Horton Plaza Mall
|Location||San Diego, California, US|
|Address||324 Horton Plaza, San Diego, California|
|Opening date||August 9, 1985|
|Developer||The Hahn Company|
|Owner||Stockdale Capital Partners|
|No. of stores and services||35|
|No. of anchor tenants||7 (2 open, 5 vacant) |
|Total retail floor area||758,003 sq ft (70,420.8 m2)|
|No. of floors||5|
|Public transit access||Civic Center station|
Horton Plaza, not to be confused with its adjacent namesake Horton Plaza Park, is a five-level outdoor shopping mall located in downtown San Diego known for its bright colors, architectural tricks, and odd spatial rhythms. It stands on 6.5 city blocks adjacent to the city's historic Gaslamp Quarter. It was the first successful downtown retail center since the rise of suburban shopping centers decades earlier. Nordstrom closed in 2016, leaving a vacant anchor store. The only current anchor store is Macy's. In August 2018, the property was sold to developer Stockdale Capital Partners, which plans to convert it into an office-retail complex.
A 1972 proposal for the shopping center and a redevelopment district arose out of plans to "refurbish San Diego's historic town plaza", Horton Plaza. Due to numerous setbacks and resistance from preservation groups, construction did not begin until 1982. The plaza is named for Alonzo Horton, who was largely responsible for the location of downtown San Diego.
1980s - 1990s
Horton Plaza was the $140 million centerpiece of a downtown redevelopment project run by The Hahn Company, and is the first example of architect Jon Jerde's so-called "experience architecture". When it opened in August 1985, it was a risky and radical departure from the standard paradigm of mall design. The building's design featured mismatched levels, long one-way ramps, sudden drop-offs, dramatic parapets, shadowy colonnades, cul-de-sacs, and brightly painted facades constructed around a central courtyard.
Jerde's project was based on Ray Bradbury's essay "The Aesthetics of Lostness". In it he extolled the virtues of getting "safely lost" as adults inspired by side streets of Paris, London, or New York.
Horton Plaza was an instant financial success and while some credited it for revitalizing downtown San Diego, others said the revitalization benefitted the mall.
In 1993, Sam Goody and Planet Hollywood announced they would be opening stores in the former J. W. Robinson's site in 1994. In 1995, United Artists Theatres announced they would be building 7 new screens into 7 screens to make it 14 in 1996.
In 1998, the owners of the mall sold it to the Westfield Group, which renamed the mall Westfield Horton Plaza. In 2014, Westfield split into two companies, Scentre Group for Australia and New Zealand malls, and Westfield Corporation for American and European malls. In 2018, Westfield Corporation was acquired by Unibail-Rodamco, and it was rebranded as Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.
2000 - 2017
Planet Hollywood announced it would be closing in 2001, and it was replaced with Express. In 2005, Mervyn's and Express, Inc. announced they would be closing early that year. Both were replaced by Steve & Barry's University Sportswear, which closed in 2009.
The Musicland Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2006, and in February it announced the closing of 226 Sam Goody and 115 Suncoast Motion Picture Company stores, and all Media Play locations.
On January 11, 2011, the San Diego City Council unanimously approved a plan to raze the former Robinsons-May building on the north side of the mall to make way for a 37,000 square feet (3,400 m2) urban park, effectively enlarging the adjacent, historic Horton Plaza and Broadway Fountain. Westfield partnered with the city to renovate and restore the area into an urban park and public gathering place called Horton Plaza Park. Westfield agreed to operate the park and schedule events, which could include concerts, movie screenings, and celebrations. Horton Plaza Park will have a 53,000 square-foot venue, a Cabrillo Theater, an interactive pop-jet fountain, and 23-foot-tall color-changing statues. The new Horton Plaza Park had its grand opening on May 4, 2016.
In 2012, Westfield said it would not renew the lease on the Jessop's Clock and gave its owners (descendants of the clock's builder, Joseph Jessop) six months to find a new location for it. However, the heirs had trouble finding an appropriate location, and as of 2016, the clock was still at Westfield Horton Plaza.
In 2013, armed police descended on the mall after receiving a tip that fugitive Christopher Dorner was spotted in the mall. One man was arrested by police, though it later was revealed to be a case of mistaken identity.
On June 24, 2016, Nordstrom announced it would close on August 26, 2016, leaving one anchor (Macy's) left in the mall.
On November 22, 2016, a local woman who had previously been reported as suicidal shot herself in the middle of the crowded mall after leading police on a chase. 
In July 2017, a shooting occurred at the mall in which an active duty Navy personnel was killed and his cousin wounded after getting into a confrontation with another man. Just three days after this incident, another man committed suicide by jumping from the plaza's balcony in an unrelated incident.
2018 - present
In August 2018, the complex was sold to Stockdale Capital Partners, which plans to develop it into The Campus at Horton, an office and retail complex. They propose an "innovation hub" focusing on technology and biotechnology companies, while retaining some retail, food and beverage, and entertainment offerings. They hope to begin construction in 2019 with a completion date of fall 2020. The proposed redevelopment is under fire from architecture preservationists, who are working to corral votes to persuade city leaders to declare Horton Plaza a historic building.
Most of the center is closed, and the few remaining retailers include Banana Republic and Victoria's Secret. The Regal cinemas in the complex, which opened in 1985, closed in February 2019. In April 2019, Jessop's Clock was dismantled and moved into temporary storage while it awaits a lease to be signed for its new location.
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- Bell, Diane (June 27, 2012). "Historic Jessop's clock must find a new home". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- "Man Cuffed in Horton Plaza Dorner Sighting". NBC 7 San Diego. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
- "Woman Dies After Shooting Self at Horton Plaza Mall". NBC 7 San Diego. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
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- Hessedal, Brandon Lewis, Kelly. "Man killed in weekend shooting at Horton Plaza identified". Retrieved 2017-10-20.
- Repard, Pauline. "Man leaps from Horton Plaza shopping mall". sandiegouniontribune.com. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
- Huard, Ray (August 26, 2018). "Horton Plaza Sold". San Diego Business Journal. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
- Van Grove, Jennifer (December 16, 2018). "Should Horton Plaza be preserved?". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Westfield Horton Plaza.|
- an evolution of the shopping mall urban form, with pictures of Horton Plaza
- Information on Horton Neighborhood
- Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA