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STOCKTON, CA-Developer Stone Bros. and Associates has unveiled plans for the first phase of the $30 million Stonecreek Village retail and restaurant center, which will also feature garden office space on a second level above the 161,000 sf of ground floor retail space. The project will be aimed at meeting the increasing demand for retail space in Stockton, one of the fastest growing cities in California with a metro population of more than 300,000 that is growing by 2.5% yearly, according to Steve Carrigan, Stockton’s economic development director.

The 15-acre Stonecreek Village development site is at the corner of Pacific Avenue and West Robinhood Drive, across the street from two regional malls owned by Stone Bros., Sherwood Mall and Weberstown Mall. Stonecreek Village will take the place of Sherwood Plaza, which was demolished recently to make room for the new center.

Mike Minson, co-managing director of locally based Stone Bros., reports that the project is approximately 45% preleased, with additional retailers negotiating for space. The plan is for the Stonecreek center to be home to more than 30 national retailers, specialty boutiques, restaurants and cafés.

Among the tenants confirmed for the project are clothing retailers Coldwater Creek, AnnTaylor LOFT, Talbot’s, J. Jill, Eddie Bauer, Lane Bryant, Jos. A. Bank and Cacique. Restaurants and other food-related tenants will include BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Boudin SF and Juice It Up!

Phase one of the center is set to open in the spring of 2008. The developers note that the office space “is much needed” since the vacancy rate for class A office space in Stockton is in the low single digits.

Carrigan comments that the development represents a turnaround for Stockton, which could barely get retailers to return its phone calls a few years ago. Now, thanks to the population growth, the city is in demand as a retail location, he says. Besides the growth in the city itself, Stockton also benefits from growth in the surrounding San Joaquin County, which is expected to grow 52% by 2020.

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