Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Westfield San Francisco Centre

Yet another impressive mall. My first visit since the expansion and the crowds were so thick, it made it difficult to take pictures or even see much. Interestingly enough, the area under the old Emporium dome was subdued and quiet. I took a few pictures of the dome since it's the first time I've seen it since the Emporium closed .

The mall itself was truly outstanding. The selection of stores is mostly unique, which is a rarity these days. Some retailers have their only Bay Area location here.

Another impressive aspect is the food selection. Many interesting and probably delicious sit-down restaurants pepper the mall. The lower level food court, called "The Emporium" (complete with original script), has plenty of exciting eateries.

This mall is hard to describe. The new addition is shockingly modern, yet very traditional under the dome. It's a blend of styles. The old part of the mall is still contemporary, yet outside the spiral escalators, not much to talk about.

Nevertheless, I predict great success for this mall and more surprises for the future. Westfield now how two powerhouses in the Bay Area, Valley Fair in San Jose and San Francisco Centre.

Read my guide to Westfield San Francisco Centre

See the aerial view.

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.