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Out with the Oak, in with the new: Proposed Oaks’ transformation a blessing
February 21, 2017
Cupertino’s 40-year-old Oaks Shopping Center has plans to undergo a completely new renovation which includes a hotel, retail locations, housing and more.
Having seen this small bundle of everything from restaurants to martial arts centers, such a transformation seems unsettling if not unfathomable, especially since it has become somewhat of an across-the-street second home for us De Anza students. Change is not always good, but this extreme evolution of the Oaks should be welcomed optimistically.
Currently, this hub is home to BlueLight Cinemas, Dance Academy USA, and some restaurants, like Quickly, Coffee Society, and Hobees.
The real prized package was always the plaza’s bookstore, where De Anza students could buy and rent books for unbelievably reduced prices. Then one day, the famed bookstore disappeared into a questionable abyss. To me and many others, the death of the bookstore signaled the death of Oaks. Convenience gone — I found myself driving down Stevens Creek to shop and eat at more refined plazas featuring less forgettable cuisine.
Photo Credit: Rachel Shin
Now owned by KT Urban, the center’s transformative platform aims to provide an inclusive environment capable of improving all lives. According to the “New Oaks” website, they will install a new hotel, popular retail locations, residential and senior housing, and new pedestrian walkways and bike paths. Other benefits of this project include $2.5 million in annual new tax revenue and $13 million in impact fees for the city and local school districts.
Despite KT Urban’s promising beautification, major discrepancies indicate that this vision is in its pre-natal if not embryonic stages. The technical glitches in its initiative process have caused the project to be delayed until the city’s nuanced stipulations are met.
If the New Oaks shopping center project moves forward, there will be numerous opportunities for new jobs openings for De Anza students, many of whom are working class and constantly in need of work close to campus. KT Urban’s plan accounts for the already existing and significant senior community in the area, and traffic congestion will lessen with reconstruction of road paths. A new transformative Oaks will no doubt make use of all the vacant storefronts and overall provide a refreshing and bright new future for the city of Cupertino.