Monday, July 18, 2011

Foothill Square Finds Fate By Flattening

One of only two mall's left in Oakland, Foothill Square between MacArthur and Foothill Boulevard is destined to be flattened by wrecking ball this year.

Foothill Square utilized the latest in shopping center design: a pedestrian mall down the center. Designed by world-famous Welton Becket & Associates (Ground Breaking Tomorrow, 1961), designers of the wildly successful Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo, Foothill Square was conceived on a smaller scale. Instead of a Macy's or Capwell's anchor store, Foothill Square relied on the stalwart of community shopping centers: Lucky Stores, Thrifty Drug Store, and an S. S. Kresge Co. five-and-dime store (Ground Breaking Tomorrow). The pedestrian mall landscaping was designed by another world-famous landscape architect: Lawrence Halprin & Associates (Ground Breaking Tomorrow). These two amazing architects have been revered for their ingenuity and creativity, but Foothill Square has been a mostly forgotten creation.

Considered an eyesore by its neighbors, Foothill Square has not been updated since opening in 1962. The graceful sign adorning the MacArthur Freeway is suffering from rust and neglect. However, this year, the shopping center is being redeveloped. The front of the mall is to be demolished, new pads constructed, and the rear of the mall is to be given a new facade. Although the Foothill Square Redevelopment project promises to revitalize a once proud shopping center, one can be saddened by the loss of a Welton Becket design.

The demolition of Foothill Square comes on the heels of another recent Oakland mall demolition, MacArthur/Broadway Center (aka, M/B "Center"). Oakland will currently be host to only one remaining mall, Eastmont Town Center. Although, Eastmont Town Center is considered a mixed-use center and not devoted entirely to fashion-oriented shopping. Oakland could be the only city of its size without a significant regional or superregional shopping center.

Goodbye Foothill Square.

"Ground Breaking Tomorrow." Oakland Tribune. Nov. 7, 1961. p. 12-D. Retrieved July 18, 2011 from online database.

Monday, July 11, 2011

South Shore Center is Back

On Friday, Alameda Towne Centre announced on Facebook that it has changed its name back to the familiar South Shore Center.

The renaming of South Shore Center to Alameda Towne Centre by the mall's former owners, Harsh Investment Properties, never gained acceptable by Alamedans. This was evident in the purposeful mispronunciation of the mall name (phonetically), "Alameda Townee Centray." When the mall recently sold to Jamestown, the name regression idea resurfaced in commentaries and local opinion columns.

Apparently, Jamestown agreed and the mall has been officially renamed Alameda South Shore Center. Jamestown next task is to replace the signage for an undisclosed cost.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Gray Reid's - Nevada's Fine Store

A vintage newspaper advertisement from the Reno Evening Gazette announcing the opening of Gray Reid's department store in Carson City.

Anchoring the new 31-store enclosed Carson Mall, Gray Reid's was a Reno-based department store founded by Joseph H. Gray and Hosea E. Reid in the early 1900s (O'Driscoll, 2006). Gray Reid's began in downtown Reno, expanded to Carson City, then closed its downtown location in favor of Reno Town Mall (O'Driscoll, 2006). Gray Reid's lasted until 1986 when the chain ceased operations (O'Driscoll, 2006).

The old Gray Reid's in Carson City recently housed the Fresno-based Gottschalk's until that department store folded. The building current is empty.

Enjoy vintage Gray Reid's!

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O'Driscoll, B. (2006, March 11). From Gray Reid's to the Summit Sierra: 100 years of department stores in Reno. Reno Gazette-Journal.