Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Berryessa Walmart?

Well, I have some bad news today. It looks like SyWest Development wants to build a Walmart where the Century Berryessa 10 movie theaters used to be. SyWest has recently razed a beloved theater in Pleasant Hill to build several cookie-cutter big box stores, despite protest from thousands of residents. It looks like they want to do something similar in San Jose. While there is little reason to preserve the Berryessa theater, putting another generic Walmart there seems like a poor use of the space, which will only be minutes away from the new San Jose BART station in 2017.

The person to complain to is Bill Vierra, the SyWest president and COO ( More information on the flyer below.

Thanks Andrew for sending this in!

main image alt text
Dome Theater in Pleasant Hill that was Razed by SyWest


  1. Josh,
    Had no idea the Century Berryessa was closed until right now (where have I been?).
    A Walmart there is an absultely horrible idea! Especially with light-rail right there. Hopefully this dumb idea comes to pass and something more urban goes up on that site..

  2. you really think that contacting the developer is going to make any difference?

    where is our city government in this? once again, they take a back seat to issues like zoning, architecture/design, aesthetics, land use, etc.

    i'm from the east coast originally and i continue to be shocked by how passive this city is about this stuff. it's like they're prepared to take any development no matter what and with minimal public input or participation.

  3. Why do people single out Wal-Mart for the harsh treatment nationwide? There are many other big box stores, that pay their workers just as shitty wages (Target for example) that do not carry the negative connotations that Wal-Mart does. I think it's a case study in public perception and marketing.

    I think the real implicit reason that people are so much against Wal-Mart is the same reason Palo Alto residents are currently fighting an affordable housing project; Wal-Mart appeals to poorer, lower middle-class customers and yuppity rich/upper middle-class Sillicon Valley professionals don't want poor people around. This is WRONG, AMORAL & INJUST! Poorer people need convenient places to buy cheaper goods just as much as you need your little cute boutique stores to buy your overpriced goods. To discriminate in such a way is simply wrong.

    1. This blog is about making San Jose a better, more interesting place. A new WalMart is exactly what San Jose doesn't need to battle its status as a giant suburban strip mall. This has nothing to classism.

      If we want a city we can be proud of, we should fight for every development to be something we can be proud of.

    2. This area of San Jose is pure suburbia, it's full of sprawling single family developments and strip malls. There is little in the way Transit Oriented Developments, I don't see how more big box stores in Berryessa will further hurt the image of San Jose.

      What needs to be done is concentrate efforts on the 20 (or so) "Urban Villages" that the city has identified and create enough density to make them viable urban neighborhoods.

  4. I bet if it was a Target instead, nobody would complain.

  5. I'm certainly no fan of Wal-Mart, but I would like to see solid studies done that indicate that Wal-Mart generates crime (as the flyer states).

  6. I thought this was going to be grocery only Walmart. I remember hearing it would be a neighborhood Walmart store like the one in West San Jose at West Gate mall. But yeah, Target is down the street and DD discount store nearby and Dollar store use to be across the street. Walmart kind of fits in.

    1. Hmm? If it's a Walmart neighborhood market than that could work. We love the one in Evergreen Village; only a couple of blocks away from our townhouse :)

    2. People will still hate on it just because its Walmart, the residents of Santa Clara are complaining about the proposed Neighborhood Market at Mercado (will take over the former MicroCenter space) and are using the same arguments as the flyer being distributed in Berryessa.

  7. It's because of stores like Walmart that kill small business. Small business = city identification...Walmart = lower standards, they don't operate to benefit the city they reside in, only to their bottom line. agree that neighborhood market may work, but if the city is serious about getting zoning for offices and residential (up to 3,000 units on the site of flea market? ) then really San Jose, we can do better

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.


    Check out the links I posted on here and get informed- go ahead and research further on Wal-mart. Then go ahead an make an opinion based off from what you learned.

    I'm part of the community of Berryessa here in San Jose and I say I don't want a Wal-Mart in neighborhood.

    1. I the time to email Bill Vierra to try and understand what's happening. He replied back stating the following;
      Hello Karla;

      I appreciate your having taken the time to write me and it is good to see
      you hold an active interest in your community.

      Over the past few weeks I have heard from other folks in the neighborhood,
      both for and against a "Wal Mart project", and want to let you know we
      currently do not have any plans to develop a project such as the one
      described..... We believe we know the party responsible for disseminating
      this incorrect information and are baffled as to why these flyers are being
      sent around the area.

      In the future, as a redevelopment proposal for this site comes together, we
      will certainly hold community meetings to discuss our plans with any and
      all interested parties.

      Best regards.

      Bill Vierra
      President and Chief Operating Officer
      SyWest Development
      150 Pelican Way
      San Rafael, CA 94901"

      Seems like he's up to work with the community on a new project. I can't wait to attend the meetings on working on a new proposal.

  10. Very authoritative links lol

  11. This came in my mail a few weeks ago. I too live in this area and while I was happy to see that someone had taken interest in the Berryessa community, I was not happy about the suggestion to put in a Walmart. Like other commenters suggested, the area is largely suburban with single family homes. But honestly, in a city that is insistent on building hundreds and hundreds of high density living, I think that's a great thing! We don't need more condos, we need more houses and to make the suburban areas more desirable. To write Berryessa off, as an area that is less upscale, and it's fitting to put in a Walmart, seems wrong. We should be focusing on improving this area of San Jose, just as much as we are focusing on building little urban villages. I would love to see a decent coffee place, a whole foods, or even a trader joes go in there. These are places I go out of my way to go to.

    And something has to be done to the DDs market shopping area that is adjacent. DDs has a giant pink sign that takes up the entire signage area. If they could make that smaller and list the other businesses in that shopping center, they wouldn't have to put up so many flags! I can't be the only one that is disgusted by this.

    I did write Bill Vierra as the flyer suggested, and got no response. I'm at a loss for what else to do.

    1. I emailed Bill Vierra last night and he replied back this morning. I posted what he wrote on a comment reply above (^^^^^^). Please take a look at it.

    2. Thanks for posting this. I am so happy to hear that!
      I hope they come up with a better plan for that area.

      Sorry I must have typed my reply at the same time you did. Didn't see yours before I commented :)

  12. Alright NIMBYs, you've done it! :) *rolls eyes* Seriously guys, what is wrong with a Wal-Mart on that area? I don't get all the hubbub that's going on...

    And for a moment there I thought we were all from Berkeley...

    1. We already have Walmarts in the area, another one there in a high value area near lightrail adds no additional value, culture, or uniqueness. We want to get out of this suburban mindset and add retail that will help push San Jose to the next level.

  13. SV Business Journal says no Walmart planned for this location