Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Bay Fair Shopping Center Grand Opening Phase II - 1957

November 6, 1957 marked the grand opening of phase II of the Bay Fair Regional Shopping Center (aka, Bayfair Mall or Bayfair Center). Phase I was the opening of Macy's on August 8, 1957.

Designed by Victor Gruen & Associates, Phase II was a two-story building that was accessible from the parking lots without requiring shoppers to change levels. Level 1, called the "Mall Level," was accessible from the lower parking lots in the front. Level 2, called the "Terrace Level," was accessible from the upper level parking lots in the back. It was a unique concept at the time to grant shoppers access to multiple levels through parking lots situated at different planes.

The picture at the top of the newspaper page shows the Phase II building, which contained 22 inline shops. Looking at Bayfair Center now, it's difficult to imagine what it was like. Although, it does explain the unusual layout of the current second level of the mall, which was the result of a later enclosure and addition of Montgomery Ward. Prior to demolition, Montgomery Ward's mall access was exclusively from the second level. When the site was rebuilt for Target, the developer choose a lower footprint for the store and mall access to the first level, only (albeit, poorly thought-out access). The Mall Level shops were later replaced by a secluded food court, now renovated and open to the rest of the mall.

Read through the entire newspaper page; it's devoted entirely to the Bay Fair grand opening.


1 comment:

Rob said...

I distinctly remember Wards having a lower level mall entrance at Bayfair. Maybe they closed it off in later years, but it was definitely there when it opened.

The awkwardness of the layout may have been due to the fact that the original outdoor mall was built around a single anchor(Macys). It's sister center(Valley Fair) chose instead to demolish everything except Macys when it came time to enclose it.