Glendale Galleria: The Mall That Changed Glendale, CA Forever

History and Development of Glendale Galleria

In the heart of downtown Glendale, California, stands the Glendale Galleria, a testament to the evolution of retail and community development. This three-story regional shopping center and office complex, the third-largest mall in Los Angeles County, has a rich history that dates back to the mid-1970s.

The Glendale Galleria’s inception resulted from a partnership between M.J. Brock & Sons, J.S. Griffiths Co, and Broadway Hale Stores, collectively known as Glendale Associates. The mall’s construction began in 1973, following agreements with Glendale’s Redevelopment Agency.

The mall, costing an impressive US$75 million, was brought to life by architect Jon Jerde, inspired by a Ray Bradbury essay on reviving retail districts.

The first shops to grace the mall were the Buffums and The Broadway department stores, opening their doors in August 1976, a few months before the mall’s formal opening on October 14, 1976. These stores began a retail revolution in Glendale, setting the stage for the mall’s future growth and development.

The Evolution of Glendale Galleria Mall

The Glendale Galleria has seen several expansions and changes, reflecting its patrons’ evolving needs and preferences.

The first significant expansion, Galleria II, was completed in 1983. This expansion added a wing to the mall and introduced new anchor stores, Nordstrom and Mervyn’s.

The inaugural Panda Express restaurant debuted in Galleria II in the same year, situated on the third level close to Mervyn’s. This marked the introduction of fast-casual dining in the mall, a trend that would later become a staple in malls nationwide.

The first Disney Store also chose the Glendale Galleria for its debut, opening on March 28, 1987. This store brought magic to the mall, attracting families and Disney fans.

Over the years, the mall has also seen its fair share of closures and replacements. 1990 the Buffums store closed and was replaced by a three-story Robinsons-May store in 1993. The Broadway closed its doors in 1996, only to be replaced by a Macy’s.

These changes reflect the dynamic nature of the retail industry, with stores constantly adapting to changing consumer trends and preferences.

Glendale Galleria
The Glendale Galleria” by scottjlowe is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Ownership and Management

In 2002, the Glendale Galleria was put on the market by its then-three proprietors, J. Griffiths, New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, and Cigna.

General Growth Properties (now Brookfield Properties) acquired the Glendale Galleria for $415 million, marking a new era in the mall’s history.

Under the new ownership, the mall has continued to thrive, attracting diverse stores and maintaining its status as a central retail hub in Los Angeles County.

Glendale Galleria
Glendale Galleria” by Still Burning is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Notable Features and Stores

The Glendale Galleria is home to several notable features and stores that set it apart from other malls. In 2007, the world’s first three-story Target store opened in the mall, replacing the former Robinsons-May store.

This store brought a new dimension to the shopping experience at the mall, offering a wide range of products across three floors.

Today, the mall’s anchor stores include JCPenney, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, and Zara. These stores offer a diverse shopping experience, catering to a wide range of tastes and preferences. From high-end fashion at Bloomingdale’s to sporting goods at Dick’s, the Glendale Galleria offers something for everyone.

Renovation and Modernization

In 2012, the Glendale Galleria underwent an extensive renovation designed by Kevin Kennon. The renovation, costing $57.5 million, aimed to modernize the mall’s look, improve signage, and enhance circulation and access.

The renovation was completed on November 9, 2013, giving the Galleria a refreshed and contemporary look.

The renovation also saw the opening of a two-story Bloomingdale’s, adding another high-end retail option for shoppers. This store, along with the other improvements, has helped to ensure that the Glendale Galleria remains a premier shopping destination in Los Angeles County.

Current Status and Future Plans

Today, the Glendale Galleria continues to be a popular destination for shoppers. However, it has also seen some closures, including the Disney Store in 2021. Despite this, the Galleria remains a bustling hub of activity, with over 30 million people visiting in 2016.

The mall is also committed to supporting business owners of color through its Partner to Empower program. This program offers resources and support for those looking to open a brick-and-mortar location in the mall. This initiative reflects the mall’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and its efforts to support the local community.

The Glendale Galleria is poised to continue evolving, adapting to changing consumer trends and preferences and serving as a central retail hub in Los Angeles County.

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