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A man in a yellow knit cap, gray jacket, with the strap of a bag crosswise across his body smiles broadly in glasses, gray beard, outside, under a street lamp in the dark.

We asked people in Richmond: What should replace the Hilltop Mall?

on January 8, 2024

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity.

Q: What would you like to see at the Hilltop Mall site?

“Having been part of when that mall first opened, and knowing that a lot of people don’t go to malls anymore because it is too hard to compete with online shopping, having more community outreach programs like services for the surrounding area would be really vital. Having a food bank or having a preschool program, senior care would be great.”  (Stephen Egawa, preschool teacher, pictured above)

Two women stand side by side, the one on the left in a denim jacket and black pants, the one on the right in a lavender fleece and black pants, their arms around each other.
Dulce Galicia (left) and Maria Lemus

“I would like to see the hilltop area have townhouses because families are saying, ‘Yeah, apartments are great, but they don’t fit the need of our housing size.’”

(Dulce Galicia, North Richmond municipal advisory council member)

“I would like to see a place for gatherings, maybe like a park, maybe a place where in the afternoon there’s some music playing where, you know, families and anyone within Richmond… could come together.”

(Maria Lemus)

“It’s the perfect opportunity to create a multi-income village to support the several charter schools in the area.” (Richard Mitchell, retired Richmond planning director)

An older man in a gray mustache, gray old-fashioned cap and a black sweater over a collared shirt stands outside in front of a small hill, a gray car to his right.
A woman in a black bun and black dress with a pattern that is hidden under her folded arms smiles in front of a stone building with the address 146 Washington

“A great place for a hospital. There’s a lot of health care disparities in this area. A different system might open up health care delivery to people here.” (Joanne Leibe, general surgeon)

“There’s not a lot going on there. The stores I remember going to, they are all gone. Finding out what the community wants, would be good. Having spaces that welcome people to spend their time there, a space to comfortably sit with friends. For me, growing up, malls were geared toward younger people, so finding ways to get their attention a little more would be important.” (Emma Sparks, bookstore worker)

A woman in a white hoodie and a white knit cap with flecks of color smiles outside in front of a white pillar with a glass of water on a table in front of her.
A woman stands on a grassy patch in a black jacket and gray sweatpants with her right hand on on the collar of her big black dog.

“It would be nice to have somewhere we can all go enjoy on weekends, because that’s what we used to do. I’ve lived out in Richmond since I was 9. I remember on weekends I would go to Hilltop Mall where you would see everybody. So that was nice.” (Chris Divine Pagatpatan)


  1. Gabby on January 8, 2024 at 10:39 am

    All these ideas are great, but I definitely lean towards the park idea or anything that helps bring the community together. How about Discovery center for the children. I can also imagine a Zen center to the likes of the Japanese gardens in SF. An area to look out into the Bay if there are views up there for that.

  2. LISA DAVIS on January 8, 2024 at 2:11 pm

    We need medical options in this area so please reach out to Sutter as well as UCSF for possible options.
    It would be nice to have a nice restaurant in RICHMOND that would also provide meeting space such as an embassy suite.
    We need a nice place where once would be able to have functions such as a wedding, repast, as well as conference space.
    We need a nice grocery store; Maybe Walmart neighborhood market would come since Walmart is there. Other options of course would be Raley’s.
    I’d love to see a family friendly recreation such as a skating rink indoor type.

  3. Valerie on January 8, 2024 at 3:07 pm

    Hilltop needs more Jobs and Housing. Maybe a Day Care Center added. Hilltop needs to stay in the Financial Business World of New High Tech Jobs. Make Walmart a Super Walmart Center with an open grocery store and clothes a place to shop under one roof.

    Thank you

  4. JASIKA JACKSON on January 9, 2024 at 10:18 am

    We need a really nice restaurant in Richmond. Like the Veranda in concord,CA. I have lived in Richmond all my life. Seeing hilltop mall go downhill like that hurts my heart. A strip mall would be nice with high end stores.

  5. arto rinteela on January 9, 2024 at 11:32 pm

    You should have considered talking to the Neighborhood Councils here in the Hilltop area of Richmond. Missed opportunity. For years now we have met the developer every month and have met with the City Planning Department monthly as well. The developer is scheduled to meet with the City Planning Department tomorrow. The City Council must vote to pass the project or will NOT happen! See Hilltop Horizon Site Specific Plan on City Website for more information on Hilltop.

  6. Chris on February 4, 2024 at 4:38 am

    I think a full-service hospital is tremendously good idea. Near a major highway, close to the exit. Isolated enough for a helipad. Has the infrastructure of a nearby hotel, food, and slight entertainment etc. Let’s try to make this happen. It will increase the community with real career jobs and tax revenue.

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