Plans for top-floor theater in shuttered Macy’s building move forward

Macy's closed down its Stonestown store in March. The building is slated for development into retail spaces, a supermarket and a movie theater. (Courtesy Google Maps)

San Francisco planning commissioners on Thursday advanced plans that will breathe new life into a shuttered Macy’s store at Stonestown Galleria by granting zoning amendments to accommodate renovations that will include a third-story movie theater.

Macy’s closed down in March as part of a larger effort by the retailer to shut down dozens of stores across the country, and plans to transform the building into a mix of retail and restaurant uses include the addition of a Whole Foods and a cinema with up to 12 movie screens.

Developer General Growth Properties, which owns the rest of the mall, plans to break ground in August. On Thursday, the commission voted to unanimously grant exceptions to the property’s zoning, allowing for a reconfiguration of the building’s roof  to accommodate the proposed cinema’s auditorium and stair screens, which will rise to some 64 feet at its highest point.

The project also calls for reconfiguring the existing Macy’s building to fit a Whole Foods and 102,207 square feet of retail tenants. On its first floor, an approximately 72,200 square foot sports retail store will set up shop, and 10 small to medium sized retail tenants will occupy the second floor.

Along with restaurants, a 1,800 seat movie theater with up to a dozen screens will be housed on the third floor.

The project also calls for the replacement of a currently opaque ground floor frontage on 20th Avenue with a more transparent street frontage.

“They want to see [the building] expand and revitalized,” said a GGP representative. “This is a much more enlivened Stonestown Galleria — we do not want to keep the building vacant and dark.”

Francisco Gutierrez, senior director of development at GGP, shared plans to eventually relocate the operator of an existing theater behind the mall into the new space.

“The idea is to provide them a new facility so once they relocate we can start looking at that parking lot,” said Gutierrez. “We see it as a future opportunity but haven’t had the chance to add a timeline.”

Commissioner Rodney Fong pointed to an opportunity for future development of the parking lot surrounding the mall.

“I think it’s a creative step forward to put a theater in the Macy’s building. It’s a tremendous parking lot that maybe doesn’t need to be a parking lot in the future,” said Fong. “Maybe there is some development opportunity here, whether housing related or more retail and job creation, I think is something to study.”

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