Friday, September 29, 2006

1977 Stanford Shopping Center Remodeling Article

Here's another scan of an article that appeared in Architectural Record magazine, June 1977. It talks about the significant update of the center that was groundbreaking for the time: An open-air mall during a period of mall enclosures.

I love that one of the photos shows "The Company" store, which was similiar to a Spencer Gifts. I used to shop there in 1988. Unfortunately, it's gone now. At that time, the mall featured some independent and mid-market stores, much like a neighborhood center. They even had a Woolworth's. Now, though, it's strictly upscale with many fashion-forward stores as Valley Fair. However, in terms of mall architectural and atmosphere, Stanford Shopping Center is still reigns in the Bay Area.

Field Paoli Architects designed this remodel and their work can be found in other Bay Area malls, such as Stonestown Galleria and Alameda Towne Centre.


Read my guide to Stanford Shopping Center

Visit the current Website.

See the aerial view.

Visit the site of Field Paoli.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Westfield San Francisco Centre Now Open

The much anticipated expansion of Westfield San Francisco Centre opened this morning, complete with pomp and circumstance. The newly expanded mall features 1.5 million square feet of shopping on five floors. The second-largest Bloomingdale's makes its debut in San Francisco, joining the second-largest Nordstrom. In addition, many new retailers to the Bay Area will open in the mall, including Forth & Towne, Aldo Accessories, and The Art of Shaving.

I personally look forward to seeing the architecture of the interior, including the restoration of the dome. I also understand the original Art Deco escalators used by The Emporium will be meticulously restored and used on the lower level.

My visit last weekend showed the facade of the Market Street entrance looks new again; still retaining its original character. That Mission Street entrance is an ultra-modern swank glass wall with a giant Bloomingdale's sign. Look forward to pictures when I return with a camera!

The newspapers have reported absolutely no parking available anywhere near the new mall. Least until the crowds die down. For now, BART or MUNI is the way to go.

I'll get myself down there as soon as possible for photos to share with everyone.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mall Memories - Stoneridge Mall

Right out of 1985, here is a promotional picture of the center court in Stoneridge Mall, Pleasanton. Although the mall has not received a major remodel, you can still find many differences just in this area. For instance, Emporium-Capwell is now Macy’s Men’s, Home, and Children, the fountain was shut off, the large sitting pit was covered with a permanent stage, and the Information booth was moved next to the center stairs. Earlier, someone mentioned the light fixtures, since removed. You can see examples of the little blue lights in the photo. Too bad they are gone. Perhaps it was one of those things that couldn’t be replaced when vandalized.

It also appears as if the magnificent hanging sculpture is a little low. When I worked in this mall, I'd watch them raise and lower the sculpture as needed. Even more exciting was the way it swayed in a moderate earthquake. For the trivia buffs out there, a similar sculpture hangs in the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero 5. I know little of the artist and maybe one of you out there can help.

Although Stoneridge is over twenty years old, many of its architectural elements are timeless. White Terrazzo floors are always a good choice. Glass railings appear invisible and never grown old. Constantly-changing store fronts also add a fresh feeling.
Read my guide to Stoneridge Mall

Visit the current Website.

See the aerial view.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Story of Southland Mall Hayward

Here's a scan of the May 1965 edition of Architectural Record magazine. It featured Southland mall and its new concept, an enclosed mall with open store fronts. Finally, no more opening doors!

The best examples of retro styling are the oversized multi-light chandeliers in the Penney’s court. Sunvalley Mall in Concord had them, too, but not this size. I can specifically recall the aviaries being there in the late Seventies, but not sure exactly when they disappeared. The mall had a major remodel in 1985, so perhaps that is when they removed most of these things. I do know the food court under Penney's was added at that point. If I recall correctly, it replaced an ice rink. I know many of us have fond memories of Southland, especially being one of the original East Bay malls. Enjoy the article!

Visit the current Website.

See the aerial view.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mall Memories - NewPark Mall

Here's an early shot of NewPark Mall after it first opened. It's actually a scan of their promotional brochure that mall management sent to me in the mid to late Eighties. Notice the excessive use of brown tile? Very fitting for the era, but like most trends, they pass. I believe the original intent of brown was to make it look like a Eucalyptus forest. Probably because that’s what they demolished to make the mall. A fragment still remains outside the mall and is a popular Monarch Butterfly area.
If I remember correctly, the last major remodel saw the replacement of the brown tiles on the second level floor with white tiles. In addition, the railing was replaced with a clear glass one. A few minor things were also updated, but the lasting update is the Miami Vice glass elevator.
Last year, General Growth Properties (GGP), the mall’s owner and manager, promised an extensive remodel and expansion of a cinema. This year, though, they retracted their announcement. Mervyn's sold GGP their building, so that gives the mall some new options (and maybe some preferable ones) for an expansion. I'm sure we'll see a fresh remodeling soon, but nothing has been announced yet. I'm just wondering if Mervyn's will be closing?

Read my guide to NewPark Mall

Visit the current Website.

See the aerial view..

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Gottschalk's Closes Blackhawk Plaza Location

Funny how this place always slips my mind.
August 26 was the last day for Gottschalks at Blackhawk Plaza in Danville. A news story I read made it seem like they closed it because it was underperforming (Gottschalks isn't doing so well this quarter). However, when Draegers supermarket was announced mid-year, it was apparent that Blackhawk Plaza was forcing Gottschalks out. So, what is the truth? The new owners are mum to the question.

