Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Crocker Galleria - Is Westfield Stealing its Thunder?

The Crocker Galleria is a small mall amongst the towering high rises of downtown San Francisco. Although just two blocks from the bustling Union Square, the center seemed a world apart in terms of crowds.

The center's stores appear to cater towards weekday office workers and the affluent who don't need to work. The upper level hosts a number of on-the-go eateries, while a peppering of art stores may appeal to executives and tourists. However, it appears as if the Westfield San Francisco Centre is drawing the desirable stores and the people who shop there. We visited on a Saturday and there were only 3 people in the mall. Only twenty minutes earlier we waited in a line to go up an escalator at the Westfield Mall.

Some recent departures from the Crocker Galleria include the decidedly upscale Gianni Versace. For after hours, a Faz Restaurant offered a place for happy hour drinks, but that has closed, too. Bath and Body Works also disappeared. Is this center loosing its appeal to tourists and the after-hours crowd?

The architecture of the Crocker Galleria is stunning, with its glass roof that appears open to the sky. It was modeled after the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, Italy. However, architecture, alone, doesn't draw people. Is the center too stuffy? I'm not sure, but I'd sure hate to see a beauty like this close.

Read my guide to Crocker Galleria

See the aerial view.


Steven Swain said...

This place seems too pretty to die, but something tells me its days as a shopping mall are numbered with Westfield making such a splash.

dean said...

I used to work across the street from the Crocker Galleria and I don't ever recall it being that big a draw except during the lunch hour when workers would get food from one of the eating establishments on the top level. I feel that there is simply too much a psychological resistance for people to ascend to the upper levels. It might be based on the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, but that wonderful space is actually only one level. The other issue is that it is just a bit too remote from Union Square. I'm sure that if it was only a block away, it would be doing much better. It's a shame because it is a very nicely designed space.

The new portion of the Westfield San Francisco Center is right in the thick of it all, between Union Square and the Yerba Buena center, and right on Market Street at Powell. It has been a busy location since it was the Emporium and I think the current activity reflects old patterns being reestablished. The downstairs food court is an excellent place to grab a bite to eat on weekdays when it's not mobbed.

Anonymous said...

Crocker Galleria is really nice for such a small facility. When we were in San Francisco last weekend we stopped by there, it was pretty empty. I can imagine it would draw a noon crowd, but I don't know if that is sufficient to sustain it.

We will be returning in a few weeks and staying more towards the Daly area this time. I noticed a remodeling of the Westlake Shopping Center was mentioned a couple of years ago, but I don't see another update. Can I assume it has been completed but hasn't been revisited, or did something go wrong with the financing and is the remodel on hold?

BIGMallrat said...

The remodel at Westlake is still going strong; although slowly. I plan to update my review and photos when they finish. Right now, much of it looks completed, but much of it is still under construction. This was as of two weeks ago.