Public Comment Open for Northgate Mall Redevelopment in San Rafael

Northgate Town Square Residential 4, rendering by Studio T SquareNorthgate Town Square Residential 4, rendering by Studio T Square

The City of San Rafael has published the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Northgate Mall redevelopment. This marks a significant step for the Marin County developer to move forward while receiving community feedback. If built, the plan would add over a thousand homes to the underperforming mall, though the document shares that construction could last over a decade.

Northgate Town Square aerial view, illustration by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square aerial view, illustration by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square map, illustration by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square map, illustration by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square Residential 1, rendering by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square Residential 1, rendering by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square Residential 3, rendering by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square Residential 3, rendering by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square Residential 4 street view, rendering by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square Residential 4 street view, rendering by Studio T Square

The Draft EIR states that construction could start as early as this year. However, this should be put in context. Almost every Draft EIR includes an optimistic statement about construction starting dates that are rarely met, in no small part due to how long the environmental review process can take.

Phase one will see the construction of 922 units and 44,380 square feet of retail between 19 and 32 months. At the end of phase one, the project will retail nearly half a million square feet of existing retail space. Work on phase two is anticipated to start four years after the completion of phase one and last around five years.

The full build-out of the Northgate Town Square will yield 1,422 homes across 1.75 million square feet, 217,520 square feet of commercial retail, and 328,000 square feet of landscaped open space. Across the site, 147 units will be designated as affordable.

Northgate Town Square Residential 6, rendering by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square Residential 6, rendering by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square townhomes in Residential 2 lot, rendering by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square townhomes in Residential 2 lot, rendering by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square site map, illustration by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square site map, illustration by Studio T Square

Apartment types will include 201 studios, 823 one-bedrooms, 324 two-bedrooms, 54 three-bedrooms, and 20 four-bedrooms. Parking will be included for 3,849 cars, of which 2,524 spaces will be for residents and 1,325 spots for retail. Bicycle parking will be included, but the exact amount is not specified.

Studio T Square is the residential architect, and Field Paoli Architects will oversee retail architecture. CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering is the civil engineer. Illustrations show the apartments will be podium-style structures wrapped around multi-story garages

Urban Arena will be the landscape architect. The center of the project will be the landscaped town square, a public park with a platform, dog run, and outdoor seating. The park will be surrounded by a cinema, shops, surface and garage parking. The developer says the project aims to create an “open-air ‘main street experience.’” The rest of the open space across the property will decorated with planters and trees around the surface parking. Residents will benefit from communal courtyards.

Merlone Geier Partners purchased the site in 2017 from Macerich Company. The mall’s biggest tenants include the Century Theater, Kohls, HomeGoods, a Restoration Hardware Outlet store, Rite Aid, and a Macy’s department store. The movie theater and Rite Aid are expected to remain through redevelopment. Current plans show that Macy’s will be demolished during phase two of construction and replaced with housing. However, given recent news that Macy’s will close 150 malls by 2026, the fate of their San Rafael location is uncertain as of the time of reporting.

Northgate Town Square area context, illustration by Studio T Square

Northgate Town Square area context, illustration by Studio T Square

Northgate Mall Redevelopment site map showing which buildings will be demolished (red and yellow) and which buildings will remain (blue), illustration by Merlone Geier Partners

Northgate Mall Redevelopment site map showing which buildings will be demolished (red and yellow) and which buildings will remain (blue), illustration by Merlone Geier Partners

The Draft EIR was published earlier this year, starting a deadline-driven period of public review that will result in the Final EIR being published in April and potential final approval by the city council as early as this June. For more information about how to view and comment on the Draft EIR, visit the city website here.

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13 Comments on "Public Comment Open for Northgate Mall Redevelopment in San Rafael"

  1. This would be amazing if it had any decent transit connection to cut down the number of cars. Half the space is still dedicated to cars. Oh well. Parcels of that size would be transformative in SF for thousands of people but this’ll work I guess, for this area. I expect this to be delayed for years due to classic Marin NIMBY opposition.

    • The anti car crowd is so filled with hate. Why you don’t see this for what it is, a huge win. The residence of this development will ultimately drive less because they will have shopping and entertainment within walking distance. A few might actual work within this micro village, but the majority still need a car to get to work, it’s in the suburbs in case you didn’t notice.

    • It’s directly served by 3 local bus lines and a commuter bus line into the city. Plus SMART is a short walk away. It doesn’t get any better than that in Marin.

  2. Love these shopping mall conversions to “live-work-play” villages. Still waiting for this to happen in NJ at Garden State Plaza (on a much bigger scale).

  3. Great development! This sort of thing is what has made Dallas and Austin more attractive(bc affordable) to young professionals.

    We need more of this across the bay and faster.

    • Exactly. While Austin has a ways to go, there are some pretty decent developments that combine housing and retail and dining. They’re isolated chunks of decent design in the midst of mostly typical Texas sprawl, but they command better prices than most of the traditional single-use developments.

  4. Wrong for terra linda disaster for long time residents traffic nightmare. Bringing undesirables to a small community

  5. It will fail in any way. Who will buy it and there are just no jobs in Marin.

  6. This is the kind of infill development that helps show how unnecessary (and unsustainable) the „California Forever“ land grab project is. Dense housing at this location is welcome and, from my perspective, less car parking would be welcome, too. For a suburban location, this site has good public transit that can easily be further improved as needed.

  7. This is an incredible redevelopment project for the Northgate mall! It’s a great location close to the 101 freeway, the Civic Center, and existing shops and restaurants in the area. The Northgate mall does not generate enough business and revenue to justify the acreage that is not used. We do not have enough housing and new development in Marin County to not use this space for residential housing and commercial businesses. For young professionals and people looking to settle in Marin County, this is an exciting opportunity for us and will bring life to the Terra Linda community.

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