Author Archives: Tony M

Encouraged By Traffic, Bay Area Malls Puzzle Through Reopening

July 7, 2020 – Dean Boerner, Bisnow San Francisco Bay Area

With constrained capacities, many tenants yet to reopen and virus concerns still high, Bay Area malls have seen welcome progress since reopenings began in mid-June.

But with current public health guidelines and phased reopenings slowed or even reversed, malls still have a long way to go. Movie theaters, indoor dining and other retailers being closed in Bay Area counties make things challenging.

Courtesy of Pacific Retail Capital Partners
San Jose’s Eastridge Center is replete with signage promoting physical distancing, Pacific Retail Capital Owners Vice President of Marketing Najla Kayyem said.

“When you get government orders that say you can reopen, yet only 50% of your retailers are able to open or are comfortable opening and have the staff back and trained, that certainly makes it challenging,” said Najla Kayyem, senior vice president of marketing at Pacific Retail Capital Partners.

As of this week, 25% of San Jose mall Eastridge Center’s 100 or so stores were still closed, according to Pacific Retail, which owns the site. Of those still closed, 40% are technically allowed to reopen. Within a few days of its reopening last month, Eastridge saw 55% of its typical pre-pandemic foot traffic.

Though traffic has since leveled off at around 60%, Kayyem said Eastridge Center is still outperforming other malls in the owner’s portfolio, which includes properties in Southern California and the East Coast.

“It goes to show that the market there in San Jose definitely had an appetite to come back quicker,” Kayyem said.

Other Bay Area malls, too, are seeing encouraging signs, their owners say.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Vice President of Shopping Center Management Leah Fuhrman Heil said URW has seen “positive momentum” across its Bay Area portfolio, which includes Westfield San Francisco Centre, Westfield Valley Fair and Westfield Oakridge. Westfield Valley Fair’s reopened retail sales were up more than 50% year-over-year, Heil said this week.

Similarly, Concord’s Sunvalley Shopping Center has seen sales up for some retailers, thanks in part to an increase in the number of items purchased per transaction, a spokesperson for Taubman Centers, the mall’s owner, told Bisnow.

Courtesy of Pacific Retail Capital Partners
Pacific Retail Capital Partners Senior Vice President of Marketing Najla Kayyem speaking following the mall’s 2018 renovation.

Big tenants like AMC Theaters and 24 Hour Fitness are still not allowed to reopen in Santa Clara County, leading to a “lack of critical mass of retailers all opening at the same time,” Kayyem said.

Likewise, Bayfair Center in San Leandro has about 50% of its tenants still closed, though, like with Eastridge, most that are still closed are that way because of health guidelines, according to Lori Coleman, executive vice president at mall owner Madison Marquette.

While some mall sales are partially back, shoppers are getting different experiences than a normal trip to the mall would entail. State guidelines for shopping malls call for thorough and frequent cleaning of high-traffic areas, the closing of amenities like children’s play areas, limited seating options and other measures.

Many are meant to promote physical distancing, including the use of physical partitions and ample signage. Overall, malls must limit themselves to 50% occupancy, according to the latest guidelines.

At Sunvalley, available parking has been reduced to manage occupancy, and each tenant is also responsible for managing its own occupancy levels, according to Taubman Centers. The Concord mall owner said it is also planning on adding a vending machine where personal protective equipment like masks and sanitizer can be purchased.

URW has instituted similar measures and is selling customers masks and “no-touch tools” that enable customers to move about the mall while avoiding high-touch areas like door handles. Some sales proceeds are going to No Kid Hungry, a campaign run by nonprofit Share Our Strength.

As of this week, Westfield Valley Fair and Westfield Oakridge have nearly 80% of stores reopened, with San Francisco Centre at about 60% reopened, though Heil said new retailers are reopening each day.

“Shoppers are returning, and we’re excited to welcome them,” she said.

Read more HERE

Open Mic Night October Feature

Lysten is a hip hop artist from Sunnyvale California. “Music is my meditation.

