Discovering Westfield Culver City: A Modern Shopping Oasis
The Genesis of Westfield Culver City
Westfield Culver City, initially known as Fox Hills Mall, stands proudly in the heart of Culver City, California. This retail haven, currently under the ownership of the Westfield Group, opened its doors to the public on October 6, 1975.
Marking its place as one of the first three-level malls in California, it represented a significant step forward in the state’s retail landscape.
The developers, Ernest W. Hahn, Inc., and Carter Hawley Hale Properties, Inc., envisioned a shopping destination that would cater to the diverse needs of the local community.
A Hub of Top Retail Brands
As a focal point in Culver City, the mall boasts many stores, including major anchors like Macy’s, JCPenney, Target, Best Buy, Nordstrom Rack, and Trader Joe’s.
Each store brings its unique flair to the mall, offering shoppers a variety of choices. JCPenney, with its vast selection of clothing and home goods, provides a one-stop-shop experience. Macy’s, known for its fashion-forward apparel and accessories, adds a touch of elegance.
Best Buy’s technological wonders attract gadget enthusiasts, while Target offers an array of everyday items. Trader Joe’s is a paradise for grocery lovers with unique and organic products.
Nordstrom Rack, renowned for its high-quality yet affordable fashion, complements the retail experience at Westfield Culver City.
It offers a treasure trove of designer brands at discounted prices, making luxury fashion accessible and enjoyable for all shoppers.
A Community Landmark
Over the years, Westfield Culver City has become more than just a shopping center; it has evolved into a community landmark.
Its ability to adapt and grow with the changing times is evident in its wide-ranging store selection and modern amenities. It’s a place where people shop, gather, socialize, and create memories.
Whether looking for the latest fashion trends, electronic gadgets, or things to do in Culver City, California, Westfield Culver City offers an experience beyond traditional shopping.
“Shopping is not just about buying things; it’s about finding a piece of the world to take home.”
Tracing the Architectural and Retail Evolution
The Architectural Marvel of the 70s
In 1975, Westfield Culver City, then Fox Hills Mall, introduced an architectural marvel in shopping centers.
Designed by Gruen Associates, with The Broadway section by William L. Pereira Associates, it showcased an innovative three-level structure.
This design choice was a pioneering step in California’s mall architecture, setting a new standard for retail spaces.
Its original design included a glass-and-steel “theme” staircase, symbolizing the mall’s contemporary design and customer experience approach.
The Foundational Stores and Expansions
The mall opened its doors with significant anchor stores that set the tone for its future growth. The Broadway, spanning 192,500 square feet, became Macy’s in 1996, aligning with the evolving retail trends.
May Co., covering 148,000 square feet, transitioned into Robinsons-May in 1993, reflecting the dynamic nature of retail brands.
JCPenney, another key player, opened in January 1976, further cementing the mall’s status as a go-to shopping destination.
These foundational stores and 80 other shops created a diverse and robust shopping environment that catered to a wide array of consumer needs.
A Legacy of Change and Adaptation
Westfield Culver City has always been a symbol of change and adaptation. When Westfield America, Inc., a precursor to the Westfield Group, acquired the center in 1998, it was renamed “Westfield Shoppingtown Fox Hills.”
This acquisition began a new era, emphasizing the mall’s commitment to staying relevant and appealing in a competitive retail market.
The removal of the theme staircase during the 2009 renovation, while retaining the iconic angled bridges, is a testament to the mall’s evolving nature, blending its rich history with modern retail demands.
The Anchor Stores: Heartbeat of Westfield Culver City
A Diverse Range of Retail Stores
From fashion giants like Adidas and Aeropostale to tech havens like Best Buy, the mall caters to every shopper’s dream. Stores like Aldo bring the latest footwear fashion.
For jewelry enthusiasts, Banter by Piercing Pagoda and Daniel’s Jewelers offer exquisite collections. Bath & Body Works provides a sensory feast with its fragrant array of bath and beauty products.
Catering to Every Shopper’s Need
The mall’s retail landscape is a blend of convenience and luxury. For tech-savvy individuals, Cell Tech and Cellfix offer the latest in mobile technology.
Sports fans find their haven in Champs Sports, while beauty aficionados explore the treasures in Claire’s and Sephora.
Culver City Chamber of Commerce represents the business community, enhancing the mall’s role as a commercial hub.
The presence of big names like Forever 21, H&M, and JCPenney, alongside specialized stores like Build-A-Bear Workshop and Carter’s, underscores the mall’s ability to cater to a wide demographic, from fashion-forward teens to families.
Influencing Trends and Popularity
The array of anchor stores in Westfield Culver City drives foot traffic and sets trends in the retail industry.
Stores like Gold’s Gym and UCLA Health emphasize health and wellness, reflecting the community’s growing interest in fitness and healthcare.
