Stanford Shopping Center

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Stanford Shopping Center
Stanford Shopping Center 1.jpg
Walkway at Stanford Shopping Center
Location Palo Alto, California, USA
Opening date 1955
Developer Stanford University
Management Simon Property Group
Owner Simon Property Group
No. of stores and services 140
No. of anchor tenants 4
Total retail floor area 1.4 million square feet
No. of floors 1

Stanford Shopping Center is an upscale open air shopping mall located on Route 82 (El Camino Real) at Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto, California. It is on the campus of Stanford University although the university only owns the land and not the actual buildings or stores. Also, unlike the rest of the campus, the shopping center and the neighboring Stanford University Medical Center are part of the city of Palo Alto, not the census-designated place (CDP) of Stanford, California. The shopping center buildings are owned by Simon Property Group, which manages the property and leases the land from the university.

The outdoor center is 1.4 million square feet (130,000 m²) and includes four major department stores: Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom. Retailers at the shopping center include Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Burberry, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Frette, as well as the first Victoria's Secret retail store.[1]


In 1954, excavators broke ground on what was once Leland Stanford's vineyards. Nine buildings housing 45 businesses were built. The Roos Brothers clothing store opened as the first retailer in September 1955 and Blum's restaurant opened on October 22, 1956, marking the completion of the center. Board of trustees Chair Lloyd Dinkelspiel and university President J. E. Wallace Sterling presided at the opening and Shirley Temple Black cut the first slice of a nine-tiered cake. San Francisco department store The Emporium and luxury specialty department store I. Magnin & Co. were the original anchors.

The center opened with great success and became one of the largest sources of unrestricted income for the university.

Macy's California joined the center in 1961 and Saks Fifth Avenue opened a store in 1962. Further expansion came again in 1972 with the addition Los Angeles-based Bullock's, owned by Bloomingdale's parent company Federated Department Stores. Bullock's only lasted 11 years, closing its northern California stores in 1983 and selling its Stanford location to Nordstrom, which opened in November 1984. Neiman Marcus became the sixth anchor in August 1985.

A department store shuffle occurred in the mid-1990s:

  • Saks Fifth Avenue closed in 1994.[2]
  • I. Magnin was rebranded as a Macy's men's store in 1995.[3]
  • The Emporium store was shuttered and rebranded as Bloomingdale's in November 1996.[4]

In 1997, the vacant Saks Fifth Avenue building was split into two tenants: Crate & Barrel and an Andronico's gourmet market.[5] Andronico's closed in 2011,[6] and was replaced by The Container Store in 2013.[7]

Later years[edit]

Throughout the years, the center has continued to evolve in terms of both tenants and construction and was managed by the university through its investment affiliate Stanford Management Company since 1991. However, in 2003, taking advantage of the high prices that shopping centers were fetching, the university's board of trustees agreed to sell the center for USD $333 million to Simon Property Group which, in turn, leases the underlying land from the university under a 51-year lease. The university's lease includes an annual rent equal to 25% percent of the center's net profits.

In 2012, Bloomingdale's announced plans to move into a new three-level 120,000 square foot store, vacating its existing building.[8] The new Bloomingdale's opened in 2014,[9] and the original building was demolished to make way for a new wing of retailers. That new wing, anchored by a multi-level Anthropologie flagship store and a True Food Kitchen restaurant opened in mid-2016.


External links[edit]