Friday, April 27, 2007

How To Make Me Mad...

I guess I don’t need any help in getting mad after all. This article in the Sacramento Bee did it for me. The subhead says it all, as far as I’m concerned. “Elk Grove officials aren’t enthused by Target, JCPenny at Promenade.” Neither are Elk Grove citizens, particularly this one.

The back story is this: Elk Grove has been dithering over a huge mall for some time now—probably since we started our surge to become the fastest growing city in the United States. The mall, to be over a million square feet, is sited at the east end of the city, where a nifty little exit to Highway 99 would enable the masses for miles around to visit.

The purpose, according to the city fathers (and mothers one would assume) is to put Elk Grove on the map, mall-wise. Right now, we have, it would seem, more than enough stores. In fact, one might say, I will say that Elk Grove is nothing but new houses and chain stores. However, a Real Mall with Real Stores is what is wanted. In other words, Nordstrom’s and Macy’s and, one would hope, Restoration Hardware and Williams Sonoma. Like they have in Arden or Roseville. And West Hollywood or Century City. Or Short Hills. Or Manhasset. (I’m not sure about those last two, but you get my point.) A Real Mall confers status and tax dollars. Right now, all of Elk Grove’s Real Mall tax dollars are going to Arden and Roseville—or internet shopping.

So the powers that be have broken ground, dug some trenches, and put in some re-bar. But they still haven’t decided (1) what the mall will look like, and (2) which will be the anchor stores. The argument re design devolves to Indoor or Outdoor. The absolutely latest, oh-my-gosh-we-gotta-have-it in mall design is Outdoor. As in LA’s The Grove, about which I have written lovingly in the past. Indoor is so, so Yesterday. I don’t have a hard and fast opinion on this one. I see the points of both sides—bad weather versus community gathering. It is the anchor stores issue that has me seeing red.

According to the Bee article, the developers of the mall, a Chicago-based (read, carpetbagger) company, are close to a deal on the two anchor stores. Not Nordstom’s. Not Macy’s. Target. And JC Penney.

Well, big whoop. And gee whiz. And close your ears if you don’t want to hear me spew a blue streak. !@#$%^&*()_!@#$%^&*()_!@#$%^&*()!

Now I bow to no one in my appreciation of Target. In fact, I would be sans wardrobe if it weren’t for Target, even now, as I write this. But—hear me—ELK GROVE ALREADY HAS A TARGET. In fact, we have two. And Penney’s? When we already have Kohl’s and Mervyns? How many low end department stores does one city need?????
According to the Bee article, a retail “consultant” from the Bay Area who “scouted” the Sacramento region thinks these stores are just fine for Elk Grove, and really we couldn’t handle more. “It’s a fairly moderate market, not the kind of place that, say Nordstrom would come into,” opined the scout, one Jeff Green of Mill Valley. “You have a lot of younger families who move there to get a little more house for their money, so there’s not a lot of disposable income compared to areas north and east.”

I don’t know where Mr. Green did his scouting (I suspect he included very moderate Galt and Lodi in the mix), but he certainly hasn’t gotten our demographics down. I don’t at the moment have the actual data to spew out, but these young families only account for one portion of Elk Grove residents. Some of us live in million dollar homes. Some of us have gardeners and swimming pools. Some of us, goddammit, have charge accounts at Nordstom!

My journalist’s nose is twitching: I wonder who pays Mr. Green’s bills. The Chicago developers? Penney’s? Fortunately for us, thus far, not the mayor of Elk Grove or one of the city councilmembers. They are reportedly “not happy” and they are saying that the anchor tenant issue could “hang the project up.”

I hope so. And meanwhile, I will continue to send the bulk of my tax dollars outside of Elk Grove.


  1. Hi Jane,
    I couldn't agree more. I just posted my blog on this very subject. Check it out at

    Let's hope that we can be heard and get the Elk Grove citizens to speak up, too.

  2. I couldn't agree more. We need something higher-end. A niche. Something that makes Elk Grove a unique oasis among the shit hole valley towns. How hard can that be?

  3. exactly...and we are but two who don't live in the $million homes--but still, we shop!

  4. Soon, Elk Grove will have TWO Kohl's. Like we need two of them?

    I'd gladly trade both of them for something higher end. I mean, come on...I see enough Mercedes, Beemers and Hummers here in EG. These idiots cannot say EG can't afford a place like Nordstrom!

    I guess I will keep shopping online...

    Great blog!


So--whaddaya think?