Monday, May 22, 2006

Vintage Eastridge Mall with Liberty House

Wow, remember Liberty House and Joseph Magnin?

The back of the card reads "Stores on all three levels can be seen at the same time at the handsome 150-store shopping complex in San Jose. Carpeted ramps and rest areas, escalators, natural light, modern sculpturing, enhance the West Coast's largest and finest regional shopping center."

The date is unknown, but Liberty House closed its California stores in 1984. At this mall, it was replaced by Emporium*Capwell. Once they closed, the pad remained vacant for some time. Eventually, anchor building was knocked down in 2005 to make room for a remodel.

Read my Guide to Eastridge mall
Visit the current Website.


Steven Swain said...

That has to be the first time I ever saw a Liberty House mall entrance, and the Joseph Magnin is a definate bonus. Great blog.

dean said...

I remember that this Liberty House was very similar to the one built at Southland. They both had an escalator atrium which featured glass "elevator" clothing displays. The elevators continuously traveled up and down cables. I think there were four of them. It was a kind of a bizarre display but always cool to look at for young kids boored with shopping.

This picture features many of the characteristics of Taubman malls that made them so unique from other developers, (and so much the same with each other): the angular shape of the soffits, the sloped curbs, sunken seating pits, modern art sculptures, and cool floor standing light fixtures. The Eastridge fixtures were chrome tubes with small lights lined up on one side of them.

BIGMallrat said...

Funmy you should mention Southland. Both stores had the same exterior architecture. You could tell they were built about the same time.

hushpuppy said...

Yes, Liberty House came to 'conquer' (hahahahaha) Northern California in 1971 (Eastridge) and 1972 (Southland) and Sunrise (Sacramento). All three stores featured the 'elevator mannequins' mentioned by dean. The stores were beautiful and innovative, creating favorable articles in the newspapers and television. As part of showing everyone how things were going to be different, Amfac, the parent company, even held the grand openings on Sundays, back in an era when Sunday shopping was still brand new.

I don't know what the idiots back at Amfac corporate headquarters in Honolulu were smoking, but nobody bothered to pull out a map and look at Northern California and come to the obvious conclusion that opening 3 stores in 3 different markets would require three different sets of newspaper buys, not to mention servicing three different types of customers. Then they opened a store in downtown San Francisco, adding another market to contend with.

And just to make sure they had no chance for success, Amfac then folded the plain-Jane Rhodes chain into Liberty House creating mishmash of old and new, upscale and down-market, large and small stores spread out from Tacoma to El Paso. They struggled and grappled with this mess, spinning off stores and divisions for the better part of a decade until calling it quits in 1984 (although they would continue to operate the San Mateo Fashion Island store until 1987).

Actually, as beautiful as it was, and as much positive buzz it created, the Eastridge store was a loser from the beginning and was sold to the Emporium in 1978.