Thursday, June 02, 2011

MacArthur/Broadway Shopping Center - Oakland - 1965

One of three enclosed shopping malls in Oakland, California, this advertisement from the Oakland Tribune announces the grand opening of the MacArthur/Broadway Shopping Center on September 9, 1965.

"A whole century ahead of its time... The most fantastic one-stop shopping and dining extravaganza in the entire universe!" proclaims the advertisement. The center is billed as "completely space-age in concept and philosophy."

Features included the following:
* A space ramp, an escalator for shopping carts. A concept employed today by multi-level Target stores and the IKEA in East Palo Alto.
* An Astro-Bus, a taxi service to shuttle shoppers from the mall entrance to their cars.
* Space-Port Parking... 1,100 cars fitting comfortably on the roof of the center.

MacArthur/Broadway Shopping Center, commonly called M/B Center, was a mall without a conventional department store anchor (although Woolworth's anchored the mall). After years of decline, the center was demolished in 2009. A new Kaiser Permanente hospital is rising in its place.

Visitors may fondly remember The Hamlet, essentially an early food court concept.


Current aerial

View Larger Map
The Google Street View still shows the center pre-demolition. Mall entrances had been sealed by then.


Rob said...

MacArthur Broadway was the first indoor mall I never saw and we went their all the time to have dinner at the Hamlet. Because the Mayfair market was a 24 hour operation, many of the other stores there kept late hours as well.

I think the deterioration of MacArthur Boulevard, especially when it became a haven for prostitution; played a big part in the demise of M/B. You'd think that with it's proximity to the popular Piedmont Avenue district that they could have tried to tie it in more with a pedestrian bridge across Macarthur Blvd.

Ultimately though, Kaiser likely had their eyes on the site for a long time and wouldn't allow it to be redeveloped

Chris Treadway said...

I remember the M/B Center well and we went there the opening week. I also remember Eastmont Mall, but can't think of a third enclosed center in Oakland.

BIGMallrat said...

Kaiser Center Mall being the 3rd. Some people don't consider it due to its size.

Anonymous said...

In 1965, my dad opened London Ltd a combination book store and smoke shop. He kept late hours and stocked lots of paperbacks for the Kaiser nurses and the visitors to Kaiser's patients. There was a pastel artist who worked in the mall. He could do nice portraits or cartoon-like drawings. We framed the one he did of my dad. My dad sold the store to one of his employees in about 1969-70. I think the name was changed. There were lots of prostitutes on Broadway even when the center opened in 1965.

doug said...

OMG!!! Oh the memories!!! This was the place to shop in Oakland. No doubt the MB was ahead of it's time. Ok now let me remember..Pine Tree candies, Hallmark card store, Flower shop, shoe store including Kinney, Drug King, Beadazzled, Import store, Bookstore, Record store, Movie theatre, several clothing stores and Star TV. Oh yea and The Instep the addidas store, Radio Shack and of course The Hamlet!!! Many childhood memories there including meeting the Raiders day!!! Memories forever...R.I.P.MB center!!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the names of the 15 different restaurants in the Hamlet?

Anonymous said...

I remember The M B fondly also. All the shops and the movie theatre. A friend and I saw Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory and then went for ice creams at that candy store. It was safe for two 11 year old girls to browse around and then go outside on Telegraph and wait for a ride home.
It makes me sad to look at that press release..Such high hopes!

upkerry14 said...

I used to live nearby on Montell St off Piedmont Avenue and I used to feel all grown up when I'd make what I thought was a long trek down to MB center. I used to buy my science fiction magazines at Woolworth's every month and look at the books in the smoke shop across the hall. Remember those spinning book racks? I still have the paperbacks I bought there. I bought an early Eagles album at the record store there as well. My youth has flown but it feels bittersweet to think about it.

Anonymous said...

I used to love going there as a kid (1965)
...Parents would take me to eat there on Thursday nights...the place had a great friendly feeling...but the 70's...turned into a foodstamp haven...all kinds of lowlifes starting stealing form the stores...became kind of dangerous...would never go there after dark....Too bad...once was a wonderful place.

Anonymous said...

I was a kid in 1965...but remember the M/B Center well...Thursday nights, my Dad took the family to the Hamlet...they had it all Japanese Chinese, Bo's ...several others I don't remember...Pine Tree candies was right there in the food court area next to the bookstore/pipe shop...Kinney shoes' Capri Florist's, Woolworth's...loved that so called space ramp up to the parking lot...but sadly...the area went downhill fast in the 70's became a haven for welfare/food stamp folks and shoplifters...many stole the stores blind until they had to close...Drugs and hookers all over the place...became dangerous place to be after DarK...Yep...R.I.P. M/B Center...

Sherman Lerch said...

I was the manager of Wolff's Jewelers. Those were the years!