The presence of Trader Joe’s and Target provides a one-stop solution for groceries and household needs, making the mall a regular destination for locals.
The mix of retail, health, and lifestyle stores and entertainment options like GameStop ensures that Westfield Culver City remains a trendsetter in the retail sector, continuously attracting diverse customers.
The Culinary Scene at Westfield Culver City
A Melting Pot of Flavors
The food options at Westfield Culver City offer a delightful journey through diverse cuisines. It’s a place to shop and a destination to indulge in culinary delights.
The mall’s location near Hispanic and African-American communities, as well as Asian and Muslim enclaves, has made it a hub for diverse and delicious dining experiences.
From the savory pretzels of Auntie Anne’s to the exotic flavors of Azucanela Churreria, the mall offers a taste of the world.
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and California Fish Grill cater to those looking for a sit-down dining experience, while Charleys Philly Steaks and Chipotle provide quick yet satisfying meals.
For Every Palate and Preference
The mall’s food and drink establishments reflect the cultural mosaic of its visitors. Whether it’s the sweet treats from Cinnabon and Dot & Dough or the healthy options at Jamba Juice and On+On, there’s something for every palate.
For those craving Asian flavors, Mongrill and Panda Express serve up delectable dishes. Not to be missed are the gourmet burgers at Five Guys Burgers & Fries and the unique offerings of Harold’s Chicken, showcasing the best of American cuisine.
Enhancing the Shopping Experience
This culinary diversity greatly enhances the overall shopping experience at Westfield Culver City. The dining options serve as a welcome break for shoppers, offering a chance to relax and refuel.
With cafes like Starbucks and eateries like Olive Garden, the mall ensures visitors enjoy a full day of shopping complemented by great food.
High-quality food options like Trader Joe’s and Wetzel’s Pretzels turn a simple shopping trip into an enjoyable outing for families, friends, and solo visitors.
Seamless Connectivity: Transit Access at Westfield Culver City
A Transit Hub for Easy Access
Westfield Culver City is more than a shopping destination; it’s a nexus of convenience for visitors. The mall’s strategic location includes a transit center in its parking lot, nestled between Sepulveda Blvd and Slauson Ave.
This transit center is a significant feature, making the mall easily accessible for those relying on public transportation. It is a vital link for shoppers and employees, connecting the mall with the broader Los Angeles area.
Diverse Transit Options for Every Traveler
The range of transit lines available at the mall’s transit center caters to various needs. Shoppers can hop on several LACMTA (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority) and Culver CityBus lines, including the popular Culver City Route 6 bus.
This route directly connects to LAX, Los Angeles’s bustling international airport, making the mall a convenient stop for travelers and locals.
Enhancing Shopping Convenience and Accessibility
The presence of this transit hub significantly enhances the shopping experience at Westfield Culver City. It offers an eco-friendly and stress-free alternative to driving, precious in a city known for its heavy traffic.
For visitors, the easy transit access means more time to enjoy the mall’s offerings, from its diverse retail stores to the array of dining options.
This level of connectivity serves the immediate community and attracts visitors from surrounding areas, adding to the mall’s reputation as a prime shopping and leisure destination.
Navigating Through Challenges: The Pandemic and Beyond
The Pandemic’s Impact on Retail
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to the retail sector, and Westfield Culver City was no exception.
Malls and department stores faced significant downturns, with indoor spaces mainly affected. Westfield’s French parent company, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, reported that its malls, including Westfield Culver City, experienced only 70 days of normal operations in 2020.
This drastically reduced operational period directly resulted from various restrictions and closures imposed to combat the pandemic.
Restructuring and Resilience
In response to these challenges, the company announced a strategic shift. In early 2021, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield revealed plans to sell its U.S. mall locations, including Westfield Culver City.
This decision was part of a broader program to reduce financial exposure in the U.S. market. Despite these changes, the company expressed optimism about a potential rebound in the U.S. economy by 2022, hoping for a recovery driven by vaccination efforts and the lifting of restrictions.
Looking Towards a Bright Future
As the world gradually adapts to the new normal, consumers are increasingly believed to return to physical retail spaces like Westfield Culver City.
The company anticipates a solid recovery, with government support and robust consumer finances playing a crucial role.
The mall, with its mix of top brands and unique experiences, stands ready to welcome back shoppers, promising to remain a vibrant part of the Culver City community and a testament to the resilience of the retail sector.
Reflecting on Westfield Culver City’s Journey
Westfield Culver City has evolved from a pioneering three-level mall to a modern shopping and culinary destination. It has adapted to changing retail trends, economic challenges, and consumer preferences.
The mall stands as a testament to the dynamic nature of retail spaces, continuously evolving to meet the needs of its diverse customer base.
As it navigates through the challenges of the pandemic and looks towards a future of recovery, Westfield Culver City remains a vital part of Culver City’s commercial landscape, embodying the resilience and adaptability that define successful retail centers in today’s world.