I get to connect with others as they enjoy my sound,” he says. “I write what I see and how I feel. At most shows you will hear a freestyle about the moment we are all witnessing. You will feel and see the passion in my every move. There is no genre; hip hop connects all through me.” Love, Live, Learn, Lysten.

See Lysten live at Eastridge Center Friday, October 11th in the JCPenney Courtyard from 6-8p or follow him and his art on Instagram @Lystento

Open Mic Night August Feature

Derrick Sanderlin is a musician, writer and organizer from the Inland Empire. Surrounded by a diversity of sound, he grew up singing in convalescent homes, churches, and performing with local punk rock and metal bands. His first EP Ghetto blends  jazz, punk, folk, and R&B to communicate the complexity of his family, love life, and identity as a young black man in dominant culture. As current Artist in Residence at Forager, Derrick’s new series ˈäsəˌlāt (oscillate) attempts to open up sounds and conversations around  toxic masculinity, mental health, the power of story, and the art of resilience. He lives and loves in San Josè, and has been seen with bands Sine Wave, Rhythm & Folk, and singer/songwriter Noñameko. His music is available on all major platforms, and will be releasing new songs as a part of his series every month through October. 

See him live at Eastridge Center Friday, August 9th in the JCPenney Courtyard from 6-8p or follow him and his art on Instagram @derrick_andstuff

Open Mic Night July Feature

SevanKelee Boult (bka Lucky 7) is a well known Bay Area poet and performance artist.  This UC Berkeley graduate has a minor in Theatre Arts.  SevanKelee is continuously  redefining her poetry and performance. Hailing from East Palo Alto, CA and writing since childhood, her most recent artistic venture involves the ukulele and spoken word.  She effortlessly blends music and poetry to engage the audience with her soft, raspy voice and mesmerizing stage presence. Gracing such stages as The Palace of Fine Arts, Yerba Buena, De Young Museum , Brava Theater and The Marsh Theater(s) in San Francisco, CA.  Her poem Cucumber has been seen on HBO Real Sex since 2000. She has represented several Bay Area slam teams over the past 15 years. In 2014, she became the only person in the Bay to win the honored title Grand Slam Champion of 4 different Bay Area Slam teams (SF, Berkeley,Oakland and Palo Alto). SevanKelee’s poem Listening to Pain has been published in the 2017 Spring issue of Foglifter Journal. A  2017 QCC emerging artist, SevanKelee’s performances are full of excitement.

Make Music Day Featured Artist

From chill vibes to soaring notes of pain, Noop brings his intimate musical life to the stage. Journeying across America and the world has positively affected his purpose to share powerful emotions meant to counteract delusion. Often seen sporting flowers in his hair, this singer/songwriter is sure to surprise you with unique live performances tailored to each occasion.


See him LIVE at Make Music Day on Friday, June 21st 

Eastridge Center Court, 4-6p

San Jose Downtown Association is offering a $5 discount to all Make Music San Jose Participants for their June 21 Music in the Park event with the Delfonics.


The code is: MakeMusicDay

Interested? Here’s the link to get tickets.

Local San Jose Pop-Rock Band

Extra Credit! is a pop rock band from San Jose, California. The band’s lineup consists of of frontman and vocalist Ellis Marcel, guitarists Minh Shackelford and Paul Nguyen, and drummer Merl Suarez. Their debut EP ‘Chain Locked Heart’ was released worldwide on April 26, 2019 and currently has over 275 streams on Spotify. Their influences include Green Day, Paramore, Queen, Taylor Swift, and Marianas Trench.

See them LIVE at Music Music Day on Friday, June 21st

Eastridge Center Court, 4 – 6p

San Jose Downtown Association is offering a $5 discount to all Make Music San Jose participants for their June 21 Music in the Park event with the Delfonics.

The discount code is: MakeMusicDay

Interested? Here’s the link to get tickets. 

