HERCULES -- The new developer for Market Hall will host another community meeting March 19 to discuss the future of the site.

The 6.62-acre property, bounded by Sycamore Avenue, San Pablo Avenue, Interstate 80 and an onramp to the freeway, last served as a temporary and unsuccessful outdoor food court with shops, and was supposed to become Phase I of a planned mixed-use Hercules New Town Center.

Palo Alto-based McNellis Partners bought the property in late 2012 from Kennedy Funding of New Jersey, holder of a $2.5 million mortgage from the former developer, Newport Beach-based The Red Barn Co.

The now-defunct Hercules Redevelopment Agency had handed the property to Red Barn in 2009 for no money. In exchange, Red Barn had pledged a share of future proceeds and to develop the property to a density of at least 300,000 square feet, including 50,000 square feet of commercial space.

John McNellis, a principal with the new developer, has characterized Market Hall as "a brilliant retail location" and ruled out residential uses there as unsuitable so close to a freeway. He also has said there would be no market for offices at the site.

At an earlier community meeting, on Jan. 12, McNellis said he envisioned a single-story retail complex with surface parking, possibly anchored by a drugstore, with a restaurant such as Applebee's, Buffalo Wild Wings or IHOP.


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He also said Market Hall could be an alternative site for a Safeway if the grocery giant's plans for a store kitty-corner at Sycamore Crossing fall through. But City Manager Steve Duran said Safeway's mind is set on Sycamore Crossing.

Some residents have accused McNellis of being dismissive of the community's New Urbanist, pedestrian-, bicycle- and transit-friendly vision for the site, while others have said his plan is realistic and have urged a rethinking of the city's Central Hercules Plan.

The March 19 community meeting will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the conference room of the Hercules Library, 109 Civic Drive.

Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760 or tlochner@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at twitter.com/tomlochner

IF YOU GO
What: Community meeting with developer
When: 7 to 8:30 p.m. March 19
Where: Hercules Library conference room, 109 Civic Drive, Hercules