Glendale Galleria Mall: Legacy of Shopping in Glendale, CA

The Birth of Glendale Galleria Mall

In the heart of Glendale, California, a retail revolution took shape in the early 1970s. The concept of Glendale Galleria emerged from the minds of Glendale Associates, a consortium including M.J. Brock & Sons, Broadway Hale Stores, and J.S. Griffiths Co. Their vision was grand: to create a shopping haven that would redefine the consumer experience in the area.

Construction kicked off in 1973, marked by economic optimism and a booming retail industry. The project was ambitious, with a staggering $75 million budget.

Architect Jon Jerde was tasked with bringing this vision to life, drawing inspiration from Ray Bradbury’s essay on revitalizing retail spaces. Jerde’s design was not just a building but a beacon of modern commerce, a place where community and retail converged.

The Galleria opened on October 14, 1976, unveiling a sprawling complex of over 1.6 million square feet. It was more than just a mall; it was a cultural landmark where families, friends, and individuals could gather, shop, and create memories.

The initial anchors, Buffums, JCPenney, Ohrbach’s, and The Broadway, set the tone for the caliber of shopping to be expected, offering a range of products from high-end fashion to everyday necessities.

The opening of Glendale Galleria marked a significant moment in the city’s history. It was not just about the stores but about setting a new standard for shopping centers nationwide.

The mall quickly became a hub of activity. Here, things to do in Glendale, California, were no longer limited to outdoor parks or movie theaters.

As the years passed, the Galleria continued to evolve, adapting to its visitors’ changing tastes and demands.

But what made it a landmark from the start — a place of gathering, commerce, and innovation — remained unchanged. The birth of Glendale Galleria was the dawn of a new era in retail, setting a benchmark for others to follow.

Expansion and Evolution

The Glendale Galleria didn’t just rest on its laurels after its grand opening in 1976. The mall knew growth was key to staying relevant. In 1983, a significant expansion known as Galleria II was unveiled.

This wasn’t just an addition but a transformation, bringing in Nordstrom and Mervyn’s, two names that drew crowds and set new shopping standards.

This period also marked a culinary revolution within the mall’s walls. In 1983, the first Panda Express opened its doors in the Galleria. Located on level 3 near Bloomingdale’s, this was more than a food outlet; it was the birth of a fast-food giant.

But the Galleria’s influence wasn’t confined to retail and dining. In 1987, it became home to the world’s first Disney Store.

Imagine that—a whole store dedicated to the magic of Disney, right in Glendale. This destination drew Disney fans from all over to experience the magic firsthand.

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

A Technological Milestone

The new millennium brought a new kind of tenant to the Glendale Galleria. In 2001, Apple Inc. chose the Galleria as one of the locations for its first-ever retail stores.

May 19, 2001, marked the opening of this store, a day that would go down in retail history. The Apple Store brought a new wave of tech-savvy shoppers to the mall, eager to explore the latest innovations and designs.

This wasn’t just a win for Apple but a triumph for the Galleria. The presence of such a tech giant affirmed the mall’s status as a cutting-edge retail destination. It was about experiencing the future of technology firsthand.

The opening of the Apple Store set a precedent. This move attracted a new demographic of shoppers and set the stage for more tech-focused stores to enter the mall, keeping the Galleria at the forefront of the retail evolution.

Ownership Transitions

In 2002, the Glendale Galleria experienced a major shift. The mall, previously owned by a trio including J.S. Griffiths, Cigna, and the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, was put up for sale.

This wasn’t a decision based on the mall’s performance, which remained strong, but rather due to external factors affecting the owners.

On October 28, 2002, a new chapter began when General Growth Properties, now known as Brookfield Properties, announced their acquisition of the Galleria for a whopping $415 million.

This change in ownership, completed on December 6, 2002, was more than a business transaction. It was a sign of the mall’s enduring value and appeal.

Under Brookfield’s management, the Galleria continued to thrive, maintaining its status as one of the top-grossing shopping centers in the United States.

This transition ensured that the Glendale Galleria remained a key player in the retail industry, adapting to new trends and consumer needs.

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

Renovations and Modernization

The Glendale Galleria has never been one to stand still. Starting April 25, 2012, the mall underwent an extensive renovation.

This was a complete transformation aimed at modernizing the space and enhancing the shopping experience for visitors.

The renovation, led by architect Kevin Kennon, focused on introducing a more contemporary look to the Galleria.

This included updating the interior and exterior with modern materials and designs, improving signage, and making the space more navigable for shoppers.

The project, which cost $57.5 million, was not just about aesthetics but about ensuring the Galleria remained a destination of choice for shoppers.

By November 9, 2013, the new look of Glendale Galleria was unveiled. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, with visitors appreciating the modernized environment and improved facilities.

This renovation reaffirmed the Galleria’s place in the heart of Glendale, ready to welcome a new generation of shoppers and retailers.