Pacific Retail Wins THREE MAXI AWARDS at ICSC 2019 Global Awards CEREMONY

LOS ANGELES, Ca. – (May 20, 2019) – Pacific Retail Capital Partners (PRCP) based in Los Angeles, CA was honored with several awards of distinction during the 2019 Global Awards sponsored by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). The ICSC Global Awards Program, held in Las Vegas at RECon, the world’s largest retail real estate convention, recognizes the retail real estate industry’s most innovative events, programs, and technologies that add value to shopping centers and companies across the country.

The shopping centers in the PRCP portfolio that utilized a myriad of resources to re-energize centers, drive traffic, increase sales and give back to their respective communities, and were recognized as a MAXI finalists include Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara, CA; Eastridge Center in San Jose, CA; The Shops at South Town in Sandy, UT; Galleria White Plains in White Plains, NY; Yorktown Center in Lombard, IL; and Northpark in Jackson, MS. “I have the distinct honor of collaborating with a talented group of people and companies to take Pacific Retail to the next level and create impressionable experiences for our guests, while continuing to push the envelope in the industry”, said Najla Kayyem, Senior Vice President of Marketing, who accepted the awards on behalf of PRCP.

Three Pacific Retail centers took home three MAXI awards – one gold and two silver awards – recognizing the properties’ programming as the best in class across all centers and companies in both the United States and Canada.

With the power of innovation, leadership, and teamwork, PRCP was the recipient of the following awards:

Gold MAXI Award in the category of Impact for shopping centers more than 500,001 square feet: Aloha Winter Rollerland – The Aloha Roller Rink was a staple of the San Jose, CA community from the 70s until 2014 when sadly, it shuttered. Eastridge Center, which was fully-renovated in 2018 and was once home to an ice rink through the 70s as well, is constantly evaluating experiences they can offer to the community. With a vacant Sports Chalet box and an approaching holiday 2018 season, they excitedly explored the idea of bringing the famed roller rink back as a holiday pop-up experience. The new Aloha Roller Rink opened at Eastridge with much success in November 2018 and – after an outstanding continued local response – will remain open for patrons to enjoy throughout 2019. Offering theme nights, free lessons, mommy and me events and more, this go-to destination offers the nostalgic community an updated classic while driving redevelopment awareness, center traffic, sales, and a healthy rent.


Silver MAXI Award in the category of Innovation for Shopping Centers more than 500,001 square feet: The Shops at South Town Murals – The Shops at South Town completed an interior renovation in 2017, however the exterior façade was left bare of improvements. With limited ownership funds, the team enacted a creative solution to involve their city council. Envisioning exterior blank walls as an opportunity to cultivate the arts, the team garnered the city’s partnership to fund a public art program. The $85,000 contribution began what is now an ongoing city-funded arts initiative. Activating walls with art created synergy between the center’s picturesque backdrop and the urban-meets-mountain renovation theme. Featuring three artists, the murals serve as a tangible touch point inspiring lasting community engagement.


Silver MAXI Award in the category of Revenue for Shopping Centers more than 500,001 square feet: Humana Partnership: Yorktown Center secured a multifaceted year-long partnership with national healthcare agency, Humana. The business development deal generated thousands of dollars in new revenue in 2018 totaling 30% of the business development budget. The partnership included onsite activations, advertising domination in Center Court, and sponsorship of the “Heart & Sole” center walking club. Humana activated Center Court with weekly events including fitness classes, seminars, health checks and games that added experiential value, traffic, and sales. The partnership proved extremely valuable to Humana who renewed the partnership for 2019.

“We are fortunate to not only have some of the most passionate and talented marketing people in the industry on our team, we also have an incredibly savvy group of investors who partner with us to execute these award-winning initiatives,” said Gary Karl, Chief Operating Officer for PRCP.


