Town Center Corte Madera

Town Center Corte Madera unveils renovation plan, new general manager By Megan Hansen 03 Apr 2015, 05:38 PM A rendering of the how the south concourse of Town Center Corte Madera will look once remodeled. A plan to remodel Town Center Corte Madera will be unveiled next week as officials introduce the shopping center’s new general manager. A public meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the center’s community room at 770 Tamalpais Drive to discuss the changes. It’ll also serve as people’s first opportunity to meet new general manager and Fairfax resident Monty Stephens. Anjee Solanki, national director of retail services for Colliers International, said the center, which is just west of Highway 101 and has more than 60 retailers and restaurants, will receive a facelift that will create more spaces for people to gather. She said it was last updated more than 20 years ago. “A lot of the pavers, light fixtures and the paint itself needs to be refreshed,” Solanki said. “We’re also looking at introducing outdoor rooms to encourage outdoor informal gathering places.” Planned upgrades Additional upgrades to the center will include more landscaping in common areas, new decorative lighting, a potential fire feature near Il Fornio and new LED parking lot lights anticipated to save the center about $15,000 a year in energy costs. A new water feature with small animal sculptures will be added as well as a drinking fountain for dogs at the north end of the center. Solanki said people already bring their canine companions to the center, so they want to make it an even more inviting environment — even if that includes keeping pets hydrated. “As the dog approaches the drinking fountain, it would fill and keep the water there for a bit before dissipating, so it’s constantly fresh water,” Solanki said. The push to revamp the Colliers International-owned center started last year with a controversial plan to renovate a portion of the center with a new relocated clock tower, storefront changes, a new water feature and updated public restrooms. The plans were met with hostility from the public, with residents stating the designs didn’t match the surrounding architecture. People were particularly concerned about the look of the clock tower and the potential loss of an elephant statue. After months of revisions, plans that were more amenable to the public were filed and the beloved elephant statue is planned to be incorporated into a colorful new water feature at a different location. It will include pop-up water jets for children to enjoy. As part of the effort to engage the community, the center plans to hold a contest to name the elephant. Phyllis Galanis, of Corte Madera, still isn’t a fan of the clock tower relocation plan because she’s concerned it will block the views of Mount Tamalpais. But she said she’s not bothered by the latest plans. “I think it’s good they’re taking away the covered walkway and opening it up some,” Galanis said. “I don’t see a problem with it as long as the lighting is down-lighting and it’s not going to come up and give us more light pollution.” Galanis said she just hopes Colliers International keeps working with the town and doesn’t impose its ideas of what the center should look like on residents. “I hope they keep the whimsy in it as well,” Galanis said. Mayor Carla Condon said at first glance, she thought the renderings were nice. “I thought it was quite attractive,” Condon said. “To me the plans were reminiscent of a quaint shopping street in a European village.” New management As part of his new job, Stephens will oversee all aspects of the shopping center, including renovations and improvements, tenant leases and special events. He takes over a position that was previously held by Stan Hoffman for 29 years before he abruptly left in February. Stephens is a third generation Marin native who grew up in Larkspur, graduating from Redwood High School. He has served on Fairfax’s Park and Recreation Commission for five years and is a member of the California Native Sons, Fairfax Parlor. “This is a true homecoming for me. My mother still lives in Larkspur. I’ve watched the Town Center transform over the years,” Stephens said. “I intend to shift a lot of my time and attention to the Larkspur, Corte Madera market again.” Before taking on his new role this month, Stephens was a general manager for Starwood Retail Partners, a Chicago-based commercial real estate agency. He started his commercial real estate career 23 years ago as a leasing specialist in San Francisco with TRI commercial services. He was also a property manager for LaCaze Development Co. overseeing its Northern California portfolio of grocery-anchored shopping centers. Stephens said he’s excited about the Town Center’s plans to create more community spaces. “This is going to be more of an interactive experience than it ever has before,” he said. Follow Megan Hansen’s blog at… David N. Swaim Tam Realty Inc Owner DRE#1070789 415-710-5504 609 San Anselmo Ave San Anselmo CA 94960 Serving all of Marin County

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