Lost Worlds would be the sole occupant of the Daughtrey building, occupying about 25,000 square feet on the first floor and most of the basement, according to David Greensfelder, the developer for the county-owned building, The building’s second floor mezzanine would not be developed.
The Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) between Greensfelder and Alameda County “allows for up to 25,102 square feet of the building to be used (it has 39,649), and a minimum of 10,000 square feet must be on the ground floor,” according to Eileen Dalton, Director of the Economic & Civic Development Department for Alameda County. “This limitation is based on the parking requirements of the shared parking lot.”
As a result of the DDA and the parking requirements, only about 63 percent of the available space in the Daughtrey’s building will be developed.
Greensfelder said he looked for a large anchor to transform the long-abandoned department store.”A lot of different users have looked at it,” he said, including national retailers, like Big 5 Sporting Goods, Grocery Outlet, Guitar Center. Walgreen’s considered relocating its Castro Valley store to the site, and Target considered its small footprint TargetExpress concept for the site as well, Greensfelder said.
In the end, “all of those retailers turned it down for facilities reasons, or for real estate reasons,” Greensfelder said, and it was Livermore-based “Lost World Adventures” family entertainment center he thought would be the best match for the building at 3295 Castro Valley Boulevard, built in 1965.
“We let parents and children play together,” Diane Peterson, founder of Lost Worlds Adventures, said, “We wanted to do something different. We’re in an age where everything this about your cellphone and social media. Let’s make this about family time.”
“It was so unique,” Peterson said, describing her first impression of the inside of the Daughtrey’s building. “That vision came to mind” about what she and her husband could do at their second Lost Worlds location.
Peterson’s plans include an indoor play structure, mini bowling, laser tag, a “Ninja warrior track” and a cafe. All of the activities are meant to be family activities, not just for kids. She estimates that Lost Worlds would have about 60 employees, most of them part-time jobs to high school and college students. In deference to Castro Valley’s Golfland, Peterson is not planning an indoor mini golf, unlike her Livermore location. Greensfelder has promised a complete overhaul of the building.
“I like independent retailers,” Greensfelder said. “Communities are getting run over by chains. To be able to bring a quality retailer into a community where there is a demand, where there is clearly cross-shopping, and you get to activate this blighted site, is a good story.”
The building’s design also limits how it can be developed.
Greensfelder said that the building “is a difficult building to split” for multiple retailers. To divide the space, you have to do so it parallel to Castro Valley Boulevard, leaving a retailer with a non-street facing entrance, he said. Additionally,” there are more retailers looking in the 10,000 square feet and less range. And for this site, no one in the 5,000 – 6,000 square foot range expressed interest,” he said. When developing a site, Greensfelder said, “You lease to the big tenant first.” And with Lost Worlds, he found a tenant that will take up most of his available leasable space.