About Pacific Retail Capital Partners

Pacific Retail Capital Partners (PRCP) is one of the nation’s premier retail operating groups of large open-air centers and enclosed malls, with more than $1.8 billion in retail assets presently under management in the United States. Based in Southern California, PRCP provides end-to-end sourcing, assessment, underwriting, valuing, developing, and asset management of retail real estate with a proven track record of repositioning retail properties. PRCP strategically manages over 11 million square feet of regional malls and open-air lifestyle centers. The Executive team has over 150 years of collective real estate expertise with deep experience in leasing, marketing, operations, design, development, investment, and finance. With a keen focus on enhancing the value and quality of its growing portfolio, PRCP is dedicated to creating a unique, strategic vision for each property and exceeding the highest expectations of retail investors, retailers, and consumers. To learn more visit or follow us on social media at:

Facebook: pacificretailcapitalpartners

Instagram: @PacificRetail


About ICSC

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) is the world-wide trade association of the shopping center industry and serves the global retail real estate community. Their 70,000+ member network provides over 100 countries with invaluable resources, connections and industry insights, and work together to shape public policy. For more information about ICSC visit

Women Who Lead: You Are Collect;ve Co-Founder, Cherelle

Eastridge #WomenWhoLead Series


Co-Founder of You Are Collect;ve

Can you tell us a bit about your journey and how you began working at You Are Collective and with Eastridge?

You Are Collective was born at Panera Bread in 2019. Before it was called 13 You Are, a one-person project that started in 2017 and instilled in the power of words and reminders of why YOU ARE meant to be in this world. Approaching this year, I became one of the CoFounders, when a good friend of mine, Syzette and I were brainstorming this idea of a women’s conference in combination with the art of lettering and sharing awareness of Mental Health. As we sat at Panera, that was when 13 You Are became You Are Collective. Together, we partnered with Eastridge, because they believed in our vision and wanted to feature us as Artist of the Month for helping us share awareness of Mental Health through art.

Is there anything from You Are Collective we should be looking out for in 2019!

YES! With our partnership with Eastridge, we will be at the CosmeCon doing a mini hand lettering workshop and sharing the power in words instilling your Inner Beauty in the VIP Lounge on April 6th.

May 2019 is Mental Health Awareness month, we as You Are Collective, will be creating a “mini teaser” of what is to come in October. We are bringing our female conference + art of lettering + sharing awareness of mental health for all of May at Eastridge, this will be our soft opening. So be sure to check us out!


It is a gathering of females (girls + women) that aims to connect and create a space of belonging and awareness. This life-changing event will provide an experience annually, that will ignite hope, transformation and cultivate a deep sense of connection; through inspirational messages that is accompanied by Insta-worthy affirmations room, local art vendors, entertainment and creative & wellness workshops that are geared toward preventative measures of coping with Mental Illness. We want to inspire you through the art of hand lettering, finding your community, and the power in words.

Follow us for updates! Instagram @youarecollectve

How can the Eastridge community connect with You Are Collective in real life?

You can connect with us by our upcoming events we have in April and May! We love our partnership with Eastridge and are excited to be their first artist feature in May!

Come, you don’t want to miss out! We are creating a mini teaser before our Grand Event in October.

What inspired you to begin You Are Collective?

I had an interest in learning the art of hand lettering. I was inspired by Instagram, taught by my best friend, and eventually attended a workshop at my church. Being a stay at home mom, I suffered through identity, lack of community, and struggled with postpartum blues. I began to feel like something was missing. At this workshop, was when I found community and a place of belonging.

Everyday I would practice this new creative outlet of hand lettering, and practice words of affirmation and listen to encouraging messages to write. This is when I saw a shift in my mindset. I began to believe in the power of words and how they can build or break you. As I discovered more of this art, I started purposeful projects that reflect on words. One of the projects called 13 You Are.

In 2017, Netflix released a TV series titled 13 Reasons Why. This series revolves around a 17 year old high school student, Clay Jensen and his deceased friend, Hannah Baker. The bases of this storyline sparked a challenge in me to use my new found skill to create handwritten cards that inspired hope by giving friends, family, and strangers 13 Reasons why they mattered. Creating the #13reasonswhychallenge and shared it on my social media platform. In 2018, I wanted to be intentional in my projects and wanted to grow what I started the previous year. I relaunched 13 You Are with 13 different artists creating 13 cards and a clothing campaign to continue this vision. I started also teaching brush lettering where each student not only learns the basics of lettering but they are able to create a foundation of what it means to empower others and themselves with words.

