New mall brings new jobs to Livermore


The Paragon Outlets Mall has been a beacon of hope, even in Livermore, where unemployment rate is about half that for the rest of California's 10.2 percent.

No one ever said lowering the unemployment rate would be easy. It's downright hard work figuratively, and also physically.

Terin O'Callaghan and Kareem Edwards helped race the clock to open an Asics outlet -- one of 130 new stores that debut Thursday with Livermore's new shopping center. With it comes about 2,000 new retail jobs, an economic boom to residents and a city.

"Four years ago our revenues dropped 40 percent, took a $16 million hit, so that was a drop in property tax and sales tax; the mall will bump up out sales tax," Livermore Mayor John Marchand said.

For Marchand, this is the difference a couple of months can make. The fulfillment of a promise made at job fairs last summer. Thousands of people came looking for work from the new mall. Now, standing in those long lines have begun to pay off.

Kristen Griego found work with the mall operator as an executive assistant. She had been out of work for more than two months after a lay-off. That worry is gone.

"I see this humongous mall going up with these amazing stores and people are going shopping; that, to me, is a sign of hope," she said.

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