Nevertheless, it leaves the beleaguered Blackhawk Plaza (I love that word, beleaguered) with another failure in the department store arena. But hey, they will be getting an upscale supermarket (again!). Some people in the tony area have been quoted as saying they didn't need or want another upscale market. And by god, there is Safeway across the street, which ultimately forced out the original upscale market at The Plaza, Blackhawk Market (remember cell-phones on gold-plated shopping carts?).

An exclusive overheard conversation with one of the Draegers was quoted as defensively saying in response to a "does the area need another upscale market?" question, "Gottschalks should never have been there to begin with." As in, the area is hoity toity and so should the stores in Blackhawk Plaza. Last I checked, Gottschalks sold Ralph Lauren and Waterford crystal. Anyway, the future should tell.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Fiberglass Fabric Roofs - Bullock's San Jose and San Mateo

Nothing is more unusual than seeing a tent as a roof for a department store. Bullock's did just that. First, for their store at San Jose's Oakridge Mall. The single-level store was flooded with natural light using uber-cool space-age technology. Of course, the unusualness was a draw; everyone wanted to see inside. Later, Bullock's expanded the idea and built an even larger Fiberglass fabric roof on its new San Mateo store. Unlike the Oakridge store, the San Mateo store had freeway visibility. Thousands of commuters passed the "circus-tent" everyday. Regrettably, freeway access to San Mateo Fashion Island mall was terrible. Many of the commuters who wanted to stop and see inside just could not get there.
One significant downfall of a Fiberglass fabric roof was the heating and cooling. Cold temperatures soaked right through the tent and made the store unbearably cold. During summer, the opposite occurred. Hot stores were just uncomfortable.
The first picture is an ad in a Progressive Architecture magazine from 1981. It expounded the virtues of Fiberglass fabric roofs. The ad goes on to mention Bullock's was planning an even larger store using the concept. That, of course, we know is the San Mateo store. The second picture if an aerial view of the Bullock’s in San Mateo. If at anytime you passed this area off the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, you will certainly remember it.
Regrettably, neither of these architectural landmarks survived. Both stores met their fate with the wrecking ball.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mall Logos - Vintage Southland Mall

Another Bay Area old-timer, Southland Mall in Hayward has been around since 1964. This directory is in the style of a Taubman mall. Although the mall was developed by Taubman, I'm not sure if they owned it at the time. This directory comes from the late Eighties.

Mall Logos - Vintage Sunvalley Mall

One of my favorite logos, this one comes from Sunvalley Mall in Concord. It's circa late Eighties to Early Nineties. Taubman liked the simple logo design on their mall directories, although it lasted only a short time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Mall Logos - Vintage NewPark Mall

Here's another logo from a scanned mall directory. This time, it's NewPark Mall in Newark, CA. The directory I scanned it from dates from the late Eighties. It's before JC Penney joined the mall and the Target was still Emporium-Capwell.
The NewPark Mall logo consists of two three-leaved clovers. This logo is still visible in some locations around the mall (such as, parking signs).

Mall Memories - San Mateo Fashion Island

Rummaging through my mall directory collection, I found this vintage directory for San Mateo Fashion Island. Lasting barely a decade, this mall opened in the early Eighties with Bullock's, Liberty House, JC Penney, and Montgomery Ward as anchor tenants. It also featured a movie theatre and food court surrounding an elegant ice skating rink. The mall opened to great fanfare and was popular for a short time. However, both Bullock's and Liberty House nearly simultaneously shuttered their Northern California stores. They were locked into leases at Fashion Island, so both stores had their only Northern California location here. Each barely dropped a dime into advertising. Bullock's closed first and Liberty House nearly a year later.

This directory was printed between that time, about 1983-4, and features the hottest in Eighties fashions (including red nylons).

Eventually, the mall's vacancy rate skyrocketed. The Bullock's was built with a unique Teflon tent roof, which made it costly to heat and cool. No store wanted to take on such a liability. A sports store eventually moved in, but it failed shortly thereafter. The empty Liberty House once housed a Whole Earth Access store, which closed after the concept failed. Eventually, the mall was sold and renamed "The Island." It was to be rebranded as an entertainment destination since the theatre and ice rink both remained popular. Eventually, Montgomery Ward's fell into hard times and closed. Penney's, too, decided to close. The mall was torn down and replaced by a power center, Bridgepointe.
How I do remember the brown tile floors. I also remember the layout being confusing because you were constantly questioning which direction to walk. If you made the wrong turn, you ended up outside, the food court, or somewhere else. In addition to the failures of the anchor stores and the strength of San Mateo's other mall, Hillsdale Shopping Center, I think Fashion Island's layout was the nail in its coffin.

Mall Logos - Vintage Stoneridge Mall

This is the first in a series of posts that will showcase mall logos, both vintage and current.
This first logo comes from Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton. I scanned a mall directory from the Eighties. Taubman, the builder and original owner of the mall, consistently built malls with artistic qualities and shapes. Their logos are no exception.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Stoneridge Mall Renovation Flounders

The much-hyped renovation of Stoneridge Mall has fallen flat. According to the Pleasanton Weekly, permits haven't even been issued.

At fault is the Mills Corporation, the owner of Stoneridge Mall. They simply don't have the cash. They recently put the company up for sale, but no one wanted it. Other projects around the world and recent acquisitions have cost the company a fortune.

Renovation plans include a new 144,000 square foot Nordstrom, 900-car parking garage, and expanded mall and cinema in the old Nordstrom building.

However, construction has begun on the new Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang restaurants just outside Macy's Women. The parking lot is currently closed and detours in place.

According to Pleasanton Weekly, neither the Mills Corporation nor mall management would comment on the delays.

Read the full story.