Today, I wanted to be bold in my projects. I reached out to close friends and family casting this vision. As the vision manifested into plans, I revisited a partnership to create a passion project with Syzette, my other CoFounder, an original 13 You Are supporter, artist, leader and good friend. What once was a one person project became a team of four; where we rebranded 13 You Are to You Are Collective

What purpose do you wish You Are Collective to serve?

Our purpose is to create an ongoing event that transforms and empowers the lives of those in our community, locally and nationwide by bringing awareness of mental health through the art of lettering, community, and the power in words.

We believe that …

You Are Life-Changing, we want to share awareness for our mental health that when we create daily affirmations in our life, we begin to transform and believe the power of building our self-talk, confidence, love and worth. Then we create life-changing decisions, to grow for ourselves.

You Are Loved, we want you to build that love for yourself and learn to build it with others that are liked minded.

You Are Connected to Reason, we want you to feel connected through the words, the community, and know that there are reasons why you exist.

You Are Not Alone, we want you to tell your story and allow your words to create new perspective and connection with others. We want you to find sisters through a solid foundation of support, love, and hope through all your challenges and struggles you face; knowing that you are not alone.

“When I becomes we, (i)llness becomes (we)llness.” -Malcolm X

You Are Inspiring, we want you to feel inspired to give reminders to others of their value + worth to this world.

You Are Powerful, we want to create + empower a community of people who wants to stop the lies we tell ourselves, and the lies that others tell us, to start living life fueled by positivity + art of lettering + breaking the stigma.

Because of you … because of your story… YOU ARE the reason for You Are Collective.

What strengths do you find in working with a group of like-minded women?

Wow, there is SO much strength when you are working with a group of women who endlessly want to support and cheer for you. You feel motivated to be better. You create honest and authentic relationships. There is this African Proverb that I recently heard and have been loving, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. So, when we are together with like-minded women, we can go far. Whether it is in our careers and personal life. We see growth within ourselves that is powerful and when we allow ourselves to be aware of who we are surrounding ourselves with, we begin to see that we can’t do life alone and we must do it with positive like people to grow us further vs those who rather see you fall.


CONNECT with You Are Collect;ve on Instagram @youarecollectve or subscribe to their email list at for updates on their October Conference!


The Eastridge Women Who Lead is an 8-part series featuring the extraordinary women who are leaders in the East Side San Jose Community and pillars of Eastridge Community Programming. For more empowering content, including in-person workshops and speakers, join us for CosmeCon 2019 on April 6th. More information here. Love this story? Please consider sharing on social media or attending an event to support!

Women Who Lead: Aloha Roller Rink Owner, Liz Ruiz

Eastridge #WomenWhoLead Series

Liz Ruiz

Owner of Aloha Roller Rink

Can you tell us a bit about your journey with Aloha Roller Rink and with Eastridge?

When Eastridge management sent me an email requesting a meeting, they did not specify what the meeting was about. Well, my imagination went wild and I hoped they had a spot they wanted to open a skate rink in. I walked the whole mall and looked for spaces with skate potential and determined the old Sports Chalet building was the only contender. When I walked into the meeting, I found their intention was to just bring my mobile skate rental truck in for a one day pop up rink in the parking lot. But in that meeting we imagined how cool it would be to have a winter themed pop up rink for the 2 month holiday season. I assured them that I could make this vision a reality and that I knew just the spot in the mall for it. By the end of the meeting we had decided to scrap the one day event and pursue the 2 month pop up instead. Our temporary pop up went better than we ever expected and Eastridge offered us the opportunity to stay open in the Eastridge community for the rest of the year. I have been so thankful and blessed by the opportunity Eastridge has given Aloha and the community has really embraced the skate rink at Eastridge. 

What is your favorite thing about managing Aloha Roller Rink?

