Genre:

The Anatomy of Public Corruption


Blake Hunt goes for retail gold



IN THIS ARTICLE


By Adam Feuerstein –
Apr 7, 2002, 9:00pm PDT Updated Apr 7, 2002, 9:00pm


Developers Blake Hunt Ventures and Pan Pacific Properties are well on the way to completing a new movie-retail-restaurant complex in downtown Walnut Creek.

Olympic Place represents a big improvement to what was a relatively under-utilized parcel of land bounded by Locust Street and Mt. Diablo, California, Olympic boulevards. Two gas stations, a motel and an empty lot are now gone, making way for a 147,000-square-foot retail center slated for completion in the first quarter of next year.

Total project cost: $42.5 million.

A 14-screen Century Theatres movie complex serves as Olympic Place's anchor. Retailer Cost Plus has also committed to building a 24,000-square-foot store. And a mix of smaller retail shops and restaurants will eventually occupy the remaining 60,000 square feet of space, according to Jim Wright, vice president of development at Blake Hunt Ventures.

It shouldn't be a hard sell, with Walnut Creek's high average annual income of $83,700; and a local population of nearly 200,000 potential shoppers.

Indeed, retailers have already set their sights on Walnut Creek. Olympic Place is the second of three redevelopment projects sought by Walnut Creek officials for three parcels of land in the East Bay city. The first project, Broadway Point, is a retail complex anchored by Pottery Barn, William & Sonoma, Eddie Bauer and Restoration Hardware.

The third parcel has yet to be redeveloped.

Blake Hunt is very familiar with the territory. The real estate development and investment company is headquartered in Walnut Creek. Another of its retail projects, Plaza Escuela, anchored by an Andronico's grocery store, is located across the street from Olympic Place.
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