Eastmont Town Center

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Eastmont Town Center
Eastmont Town Center sign, with the Oakland Hills in background
LocationFrick, Oakland, California, United States[1]
Opening dateMay 18, 1966 (May 18, 1966) (55 years ago)[2]
OwnerVertical Ventures
ArchitectWilliam Pereira

Eastmont Town Center is a shopping mall and social services hub[3] located on 33 acres (130,000 m2) bounded by Foothill Boulevard, Bancroft Avenue, 73rd Avenue, and Church Street, in the Frick neighborhood of East Oakland.[1] The mall opened in 1970 on the site of a 1920s-era Chevrolet automobile factory called Oakland Assembly. Architect William Pereira designed the building. It is physically almost next to, and by entry access a few blocks away from the similarly sized Evergreen Cemetery.


A "dead" corridor inside the mall in 2014

Originally known as Eastmont Mall, the mall was a popular and heavily used shopping destination during most of the 1970s and 1980s, but declined by the 1990s due to a huge drop in the average income level, and a concurrent increase in the crime rate in the mall and the surrounding neighborhoods. [4]

Eastmont's primary anchor tenants were JCPenney, Mervyns, Woolworth's (including a lunch counter), Safeway, Pay 'n Save and Kinney Shoes, one of the nation's leading shoe retailers at the time. Hickory Farms had a location in Eastmont Mall, and there were also branches of Smiths and Roos/Atkins, both popular regional men's clothing stores. The mall also housed a Syufy movie theater, opened in 1971, with four screens. Food choices included Orange Julius, Karmelkorn and the H. Salt Esquire fast-food seafood chain.

The Safeway store was actually part of the first phase of the mall, a freestanding location fronting Bancroft Avenue, and opened in the spring of 1966. The other stores adjacent to it were opened by 1967. The JCPenney wing began construction in 1968.[2]

Eastmont's JCPenney store was notable in that the signage for it, outdoors and at the inside entrances, was never converted to the "JCPenney" logo, rendered in the Helvetica font, introduced chain-wide in 1970 and installed in all subsequently built Bay Area locations (including Richmond's Hilltop Mall); the Eastmont location always retained the older "Penneys" logo as originally introduced in 1963, right up until the store shut down (all signage and advertising inside the store itself always conformed to then-current branding). This may have been intentionally done by JCPenney to protect the trademark on the older logo.

Eastmont Mall became the only remaining indoor mall in Oakland after the closure of the MacArthur-Broadway Center in North Oakland in the mid-1990s.

Chevrolet automobile plant production, ca 1917, San Leandro Hills in background.

JCPenney and Mervyns closed their Eastmont locations in the early 1990s. In the early 2000s, the mall was only 30 percent leased and had fallen into bankruptcy. Local real estate developers purchased the mall in 2000, and emphasized a focus on neighborhood and community services; many of the abandoned retail stores were converted into office space. The Mervyns location was converted into a substation for the Oakland Police Department and the JCPenney location was converted into a joint City of Oakland/Alameda County social services center. A handful of existing retail tenants stayed on, and a few new ones were attracted due to the success of the renovations, including Gazzali's Market (opened 2004), the only supermarket to serve the surrounding neighborhoods (this supermarket was a Safeway, as noted above, during the center's earliest years). In the spring of 2007, the mall was sold to a group of real estate investors based in Oregon.

A $6 million renovation of the property was completed in July 2008. The interior was brightened, new lighting, skylights and seating areas were installed, escalators and elevators were given an upgrade and the parking areas received new landscaping.

Currently, the mall houses the supermarket, a Social Security office, a branch of the Oakland Public Library, a primary care medical clinic operated by the Alameda County Medical Center, General Assistance and WIC offices, and other small businesses and social service organizations.

Eastmont was sold for $54.5 million in 2015 to Vertical Ventures, a private equity investment firm based in Walnut Creek.[5]

Bus station[edit]

The Eastmont Transit Center bus station adjacent to the mall opened on March 4, 2001. The Eastmont Transit Center is the second largest bus station in East Oakland after Fruitvale station, serving 15 routes that carry over 25,000 passengers a day combined.[6]

Eastmont Transit Center
Eastmont Transit Center in 2014.jpg
Eastmont Transit Center in 2014
Location7029-7085 Foothill Boulevard
Oakland, California
United States
Coordinates37°46′08″N 122°10′27″W / 37.768764°N 122.174138°W / 37.768764; -122.174138Coordinates: 37°46′08″N 122°10′27″W / 37.768764°N 122.174138°W / 37.768764; -122.174138
Line(s)Bus transport AC Transit: NL, 40, 45, 57, 73, 98, 638, 657, 680, 805, 840, RingCentral Coliseum Vaccine Shuttle
Bus transport Alameda County East Oakland Shuttle
Platforms9 bays[7]
Disabled accessDisabled access
OpenedMarch 4, 2001[8]

Bus service[edit]

The following AC Transit routes serve the Eastmont Transit Center station:[7]

The fare free Alameda County East Oakland Shuttle also connects the Social Security Administration Office at Eastmont Town Center with Oakland Coliseum station.[10]


  1. ^ a b Frick, Oakland, CA neighborhood | Nextdoor
  2. ^ a b "Oakland's Eastmont Mall". Mall Hall of Fame. Blogger.com. May 6, 2007. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  3. ^ https://www.mwaarchitects.com/work/eastmont-town-center-renovation-adaptive-reuse/
  4. ^ "Failed" Bay Area mall sold for $54.5 million, From the San Francisco Business Times website, accessed Jan 30, 2018
  5. ^ "Vertical Ventures Announces the Purchase of Eastmont Town Center in Oakland, CA - The Registry". The Registry. 2015-03-27. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
  6. ^ Appendix A Performance Data for Transit Operators Serving Alameda County June 2015 (Starts at Page A-1)
  7. ^ a b Eastmont Transit Center Map
  8. ^ AC Transit’s Attractive New Eastmont Transfer Center Open for Business March 4
  9. ^ "AC TRANSIT IS OFFERING FARE-FREE SHUTTLES TO THE OAKLAND-ALAMEDA COUNTY COLISEUM MASS VACCINATION SITE | Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District". www.actransit.org. Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Shuttles to County Buildings". Alameda County. 2016. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  • "How shopping mall became the Eastmont Town Center"; Oakland Tribune, February 29, 2004
  • "Rethinking an old box"; East Bay Business Times, November 10, 2000

External links[edit]