The planning commission voted 5-0 to approve façade plans submitted by Sports Authority representatives to make minor changes to the building at 3150 Naglee Road. Sports Authority will replace Barnes & Noble Booksellers, which closes Dec. 31, according to store officials.
The two main changes are resurfacing the main western entry with rust orange stucco and paneling and expanding the existing loading dock on the southeast corner of the building to accommodate larger delivery trucks, according to Victoria Lombardo, senior planner for the city of Tracy.
Lombardo told the commissioners Wednesday that the changes meet city design goals and standards and that the city staff recommended approving them.
Commissioner Joseph Orcutt motioned to approve the plan, which was seconded by Commissioner Rhodesia Ransom before the board voted unanimously in favor.
Before the vote, a couple of the commissioners expressed concerns about the plans, but no one representing Sports Authority had attended the meeting.
“I’m surprised the applicant isn’t here,” Commissioner Alfred Johnson said, noting that he was uncertain about the loading dock.
A similar concern was expressed by Orcutt.
Lombardo reminded the board that JCPenney trucks deliver in the same area, and they have done so without incident. She also said deliveries would likely be made in the hours before the mall opens, which is the procedure followed by other mall stores.
Ransom asked Lombardo when Sports Authority officials planned to start construction, and she said the date hasn’t been disclosed, but it would likely be shortly after Barnes & Noble closed its doors.
At the conclusion of Wednesday’s meeting, commission chairwoman Jass Sangha said she would have preferred to keep Barnes & Noble in the West Valley Mall, but she said she would still welcome the sporting goods business to Tracy.
She was not pleased that Sports Authority didn’t send a spokesman to the meeting.
“I’m a little surprised they didn’t have representatives (at the meeting),” Sangha said. “Getting answers straight from the source is the best way to get answers. We know the outside; I want to know what the inside looks like.”
The next step in the Sports Authority application process is seeking approval of the façade plans from the Tracy City Council, Sangha said.
Barnes & Noble opened in Tracy in 2002. According to a corporate official, plans are underway to close the Tracy store on Dec. 31, which was confirmed by an employee at the store on Wednesday.
When asked if city officials anticipated the sporting goods store to produce tax revenue similar to the bookstore, city Finance Director Jenny Haruyama said Barnes & Noble was among the top 100 tax revenue producers for Tracy, and she anticipated the same success for the Sports Authority.
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