Monday, October 05, 2009
Westfield Downtown Plaza - Sacramento
Nothing breeds retail controversy more than Sacramento's Westfield Downtown Plaza.
This large superregional center, smack in downtown Sacramento, was once a shining beacon. However, times have changed and this mall has not. Sacramento and Westfield has been fighting for years to get this center redeveloped. Everyone has an idea of what they want, but no one can agree.
Once this mall hosted a number of flagship stores for the region. The area's largest Macy's is here, complete with its own Men's and Furniture location. Yet, stores have begun to shut down. Even Banana Republic left. Much of the eastern side of the mall is devoid of any stores. However, the western side is still bustling.
The architecture of this mall seems to be a hindrance. Sightlines are obscured by large columns. With the contrast between bright sunlight and dark overhangs, its nearly impossible to see the stores from a distance.
With Sacramento's scalding long summers, I could easily support enclosing this mall. In fact, a portion of this mall is enclosed. A long corridor south of the Rotunda court is enclosed. However, it may not have been touched since the 80s. Oddly enough, it has a second floor which used to contain stores, but it is no longer accessible. An enclosed corridor north of the Rotunda court, pictured above, now is a credit union and no longer holds retail stores. Note the fancy woodwork on the ceiling.
Baffling enough, I don't know if this mall strives to be a festival center, much like Pier 39 in San Francisco, or a regional fashion center. Looking around, not many people live Downtown.
I'm not sure what to think of Downtown Plaza. Once it finds its identify and redevelops, I think this mall can be a star of retail players.
See the current aerial view.