The Shops at Hilltop

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The Shops at Hilltop
Location Richmond, California, United States
Opening date 1976
Developer A. Alfred Taubman
Management LBG Real Estate Companies, LLC and Aviva Investors
Owner LBG Real Estate Companies, LLC and Aviva Investors
No. of stores and services 150 [1]
No. of anchor tenants 5
Total retail floor area 1.1 million ft² (102,193 m²) [1]
No. of floors 2

The Shops at Hilltop also known as "Hilltop Mall," is a shopping mall in the Hilltop neighborhood of Richmond, California. Hilltop is managed and co-owned by LBG Real Estate Companies, LLC and Aviva Investors, and is anchored by longtime tenants Macy's, Sears, and lastly Walmart, a 2007 addition.[2]


Hilltop Mall (now called The Shops at Hilltop) opened in September 1976, built on land previously occupied by an oil storage tank farm owned by the Chevron Corporation. The mall was developed by A. Alfred Taubman, who also developed several other shopping malls in the East and South Bay Area, including Eastridge Center in San Jose, Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton and Sunvalley Mall in Concord. Originally it was anchored by a bright red-tiled Capwell's, JCPenney and Macy's. Both Macy's and JCPenney originally had stores in downtown Richmond, but while Macy's had closed its downtown store a couple of years earlier, JCPenney kept its downtown store open for another year after Hilltop opened.[3] Capwell's changed its name to Emporium-Capwell in 1979, before becoming simply The Emporium in 1990. Sears was added in 1990 in a newly built north wing addition, which was the last expansion of this property.

Once opened the mall attracted the major anchors of Richmond's downtown, which became deserted, with several major national chain stores closing, although many acknowledge that the trend predated Hilltop due to economic and safety issues.[4][5]

A 2007 view of Hilltop Mall center court area with the gold anodized aluminum sculpture "Solar Cantata" by Charles O. Perry (1971)[6][7]

The mall remained largely unchanged until 1996 when the Emporium store closed following its merger with Federated, who owned Macy's. The store remained vacant until October 1998, when Macy's refurbished and relocated their existing store into the former Emporium space. However, Federated chose not to have two Macy's at Hilltop (unlike Sun Valley, Stoneridge, and others) and closed the original store. That building would remain vacant until Wal-Mart took it over in the spring of 2007.

The Taubman shopping center interests, which had become a publicly traded real estate investment trust in 1992, were reorganized in 1998 and the GM Pension Trust assumed full ownership of Hilltop Mall at this time, retaining Taubman Centers as manager.[8] In its turn, in 2004 the GM Pension Trust sold a half-interest in a portfolio of shopping centers, including Hilltop, to The Mills Corporation, which also assumed management of the center. After several years of delay, Wal-Mart opened on April 11, 2007 on the site Macy's vacated in 1998.

In July 2007, Simon Property Group purchased the entire Mills Corporation portfolio including other Bay Area properties: Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton, California and Great Mall in Milpitas, California. On December 23, 2011, shots were fired and the mall was closed due to a shopping frenzy over the retro Air Jordans that went on sale that day.[9] The mall later reopened but sales of the shoe were banned for the day.[9] Similar events occurred at the nearby Westfield Solano and the Bayfair Center malls in Fairfield and San Leandro, respectively.[9]

In August 2012, Greg Maloney, president of Jones Lang LaSalle Retail was appointed receiver by the Contra Costa Superior Court to assume management of the property due to Simon's loan default. JLL retained Michael Piazzola as its managing receiver. The property was foreclosed upon in June 2013 by US Bank as a trustee representing a consortium of lenders that underwrote the original Mills acquisition in 2007. Jones Lang LaSalle was retained as the manager post-foreclosure and has attempted to stabilize the asset in anticipation of its eventual sale by the trustee.

It was reported in March 2017 that the JCPenney store at Hilltop Mall was slated for closure.[10][11][12][13]


On July 2017, LBG Real Estate Companies, LLC and Aviva Investors announced the purchase of the Hilltop Mall property, which went into foreclosure by Simon Property Group in 2012 and then into auction. LBG plans to immediately work with urban planners to rebrand, redevelop and upgrade (both interior and exterior of the mall structural buildings) which is expected to take effect in 2017-2018 timeframe.[14]

LBG intends to plan a long-term mixed-use redevelopment that would have a sustainable capacity of more than 9,600 housing units at the property as well as office, hotel and entertainment uses.

In September 2017, the shopping center rebranded as "The Shops at Hilltop" due to upcoming modernization to the property.


Former anchors[edit]

  • Capwell's, Opened with mall in 1976 closed in 1996 following its merger with Federated; Macy's refurbished and relocated their existing store.
  • JCPenney, Opened with mall in 1976 (originally located in downtown Richmond) closed in July 2017. The property currently remains vacant.


Hilltop Mall has smaller clothing boutiques for men, women, teens, and children, in addition to main department store anchors of Macy's, Sears, Walmart, and JC Penney. It has shoe stores including Shiekh Shoes, Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, and Shoe Palace, and athletic stores such as Champs Sports and Finish Line

Hilltop Mall also features many other mainstream retailers, such as Claire's and Zumiez. Hilltop has places to snack, such as Maggie Moo's Ice Cream, Mrs. Fields Cookies, Auntie Anne's Pretzels, Subway, Cazuela's Grill, and Great Khan's Mongolian BBQ.

There are also jewelry stores, stationers, and gift stores. Boost Mobile and Cellphone Accessories. and others. Miscellaneous services include a hair salon, tattoo parlor, manicurist, portrait studios, a dentist and optometrists. There is a health bar at the 24 Hour Fitness Magic Johnson Sport gym.

American Carousel Works opened its first Bay Area carousel at Hilltop Mall in May 2009. It occupies the mall's center court and lounge area.

Notes and references[edit]

Oakland Tribune (Richmond-area edition), Sept. 3, 1976, page 13

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°58′51″N 122°19′42″W / 37.980725°N 122.32826°W / 37.980725; -122.32826