Aloha is in the business of fun so the work is pretty fun too! There is an energy at the rink that is contagious. Everybody is dancing and skating and smiling and having a blast. It’s one big party! And my favorite part is watching families come in and parents get to share with their kids something that they loved doing growing up. I love watching the kids fall in love with skating and beg their parents to come back week after week.

What inspired you to begin Aloha Roller Rink?

My quest when I started Aloha was to simply preserve roller skating for our community. Multiple roller rinks were shutting their doors and I recognized that if I didn’t do something, the next generation of children would miss out on the skating fun that was a staple in my own upbringing. As the rink I grew up skating in closed down, I took the steps to purchase their fleet of skates and begin this next chapter of skating in San Jose.

What are some of the hardest challenges you face in your business as a woman of color?

As a woman, I often get underestimated by men who do not know me. I hate when I’m asked if I need to check with my partner as if I’m not the one in this meeting capable of making the decision for my company. They are just so unfamiliar with a woman being in charge and seem to be looking for a man to double check with. Sometimes they will try to direct the conversation at my male assistant or any other male present other than me. I am much more likely to do business with a company whose rep talks to me and is acknowledging of my authority in my business. 

Favorite ways to stay fit and healthy?

My favorite way to stay fit is roller skating!! It burns 700 calories per hour!! It’s a blast!
CONNECT with Liz Ruiz and Aloha Roller Rink on Instagram @Lizapalooza + @AlohaRollerRink


The Eastridge Women Who Lead is an 8-part series featuring the extraordinary women who are leaders in the East Side San Jose Community and pillars of Eastridge Community Programming. For more empowering content, including in-person workshops and speakers, join us for CosmeCon 2019 on April 6th. More information here. Love this story? Please consider sharing on social media or attending an event to support!

Women Who Lead: So She Slays Founders, Chauncey & Heather

Eastridge #WomenWhoLead Series

Chauncey & Heather

Founders of So She Slays 


What inspired you to begin So She Slays?

We started So She Slays because we wanted to provide a platform for a diverse group of women who are driven to have a space that would help support and empower them from the inside out.  We are focusing on empowering women in all aspects of their lives. We want to provide a voice for all women to share their experiences when they feel like they do not have a view. That would have an authentic and real voice in the challenges that women, especially women of color face in today’s society.  We aspired to be your best friend that can continuously challenge you to always be on top of your game and hear you out without judgment. 

What are some of the hardest challenges you both face as women of color?

We started this blog to have a safe open space for minorities to have a voice of the everyday struggles that we face without being judged.  As a minority woman, I often find the hardest challenge is being taken seriously or having to continually prove that I’m just as good as any male counterpart if not better.   We understand the difficulties of being in a workplace when you are the only one that looks like you in your company.  We are often pre-judged to be a particular stereotype, and if we don’t fill that specific “stereotype,” we are known as being ‘acceptable.’   

What strengths do you find in working with a group of like-minded women?

I find that we are all better together, that each person has the things that they are amazing at. When surrounded by like-minded women there is indeed nothing that can’t be accomplished. I love that we can rely on each other without hesitation. I know that they will always have my back and will inspire me to reach for a higher goal that at one point I thought was unachievable. 

Favorite ways to stay fit and healthy?

With my busy schedule, it’s essential for me to stay active with working out to keep my stress and anxiety down. I’m super into F45 a cross-training program that I just fell in love with plus I love eating my fruits and veggies. 
Self-care is highly relevant to us. We often forget as women that we need to take care of ourselves and focus being mentally and physically healthy. Sunday self-care is essential in my life. I take Sundays as a day to refresh and recharge. I work out, clean and do my best to stay away from working and be constantly surround by technology. I want to go into the following week with a fresh perspective.  

Keep Slayin,

So She Slays Team
CONNECT with So She Slays on Instagram @SoSheSlays


The Eastridge Women Who Lead is an 8-part series featuring the extraordinary women who are leaders in the East Side San Jose Community and pillars of Eastridge Community Programming. For more empowering content, including in-person workshops and speakers, join us for CosmeCon 2019 on April 6th. More information here. Love this story? Please consider sharing on social media or attending an event to support!