Current Anchors and Their Stories Inside Glendale Galleria


JCPenney has been a staple of the Glendale Galleria since its early days, providing shoppers with a wide range of merchandise, from clothing to home furnishings.

As one of the original anchors, JCPenney has evolved alongside the mall, adapting to its customers’ changing tastes and needs.

Over the years, this department store has seen various renovations and updates to keep its look fresh and inviting.

Despite the retail industry’s ups and downs, JCPenney has remained a constant, offering affordable fashion and goods to generations of families visiting the Galleria.


Macy’s, known for its wide selection of brands and products, has been a key player in the Glendale Galleria’s retail lineup.

Replacing The Broadway in the 1990s, Macy’s brought a new level of style and sophistication to the mall, attracting a diverse range of shoppers.

With its multi-level layout, Macy’s offers everything from the latest fashion trends to home decor and cosmetics, making it a one-stop shop for Galleria visitors.

The store’s annual events and sales, particularly around the holidays, have become eagerly anticipated traditions for the local community.


Bloomingdale’s opened in 2013, replacing the former Mervyn’s and adding a touch of luxury to the Glendale Galleria.

This upscale department store brought high-end fashion and designer labels to the mall, catering to a more discerning shopper.

Bloomingdale’s presence in the Galleria has elevated the shopping experience, offering top-notch customer service and a curated selection of merchandise.

The store’s chic interior and exclusive events have made it a destination for fashion-forward customers.


The Glendale Galleria made headlines when it introduced the world’s first three-story Target in 2007, taking over the space previously occupied by Robinsons-May. This Target is a mega-store that offers various products, from groceries to electronics and clothing.

The convenience of having such a comprehensive store within the mall has drawn in a steady stream of visitors, making it one of the Galleria’s busiest anchors. The three-story layout is unique and has become a model for other large urban Target stores.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Dick’s Sporting Goods brought a new dimension to the Glendale Galleria when it opened in 2016, occupying part of the space left by the relocated Nordstrom.

This store caters to sports enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers, offering a wide range of athletic gear, apparel, and equipment.

The addition of Dick’s Sporting Goods has broadened the mall’s appeal, attracting a different type of shopper interested in fitness and outdoor activities.

The store’s presence underscores the Galleria’s commitment to providing a diverse shopping experience to its visitors.


Zara is a prime destination for fashion enthusiasts seeking the latest trends for women, men, and kids. Recognized globally as one of the most innovative international fashion companies, Zara stands out with its unique approach to retail, combining fast-paced fashion with sustainable business practices.

The store in Glendale Galleria offers a special selection of Zara’s best styles and offers exclusive in-store sales not available elsewhere.

With a customer-centric model, Zara ensures a shopping experience that keeps pace with the ever-changing fashion landscape. It is a must-visit for those looking to update their wardrobe with stylish and contemporary pieces.

Gold’s Gym

Gold’s Gym is conveniently located within the bustling Glendale Galleria and offers a comprehensive fitness experience.

With a vast weight area, a boxing rig, and various equipment, members have countless ways to pursue their fitness goals.

The Gym also offers multiple group fitness classes, including Pilates, Zumba, and yoga, catering to all fitness levels and interests. Gold’s Gym’s presence adds a unique dimension to the shopping experience, allowing visitors to combine retail therapy with physical wellness.

This integration of fitness into a retail environment underscores the evolving nature of malls as multifunctional spaces.

The Glendale Galleria has been a shopping destination and a star in its own right. In 2020, the mall gained new fame when American pop singer Billie Eilish chose it as the setting for her music video “Therefore I Am.”

This wasn’t just a random choice; the Galleria’s unique architecture and bustling atmosphere provided the perfect backdrop for the hit song’s visuals.

This feature in the music video put the Glendale Galleria in the spotlight, showcasing it to a global audience and highlighting its significance beyond just retail.

The mall’s appearance in popular culture has made it more than a local shopping center; it’s become a landmark recognized worldwide.

The impact of this exposure was immediate. Fans of the singer and the curious flocked to the mall, eager to walk the same paths as Eilish. This visitor surge showcased the mall’s enduring appeal and ability to attract a diverse crowd.

Recent News and Events

The Glendale Galleria continues to make headlines, proving its relevance and appeal in the ever-evolving retail landscape.

One of the most notable events in recent times was the Black Friday shopping frenzy. Shoppers around the region descended on the mall, eager to snag deals and start their holiday shopping.

This annual event has become a tradition for many, highlighting the Galleria’s role in the community’s holiday rituals.

In a more dramatic turn of events, a burglary suspect was arrested near the Glendale Galleria after a police chase.

The suspect was found with $10,000 worth of merchandise, showcasing the challenges and realities of maintaining security in such a large retail space.

While unfortunate, this incident highlighted the effective response of local law enforcement and the mall’s security measures.

These recent events, from the bustling holiday shopping to the swift action against crime, demonstrate the Glendale Galleria’s continued significance in Glendale.

The mall is not just a place to shop; it’s a community hub where events unfold, trends are set, and memories are made.

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