A Castro Valley Patch Facebook post about a new business opening at Bay Fair Center got this response: "We don't go to Bay Fair because it's ghetto."
It surprised me a little. When I lived in Oakland in the late 1990s Bay Fair was our go-to shopping spot, mainly for Macy's, though I dined at the food court and bought music at a chain store there. I remember it was big news when the "modern" movie theater opened about 10 years ago, and I certainly never felt in danger there.
So this week we asked San Leandro Patch Facebook fans whether Bay Fair has gone downhill in recent years and how it compares to neighboring malls in Hayward or Pleasanton. We got more than 90 comments, with the vast majority of posters in agreement with their CV neighbors.
There were a few die-hard mall supporters but most said they only shop at the Big Box stores on the lot and rarely go inside or after dark.
Here are some of the best comments. Let us know what you think!
"I got held up in [the] parking lot for 20 bucks."
"One time, I went there to meet up with some friends at the mall, then go to the movies. And while I was waiting, four guys started fighting. Apparently rival gang-members. They threw chairs around and one had a knuckle brace that made another guy bleed a lot. Securities? Nowhere to be found."
"I would say unpleasant shopping experiences due to a lot of rowdy, disrespectful younger generation crowds, crazy drivers and parking lot issues. The areas near (the stores) are not the best and safest neighborhoods. But I would agree that Southland is worse. I choose Stoneridge over both malls unless I really have no time to make the drive to Pleasanton."
"The inside of the mall has nothing to offer. I am surprised Barons Jewelers stuck around as long as they did. I go to Target, Chili's, the movie theater and once in a while Kohl's and BB&B. The mall I remember going to as a child and hanging out many a time as a teenager is sadly no more. Times change, but you always hope for the better. Bayfair changed for the worse."
"The fact that it is gangster has nothing to do with it. The stores there don't have the same selection as Southland or the (Pleasanton) mall."
"Yes, It is ghetto and I only go to Target and the big boxes outside. The center is kind of scary and the mall inside is low-end and unpleasant, no reason to go or shop. STONERIDGE for MALL stores."
"Please. I am tired of this complaint. There are hundreds of us who enjoy shopping at Kohls, Macy's, Target, Staples, PetsMart, etc., and we are glad to have these shopping opportunities close by. Not too strangely, I don't run into any of the 'gangsta' types in any of those places, and the parking is great. What's not to like?"
"Stoneridge is a suburban mall. Durant Square is the ghetto mall (with some good deals). Bayfair is an urban mall and a lot better than what it used to be after Wards closed."
"I usually shop at Target or Kohls. The stores inside of the mall are not very interesting. I go inside once in a while to see what's new. My kids like to play in the kiddie play area on rainy days. I never had any problems whatsoever. But then, there is barely anybody in there when I walk thru. It is a bit of a dreary place."
"I live close and go there often. We were there a couple weekends ago waiting for our yummy food from Diggers, the new "diner," and I actually commented to my husband that it actually looks like a mall. All kinds of people, food court packed, kid area packed....I'd say Southland is more 'ghetto.' I didn't see ANY bangers like there used to be. It has really cleaned up."
What do you think? What sort of stores would bring you back to Bay Fair? Tell us in the comments below.