NEW BLOOMIES, MORE MALL SHOPS ... Stanford Shopping Center is expanding in a big way. But the total 1.3 million-square-footage of the center will not increase because the expansion will be done vertically, not horizontally. The most visible project is the demolition of the aging structure that currently houses Bloomingdale's. Plans call for Bloomingdale's to move into a slightly smaller, but taller, building, which is currently under construction in a portion of the parking lot facing El Camino Real. The store is planning to close for two days while it relocates into the new structure, retail sources said. The new Bloomingdale's expects to open Oct. 10. An additional 20 to 30 new shops and five new restaurants will go into the former Bloomingdale's site. That will bring the total number of shops in the mall to more than 160 stores. Also included in the renovation are increased pedestrian areas and gathering places. "This project will not only transform the Center's look and feel, but it will make Stanford Shopping Center an even greater part of the community...," Mall Manager Joshua Kalkhorst said. Meanwhile, the Nike Store will reopen in October. It closed for business on July 27 for renovation, said a source familiar with the construction. And there's a bit of a bee problem at the entrance to Macy's Men's store. A black and white sign in front of some thick shrubs next to the front doors warns shoppers, "Caution Bee Activity."
NEW RESTAURANTS FLOCK TO DOWNTOWN ... A trio of new restaurants in downtown Palo Alto are in various stages of construction. The first out the gate is expected to be Alkymists, a new fusion restaurant at 140 University Ave., which replaced Palo Alto Grill. The next space scheduled to open is Zola, local restaurateur Guillaume Biennaime's French restaurant. He has gutted the former location of the short-lived Roast Shop at 565 Bryant St. to open his new venture. And Sushirrito is taking over the long and narrow 1,300 square-foot-space at 448 University Ave., which formerly belonged to a string of restaurants -- the most recent was Sabrosa Taqueria. Other previous tenants were Hyderabad House and Thyme to Eat. Known for its sushi burritos in multiple San Francisco locations, Sushirrito is tentatively looking at a fall opening in Palo Alto.
GAME OVER FOR RACKET STRINGER ... It's the end of an era for what could be the tiniest space ever for a business in Palo Alto. Racket Web is calling it quits next month. Owner John Mundorff, whose only job was stringing rackets, has worked out of the 200-square-foot-space for 37 years. "I'm old and tired. My thumbs are sore from doing this for so long," he said. Mundorff's shop at 533 Ramona St., was carved out of a portion of Nola's restaurant. "I was in a spot through an open courtyard, past the hostess station of Nola's. I imagine the restaurant will just take over the space once I leave," he said. Mundorff was quick to point out his retirement is not due to greedy landlords, a scenario that has been played out again and again in Palo Alto. "I've had minimal rent increases that were spread over time. I was treated like family. Everybody's been wonderful to me," he said.
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