Westfield Plaza Camino Real

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Westfield Carlsbad
Westfield Plaza Camino Real - JCPenney Courtyard (2009-03-01).jpg
The JC Penney courtyard inside Westfield Plaza Camino Real
Location Carlsbad, California, US
Address 2525 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Opening date 1969
Developer May Centers, Inc.
Management Westfield Group
Owner Westfield Group
No. of stores and services 172 [1]
No. of anchor tenants 4
Total retail floor area 1.1 million ft²
Website Official Website

Westfield Carlsbad, is a shopping mall in Carlsbad, California, owned by Westfield Group. Its anchor stores are JCPenney, Macy's (in two locations) and Sears. A Robinsons-May closed in 2006.

Westfield America, Inc., a precursor to the Westfield Group acquired the shopping center in 1994, and renamed it "Westfield Shoppingtown Plaza Camino Real", dropping the "Shoppingtown" name in June 2005.


San Diego County's sixth mall was the first fully enclosed, regional-class shopping center in the metro area. At its dedication in 1969, Plaza Camino Real encompassed 548,000 leasable square feet, making it nearly three times the size of the region's first fully enclosed shopping complex, Escondido Village Mall (1964).

The 90-acre Plaza Camino Real site was located 32 miles north of San Diego's urban core. It extended along the southern side of the Vista Way / California Route 78 expressway, which had been dedicated in April 1962. Predominantly within the city of Carlsbad, the mall's parking area eventually included a small section in the city limits of Oceanside.

Plaza Camino Real was the second San Diego mall developed by May Centers. It was constructed in two phases, over a 10 year period. The first phase, featuring sixty-three stores, came inline in March 1969. Anchored by a 2-level (148,200 square foot) May Company of California and 2-level (154,000 square foot) J.C. Penney, the mall structure consisted of two levels of retail and included an F.W. Woolworth on its Lower Level. There was also an outparcel movie house across Marron Road, the Cinema Plaza. It opened for business, in August 1969, as the first twinplex in San Diego County.

The second phase of Plaza Camino Real consisted of 500,000 leasable square feet. It was added to the west side of the existing mall and was anchored by a 3-level (152,000 square foot), Los Angeles-based The Broadway and 2-level (148,900 square foot) Sears.

An official dedication of the second phase expansion was held October 24, 1979. The third anchor of the addition, a 2-level (115,000 square foot), Los Angeles-based Bullock's, came inline October 2, 1980. With the newly completed enlargement, Plaza Camino Real encompassed 1,148,400 leasable square feet. The mall assumed the position of the largest shopping center in San Diego County. It held this distinction until Fashion Valley Mall was enlarged, to 1,305,000 leasable square feet, in 1981.

Shopping complex competitors in the North County suburbs were Escondido Village Mall (1964) {15.6 miles southeast, in Escondido} and North County Fair / Westfield North Country (1986) {16.7 miles southeast, also in Escondido}. The Forum lifestyle center {8.1 miles southeast, in Carlsbad} was dedicated in 2003.

Plaza Camino Real was given a large-scale makeover during 1989, which included new tile flooring and escalators. A glass elevator was installed in the Penney's Court, along with innovative water fountains in front of the May Co. and Sears mall entrances. The Broadway Court was refitted with a unique mechanical clock.

Anchor rebrandings at Plaza Camino Real commenced with the conversion of May Company, to Robinsons-May, in January 1993. The Broadway was "Macy-ated" May 31, 1996, re-opening as a Women's Store.

The Bullock's chain, which had been acquired by Cincinnati-based Federated Stores in 1964, was sold to Macy's in 1988. Along with the "Macy-ation" of The Broadway stores, those with the Bullock's nameplate were also converted to Macy's. The Bullock's at Plaza Camino Real re-opened, as a Macy's Men's and Home Store, May 31, 1996.

Meanwhile, in 1994, Australia-based Westfield Holdings had acquired the mall. They rebranded it Westfield Shoppingtown Plaza Camino Real in late 1998...dropping the "Shoppingtown" reference in June 2005.

Robinsons-May was shuttered in March 2006. Its first level became a Steve and Barry's University Sportswear in September of the same year. This store closed in late 2008. At this time, Westfield Plaza Camino Real housed 148 stores and services. The proprietors "down under" announced a plan for its revitalization in 2009, which ended up being delayed by the sour economy.

This project would have converted the vacant Robinsons-May / Steve and Barry's into a megaplex cinema. A "Dining Terrace" Food Court, new specialty shops and three freestanding restaurants would also be built. Moreover, the circa-1980s interior and exterior would have been given a much-needed upgrade. Work was scheduled to get underway in early 2011.

However, Westfield delayed remodeling its Plaza Camino Real property and invested heavily in the renovation of two other San Diego shopping hubs, namely Westfield UTC [University Towne Centre] (1977) {in San Diego} and the aforementioned Westfield North Country.

In June 2013, Westfield announced plans for a long-delayed renovation of the Plaza Camino Real property. The vacant May Company / Robinsons-May structure was to be renovated by San Ramon, California-based 24 Hour Fitness, who would refit 40,000 square feet as a Super-Sport club. This was to include a basketball court, state-of-the-art training area, lap pool and exterior aquatic area. The remainder of the old Robinsons-May structure would be rebuilt as a 12-screen Regal megaplex.

The 100 million dollar remodeling would include new floors, ceilings and lighting for the interior of the mall. A Dining Terrace -the hallmark of newly renovated Westfield properties- would also be installed on the upper level of the shopping hub. Work was scheduled to commence in late 2013 with the tentative date of completion being November 2014. As a facet of the renovation, the mall will be renamed Westfield Carlsbad.


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