Today, Ellis Partners LLC, a San Francisco-based developer specializing in renovations of historic retail and commercial properties, unveiled a series of dramatic improvements it will make to its landmark Town & Country Village. The $20 million dollar renovation will include new common areas, structural upgrades, new lighting, signage, as well as improved public areas and access. Ellis Partners expects to formally break ground in August.
"We are putting our hearts, souls and wallets into this renovation," said Jim Ellis, Principal of Ellis Partners LLC. "We're re-making a landmark center and community treasure. When we are finished, Town & Country will provide a unique shopping experience blending daily and specialty needs in a setting that is inviting and communal with an aesthetic and feel that is respectful of the original town and country concept that was conceived by the previous owner and developer in 1950."
With the help of Palo Alto local, Steve Liebes, Ellis Partners purchased the fading but adored retail center in October 2004. Smaller rehabilitation projects have already begun on the property but the largest phase of construction will begin in the next few weeks. Much of the construction is expected to be completed before the launch of the 2006 holiday season.
Perhaps the most visible changes to take place this fall will be at the perimeter areas of the site. These include an addition of nearly 15,000 square feet of new landscaping, including planting of over 50 new trees and rehabilitation of heritage oaks that are sprinkled throughout the property. In addition, there will be dramatic improvements to the pedestrian experience including the creation of intimate outdoor gathering and seating areas, kiosks, stacked stone seat walls and brick crosswalks. Other improvements include new outdoor lighting, monument signage and parking areas. Hayes Group of Palo Alto is working with Ellis Partners as project architect.
"We have a commitment to the community and our retailers alike. We're improving not only the shopping experience and the physical property, but also providing shop owners with a high level of professional support, including an onsite property manager which is unique for a property this size," said Ellis.
As the Town & Country Village is renovated, Ellis Partners LLC will also reconfigure new office spaces for lease at second floor areas. In two of the existing buildings on the property, office spaces will be finished out and ready for immediate occupancy, ranging in size from 600 to 2,500 square feet. These retrospective yet new office areas will feature new entry areas, bathrooms, glass walled offices and open redwood beam ceilings.
Ellis Partners also announced that they have retained Palo Alto native, Amanda Tevis of Intrinsic Ventures, as their leasing broker. Ms. Tevis was selected for her proven Bay Area retail leasing experience as well as her first hand experience as a life-long shopper at the center. "Everyone has a Town & Country story," said Amanda. "It's where we find the ingredients for the special recipe we are making -- or where we find that treasured piece of clothing or jewelry. We want Town & Country to remain an essential part of the Palo Alto experience -- filled with great shops that are community-friendly and as an important resource for us all," she added.
Though less visible to tenants and their customers -- but of no less importance -- Ellis Partners LLC is focusing nearly half of the project cost on improvements to the building infrastructure. This effort will result in seismic upgrades, roof replacements, and the addition of fire sprinklers and installation of an entirely new electrical, telecommunications, and heating and air conditioning system to improve the safety, comfort and productivity for all who work at and visit Town & Country Village.
About Ellis Partners:
Ellis Partners LLC was founded in 1993 for the purpose of acquiring and developing commercial real estate properties. The firm has a long history of championing and completing architecturally significant renovation projects.
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