Thursday, October 02, 2008

Lost Malls - Union Square Mall - Union City

The elusive Union Square Mall in Union City, CA. This little enclosed mall lived for just over a decade. It opened in late 1974, went up, then down, down, down. The near-empty mall was demolished in the late 80s (or early 90s, anyone know for sure?)
Anchor tenants were Safeway and Kelly-Moore Home Improvement Center.
The attached article from the Fremont Argus is dated Dec. 2, 1977. Mall merchants are complaining about businesses departing the mall and gave their theories why the mall wasn't succeeding.
The article goes on to report the owners were planning on added "50 flags to brighten the interior." Hmmm.
It appears as if the mall was originally supposed to have a department store, but the owners revealed the center wasn't a "regional center," which inhibits department stores from joining. Deceptive?
I visited this mall only once in the 80s. It was dark, had aggregate concrete floors, and a single store (a barber shop, if I recall correctly). I believe the mall was laid out in a plus (+) design. Photos of this center would certainly be exciting (anyone?).
The original Safeway still stands at 1790 Decoto Road. A new strip shopping center was built in its place and appears to be doing just fine.
Current aerial:

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mrbluelight said...

yes i remember the Union Square Mall. The current Safeway is built on the former KellyMoore "Home Center" site which was a home depot style store with paint, garden, lumber. My father used to get lots of hardware items from there in the late 70's early 1980's when I was growing up. I think there is a dollar store currently on the former site of the Safeway Grocery. The stores I recall were: Round Table Pizza, a hobby store, barber shop and Hair Salon. In the back facing the outside was a Video Arcade 'starcade' during the 'PacMan' days! The McDonalds and Bank of America buildings are the only original buildings on the plot land and still stand today.

TenPoundHammer said...

Hmm, I wonder if this was the first mall in the US to be "demalled"? I know a LOT of California malls were gone by the 1990s, but besides this, the only 1980s demalling I know of is Peach Tree Mall in Marysville.

Anonymous said...

I remember this mall I used to skip school sometimes and hang out at the arcade in the back. I remember it used to have a round table pizza, and a kelly moore paint store, and a couple of loose straggler stores on the inside. From the time I was little (Mid 70's) the mall always had problems keeping tenants, I do remember they used to have a decent haunted house for Halloween on the inside of the little mall every year.

davjaxn said...

I grew up in Union City and remember this mall fondly. There was a store that sold music, posters, buttons... that kind of stuff. Sound of Music maybe (the store was to the left as you walked in)? By brother got a necklace with a picture of Gene Simmons from Kiss on it. It was about 1977. I think there was an ice cream store there. I used to get my hair cut at the barber shop (it was to the left as you walked in the main entrance). Also Round Table Pizza and my favorite store that was to the right near the entrance was called The Galactic Starport. I bought a Muppet Movie postere there of Fozzie and Kermit. I remember around 1978 they had two special guests there doing a signing: Anthony Daniels and Dave Prowse. Both actors for a new (at the time) popular movie called Star Wars! I got autographs from both Daniels (C-3P0) and Prowse (Darth Vader) and still have them. Great memories. Wish there were some pictures out there somewhere.

Anonymous said...

There was also the original Rose Garden (Chinese Resturant) that is now located further up Alvarado. I remember the original owner, a lilttle old man. We used to call him gramps.