San Francisco's new mall speaks "Manhattanization"

The new Westfield Mall from Market Street

San Franciscans were positively giddy about the opening of the new Westfield Mall addition to San Francisco Centre, the downtown mall, last week. Billed as the largest urban mall west of the Mississippi (yes, the phrase is still being used) with 1.45 million sf of retail space, San Francisco Centre is poised to enter, perhaps transcend the ranks of Short Hills and South Coast Plaza as upscale mall destinations. It caps the revitalization of the City's main drag Market Street, which had fallen into disrepair during the 70's. San Franciscans are seeing the development of the Centre, together with the sold out luxury high rises being built in the vicinity, as a facet of Manhattanization, a theme of a previous post.

Ahh, Manhattan... the New Yorker is geographically transported walking through the so-unCalifornia-like black and white decor of Bloomies, the largest one outside the 59th Street one. And now there's a Tourneau shop where I can finally use my free battery for life warranty on the watch I bought 10 years ago.

There are so many New Yorkers living here (yours truly) who witnessed their landmark city in turnaround. We remember how Mayor Giuliani pushed civic pride down the populace's throats in the 1990's with what were called heavy handed police tactics against any form of delinquency. He then sanitized New York's underbelly Times Square, and now New York has become the safest city in America
. For San Franciscans, the revitalization of "the City" is a point of civic pride. During the past decade, San Franciscans have lived under the shadow of Silicon Valley, and remember the jokes about the City becoming a suburb of San Jose, or worse, the bedroom community of Palo Alto.

I took a few pictures with a camera phone. I used a nifty free online photo resizing application that scaled the jpegs easily to an appropriate size for the blog.

The classic Bloomies counter - hey where are those gorgeous cosmetic models?

Foodies and Fashionistas Unite - a New Yorker statement mirrors what San Franciscans want their city to be

How can you tell this is not a picture of Trump Plaza or Columbus Circle? No one's wearing black! ... also note no one is carrying shopping bags, this grand opening doesn't come with "Sale" signs pre-installed

The famous Emporium Rotunda - looks like Las Vegas? Hold thy tongue, Caesar!

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  • 10/3/2006 4:24 AM teresa boardman wrote:
    You invented a new word! Cool. Did you know that Minnesota his home of the largest mall in the U.S., the Mall of America? Did you know that the indoor mall was invented here, becuase it is kind of cold in the winter? We also invented skyways. Us clever Minnesotan's doncha know.
    Reply to this
    1. 10/3/2006 4:46 AM P Kitano wrote:
      I specifically went to Mall of America during my one and only business trip to Minneapolis just to see it... here are a few more things I admire about Minneapolis (yes, I know you're from St Paul, but to us West Coasters, any two cities surrounded by a loop, in your case the 494/694, is equivalent to one city):

      1) When I was in the film business, Minneapolis, together with Seattle and SF, were the two smaller cities besides NY and LA to open an arthouse film. Something about intellectuals...
      2) Prince
      3) Kevin Garnett (we thought he'd be traded by now)
      4) It's a babe capital!

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  • 10/23/2006 2:54 PM Philip wrote:
    Hi Pat,

    I love the new SF Centre. Reminds me of the Time Warner Center in New York; although Strait's and Lark Creek Steak are a far cry from Per Se and Masa.

    Real Estate in Reverse
    Reply to this
    1. 10/23/2006 4:09 PM P Kitano wrote:
      haha... it seems three times as big as Time Warner ... we had dinner there in the food court Saturday night and couldn't find a place to sit! It's revitalizing downtown completely and I hope it spurs commercial growth down market to Civic Center...

      I laugh because Straits was such a dive on Geary... the one in Palo Alto was just a fractional step up... I was shocked to see them in such a prime location...

      And I miss Sparks!


      Reply to this

  • 11/25/2006 10:06 PM Silicon Valley Blogger wrote:
    I go to work at SF everyday and haven't heard of this mall. Where have I been?
    Reply to this

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