Thursday, September 25, 2008
As urban planners push for ever-increasing density in Southern California, one of the region's biggest real estate developers is preparing to build Southern California's first vertical shopping mall on Wilshire Boulevard.
Shopping centers that rise several stories are a staple in Asia, Europe and a few tightly packed American cities but have been shunned in the past by builders in land-rich Southern California. Customers here are accustomed to malls that spread horizontally and have balked at traveling up and down more than a floor or two for casual shopping.
Shown above is Water Tower Place which is a 1970s-vintage vertical shopping mall on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Despite its age and chrome-and-glass decor, the mall continues to draw in hordes of shoppers. Two department stores, Macy's (once Marshall Fields) and Lord & Taylor, anchor the mall.
Now, Los Angeles developer Jerry Snyder and his J.H. Snyder Co. partner Michael Wise are planning to break with local tradition and put up a seven-story mall near the Red Line station at Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue that would house perhaps 100 stores under rooftop restaurants and a cinema complex in 300,000 square feet.