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.


Anonymous said...

That's the first and only Emporium Capwell mall entrance I've ever seen. Very nice.

Georob said...

That Stoneridge store was the first new one to have the full "Emporium-Capwell" signs. At the same time, the former Capwells stores changed their signs to "Emporium-Capwell".

However, (and someone correct me if I'm wrong) the old EMPORIUM stores never changed their signs to "Emporium-Capwell". Interior signage, bags, badges, and window decals were changed, but exterior neon signs did not.

I've always wondered if this was due to budget constraints, or because the intent all along was to eventually change everything to just "Emporium", which they would do ten years later.

There WAS one holdout amongst the former Capwell ranks however, and that was El Cerrito. That branch kept the old "Capwell's" signs (including a huge rooftop one) through the 80's and early 90's until the chain dropped Capwell from the name. Then and only then was the sign changed to "Emporium". Ironically, this was only a couple of years before Federated's takeover and the store's closure.

But get this: After the store was closed the management at El Cerrito Plaza continued to keep the "Emporium" sign lit up at night even though there was now nothing inside. Were they trying to give the appearance of life to a dying mall, or just trying to make up for all the years that the store had the wrong sign?

BTW, the building was demolished in 2000 and an Albertson's parking lot now sits in its place.

dean said...

I was looking down at the dry fountain just this summer and wondered what the area used to look like. I've been visiting Stoneridge since the early 90's and the main seating area has always been covered. It's a shame that the comfort of the shoppers is no longered considered a priority anymore. A place to sit down during a long shopping day is very nice - though I guess it's better to force them into the restaurants to relax.

I was the one that noticed that the "mushroom" lights were removed, mostly because I wanted to show them to a friend I had visited Fairlane and Lakeside malls with. I can't say that ever much cared for them, though now that I realize they were part of a legacy of variations on the Taubman "look", they hold a much greater significance. It would be nice if they came up with another light fixture to replace the ones that were there. The mounts for them are still in the planters.

dean said...

I just stopped by Stoneridge and discovered that they have demolished both the small seating pit in front of the former Emporium store and the fountain. The large seating pit is filled-in with concrete and they have started to demolish the granite curbs.

I asked the Information lady what's going on and she gave me the canned answer that they are going to be putting in "upscale seating", whatever that is. Having been an architect, all I can say is that is a description straight out of marketing lingo. It will be interesting to see what transpires.