The Shops at Tanforan meet hopes

The reopened and recently renovated The Shops at Tanforan is performing well, drawing shoppers from around the region and bringing around $1.6 million in sales tax revenue to city coffers this fiscal year, according to city officials.

Closed for two years, aside from major anchors Target, JC Penney and Sears, the mall reopened in October amid great fanfare and hopes that it would revive San Bruno’s city tax base. Finance Director Jim O’Leary said revenue estimates were right-on this fiscal year, with approximately $1 million coming in from the three major stores combined and another $600,000 from the interior shops. The city expects to receive about $6.5 million in sales tax revenue overall this year, a figure that is slightly lower than predicted.

Before the remodel, the interior shops brought in only about half that much in revenue to the city in the last several years, O’Leary said.

Tanforan, the former racetrack turned Japanese internment camp turned racetrack turned shopping mall, was a popular shopping spot in the ’70s and ’80s but over time lost business to neighboring malls and shopping districts on the Peninsula. In 2004, developer Wattson Breevast stripped the structure down to its frame and spent $140 million to turn the ailing center into a brand-new shopping destination with more popular stores and new eateries.

The mall’s success became particularly important to San Bruno when Peninsula Ford, the city’s fifth-largest revenue producer, closed unexpectedly in July 2005. The car dealership, which was located on 601 El Camino Real for 50 years, brought between $200,000 and $500,000 annually to the city.

Cristina Robles, marketing manager for the mall, said the center is approximately 91 percent to 92 percent leased, and they plan on getting at least four more stores in time for the holidays. She wouldn’t release sales figures and said no information on the number of shoppers was available, but said they are meeting expectations for the first year of operation.

The city’s 2006-07 budget won’t be ready until June 9, O’Leary said,but total sales tax revenue is expected to come in at approximately $6.7 million for that year.

tramroop@examiner.com

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