Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Vintage Postcards: Stanford Shopping Center

Here's a beauty of early Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. It shows the main walkway, with The Emporium to the immediate left (note the big "E").

The center is flanked with overhangs, tropical landscaping, and unique circular patterns in the concrete. Absent, it appears, is Macy's. That must have been added later (anyone know when that was added?)

The back of the postcard reads: "One of the San Francisco Peninsula's newest and most modern shopping centers adjacent to the Stanford University Campus."

The center remains one of the most popular in the region, but faces increased competition from Santana Row and Valley Fair. The Silicon Valley Business Times has reported that they are eyeing an expansion. With limited land and neighborhood concerns, I'd expect a creative solution.


Read my guide to Stanford Shopping Center

Visit the current Website.

See the aerial view.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mall Memories - San Mateo Fashion Island - Redux

By popular demand (yes, popular), a scan of a directory for the now deceased San Mateo Fashion Island. This directory is one of the earliest, most likely 1983 or 1984.

Who can forget such favorite stores as Scott Alan, Video Concepts, Clothes Barn, and Pups on a Pole!

Of course, we know the history of San Mateo Fashion Island. Bullock's pulled out in 1986, then Liberty House in 1987. The mall spiraled into oblivion when Montgomery Ward filed for Bankruptcy and JC Penney closed. The rest is history! It was knocked down and replaced by a power center, featuring Target Greatland (now just regular Target). I believe the ice rink is still there, but I'm not sure if it's the exact same rink that was in the mall (anyone know?)

Just a tidbit, yours truly worked in space 120, Kay Bee Toy and Hobby. After Bullock's and Liberty House closed, all the inline stores from Kay Bee towards Bullock's went out of business. Although a few remained open near the opposing Liberty House mall entrance, such as Red Robin. Eventually mall management completely sealed off the mall at Liberty House. It just kept getting worse after that.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

1967 Del Monte Center Monterey Article

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Here's a scan of an article that appeared in Architectural Record magazine, April 1968. It features the new Del Monte Center mall in Monterey.

I find it fascinating that this center has changed little since 1968, right down to the fountain. From what I can tell, the only changes are the 1987 expansion that brought Mervyn's and the adjoining building of inline stores, and the 2005 expansion which brought the cinema. I found most of the ancient trees pictured are gone, which often is the case when the root system of a tree is suddenly suffocated by asphalt or concrete.

By looking closely, I think I can see Joseph Magnin in the southwestern-most building from Macy's.

This is definitely one the few malls in Northern California that look as if time stood still. Yet, it still has a timeless charm that still works.


Read my Guide to Del Monte Center

Visit the current Website.

See the aerial view (pre-cinema expansion).

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bay Street Emeryville Expanding

The East Bay Business Times is reporting the City of Emeryville is using money and eminent domain to acquire 3.3 acres of land to expand Bay Street Emeryille.

The land is bounded by Powell Street to the north, the train tracks to the east, Shellmound to the west and Bay Street to the south. The aerial view will give you a pretty good idea. Consider the land is a mix of five properties, all considered "blighted" by the City.

Business at Bay Street must be good and the public doesn't seem to mind paying to park. As long as the tenant mix is desirable and remains a strong draw, Bay Street will have no problem keeping shoppers.

Consider this, the last news to come out of Bay Street was the announcement H&M will be joining the line up spring 2007.


For the full story.

Visit the Bay Street website.

See the current aerial.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Vintage Postcards: Eastridge Mall in San Jose

Wow... another postcard of the grand Eastridge Mall in San Jose. Can we get enough? You may be able to understand the massiveness of this mall with this picture. The center court was (and still is) enormous. A lot of floor space with wide-open spaces. In those days, they filled open spaces with gracious fountains and elegant sculptures. Or, in the case of Eastridge, sculptures IN fountains.

In the background, you can see Liberty House, which is now gone. Replaced by Emporium-Capwell, it was shuttered when Federated purchased the chain. Sitting vacant for a number of years, the building was torn down to make way for a mall addition.

The back of the card reads: "Eastridge Shopping Center, the largest in the West, is a shopper's paradise, comprising over 160 shops and four major department stores under one roof. The three climate controlled levels are unique in their bold design. Capitol Expressway, Tully and Quimby Roads, San Jose, California."


See more photos that'll make you say "oh, snap!"

Read my Guide to Eastridge Mall

Visit the current Website.

See the aerial view.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mall Memories - Sunnyvale Town Center

Here's a scan of a mall directory for Sunnyvale Town Center. It's from sometime in the late Eighties or early Nineties. Sometime before JC Penney joined the mall.

The history of Sunnyvale Town Center is full of drama and intrigue. Intended to revitalize a languishing downtown, Sunnyvale city leaders approved the demolition of historic buildings and cleared the way for a new mall. Opened in 1979, Sunnyvale Town Center was popular for a number of years. It originally was anchored by Macy's and Montgomery Wards. The mall's greatest feature was an outdoor courtyard, encircled by the mall, that preserved six giant redwood trees planted in the 1920s.

Eventually, the mall began to fall out of favor. It was too distant from freeways and obscured by a large parking garage. Some area residents would "forget" that a mall was there (out-of-sight, out-of-mind, so to speak). The final nail in Sunnyvale Town Center's coffin was the changing habits of local shoppers. Newer, larger malls, like Valley Fair, would soon be the biggest retail draw in the region.

A fantastic redevelopment was planned. The mall would be de-malled by tearing off the roof and plowing a street through the middle. Sunnyvale's own version of Santana Row would materialize and make downtown Sunnyvale a shinning success!

In preparation of the redevelopment, leases weren't renewed and the interior of Sunnyvale Town Center closed in 2005. The current anchors, Macy's and Target, are still open and are part of the redevelopment plan. BUT... redevelopment plans have floundered. Mostly attributed to financial woes, the mall hasn't been demolished nor redevelopment begun. Although the monstrous parking garage hiding the center was knocked down this year, that's all that has happened. The future of the center remains muddled.


Visit the current Website.

View a live Web cam of the area.

See the aerial view.

Read an interesting article on the mall.