Cat fight brewing between mall projects in Walnut Creek and San Ramon

Things are getting ugly between developers in Walnut Creek and San Ramon over building up–or, in San Ramon’s case, creating entirely–their downtown retail districts.

The Contra Costa Times Political Editor Lisa Vorderbrueggen has a fun column today about mall wars heating up between individuals, some named and some shadowy, over the future of major projects in both towns. In Walnut Creek’s case, the future of the proposed Neiman Marcus is at stake. In San Ramon’s, it is that downtown-less suburb’s much vaunted City Center project.

As you might recall, a secret financier sponsored a ballot referendum late last year that called for the city to repeal its approval for a three-story, no-new-parking-added Neiman Marcus in Walnut Creek’s Broadway Plaza. The company that owns Broadway Plaza, no doubt hoping to avoid a lawsuit and a citywide referendum, subsequently offering up a scaled-down, redesigned version of the luxury department store.

Meanwhile, in the city to the south, several figures are mounting legal challenges to San Ramon’s City Center project. The San Ramon Tribune, a web site with a mystery publisher, has also published highly critical articles about the project.

Anyway, as Vorderbrueggen points, out, Walnut Creek city leaders and developers suspect San Ramon developers of trying to undermine their project–and San Ramon city leaders and developers suspect vice versa.

And what we’ve got is a mall war–or let’s call it a cat fight. Visions of Linda Evans and Joan Collins duking it out in a swimming pool in the 1980s TV show Dynasty keep popping into my head. But, the big question is, in the battle between Walnut Creek and San Ramon, which city gets to identify with the saintly trophy wife Krystle, played by blond Linda Evans, and which city gets to indentify with the scheming femme fatale, Alexis, embodied by Joan Collins?

Read Vorderbrueggen’s column and see what you think.

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