Stonestown Galleria, originally Stonestown Shopping Center, was built in 1952 by the Stoneson brothers. It was built in the Lakeside neighborhood, bordering Lake Merced, along with apartments that could house 3,000–3,500 people. The major tenant, the Emporium department store, opened on July 16, 1952. Other early businesses included Walgreens, Butler Brothers, Gallenkamp Shoes, the Red Chimney restaurant and Woolworth's. There were stores for local residents, including a grocery store[QFI],a bakery, and movie theaters.
The Stoneston brothers aged and the mall was sold to a pension fund. Stonestown went through a renovation and major redevelopment in 1987, spearheaded by architect John Field. Field's plan added one story of stores, including a food court, a glass ceiling and marble floors, plus 350 new underground parking spaces. These changes led to the Stonestown Shopping Center being renamed Stonestown Galleria. The Emporium anchor store was converted to Macy's in 1996 when Macy's bought The Emporium.
In December 2003, Heitman Financial, the manager, abandoned efforts to construct nearly 300 new residential units and a grocery store on a parcel next to the mall's 42-acre (170,000 m2) site. Neighborhood groups complained that the project would worsen traffic congestion in the area and create safety and environmental problems. In 2004, General Growth Properties bought the mall from Pacific Acquisition Corp. for $312 million. Today, Stonestown's 160 in-line shops are fully occupied and generate sales of about $460 per square foot.
Stonestown has two stories and 160 stores. The anchors are two stories, but most in-line stores are one story. The hallways form a plus shape, with Macy's on the north side, and Nordstrom, Trader Joe's, Chase, Bank of America, and Sports Authority on the south side. There are four wings, two on level one and two on level two. A food court is on the second story. There are some skylights in the mall. Marble columns adorn the center court. As mentioned earlier, a demolition/rebuilding project in the late 1980s added many of the architectural features seen today.