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April 25, 2006 > The Globe - the world at your fingertips

The Globe - the world at your fingertips

A new themed shopping center is under construction in Fremont on Stevenson Boulevard west of Interstate 880. Phase One of "The Globe" is scheduled to open by the end of 2007. TCV asked Joseph Nugyen, Director of Acquisitions and Sales for Imperial Investment and Development about the project.

TCV: What is "The Globe" concept?

Nugyen: It will be an internationally themed retail lifestyle center. We want to create a working, functional retail center. The architecture will be modern with cultural touches from around the world. Saigon Village is the first phase that is currently under construction. There will be additional villages representing India, Europe, the Asian Pacific Islands, China, Japan and Korea. We have conceptual renderings and are currently working on construction documents to submit to the city. About 90 percent of the development has been determined at this time.

TCV: How will this development be phased?

Nugyen: We broke ground on Saigon Village in September. The weather has not been too cooperative, but we are moving as fast as we can. Saigon Village and Pacifica Village are the two that will be located from the corner of Albrae Street along Stevenson Boulevard. The Pep Boys Building will be the Pacifica Village. We are hoping to finish the first phase by the end of 2007.

TCV: What will be in each village?

Nugyen: There will be a mixture of restaurants and retail in the complex. We are also planning a "restaurant row" that will be next to an art house theater. This will be a small, two or three-screen theater that will show foreign films and independent movies similar to CineArt-6 Theatres at Santana Row.

TCV: Will each village be approximately the same size?

Nugyen: There will be some variation between villages. We are keeping the old Home Depot building which is a large footprint. The Indian Village and European Village will have two-story elements to them.

TCV: Will there be a residential component to this development?

Nugyen: It will be strictly retail. We want a combination of local, "mom and pop" stores as well as national names.

TCV: Have you done any development like this before?

Nugyen: No one has done anything like this before. This is a new concept - at least in the United States and probably in the world. We know that consumers want a shopping experience, possibly spending a whole day at a shopping complex. We are taking that desire to the next level. We have been talking with some of the restaurants that are on Santana Row and plan on a lot of patio dining especially along our Restaurant Row. We want to create a nice, sophisticated environment.

TCV: How large will The Globe be when finished?

Nugyen: Total acreage is a little over 47 acres.

TCV: How will each village be distinguished from the others?

Nugyen: We have worked very hard with our architects and landscape architects to help consumers recognize when they move between villages. We will add cultural elements in lighting, trees, plants and smells that give clues to a specific part of the world.

TCV: Will there be a central core to the complex?

Nugyen: Yes. It is called the "Heart," a fusion area with a plaza element with a water feature and a stage; lots of room for community events. We want to include year round programming including fashion shows, food exhibitions and things of that nature.

TCV: How will you facilitate the flow of pedestrian traffic through this complex?

Nugyen: We have designed The Globe with pedestrian experts so even though this is a large area, people will be able to move through it with ease. We tried to centralize the villages as much as possible and have parking near each village. It will be a trek to go from one end to the other, but hopefully there will be plenty of places to stop, browse and rest along the way.

TCV: Where did this idea come from?

Nugyen: We have done a lot of pure ethnic centers in the past. There is always the desire for a bridge between national and ethnic tenants. We are trying to provide this link, to create a place where everyone of any culture or ethnic background can feel comfortable.

TCV: This must be a tremendously expensive project.

Nugyen: For a project like this, we want to do everything right. If that means spending extra money, we will do it. We want to make sure it will be successful and believe strongly in the concept. We think it will work, but it will only work if we invest the money to make sure it will come out the way we want it to. There is a lot of interest in the project and we are being very selective to make sure that our tenants are of high quality and meet the concept.

TCV: Why did you decide to locate this development in Fremont?

Nugyen: Fremont, Milpitas and the whole Tri-City area is an interesting and central location for the Bay Area. The demographics are great with a blend of ethnicity and a good income base. We see the need for this type of development in the area. A lot of people end up going to San Francisco, Santana Row and other locations for shopping opportunities. We want to retain these shoppers and attract others from the Greater Bay Area.

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