which will now accommodate 532 cars — still more parking than the city require. CVS will soon have a drive-through window, and the center will soon have several new pedestrian paths and crosswalks. The Rossmoor center will also feature what Tallen describes as a “chef-inspired restaurant,” one of a number of eateries. There are also plans for a bocce ball court, an outdoor cinema and events for children.

“We hope to bring more people in to this part of Walnut Creek,” Tallen said.