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. Stanford Shopping Center also includes such luxury retailers as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Burberry, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland.


Leland Stanford and Jane Stanford endowed Stanford University with "inalienable land", meaning the university cannot sell any of its original 8,800 acres (3,600 ha). After a drop in student enrollment and tuition revenues during World War II and then the sudden boom in enrollment after the war, Alf Brandin, the vice president for business affairs at Stanford, decided to look at real estate development as a way to generate revenue for the university.[1][2]

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.[1] 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.[1]

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.

Saks Fifth Avenue closed its store in 1994 and was replaced by Crate & Barrel and Andronico's food market. (The latter subsequently closed in 2011.)[3] By 1995, Federated Department Stores had acquired the Macy's, I. Magnin, and Emporium chains. As part of the company's reorganization, the I. Magnin chain was closed, and the location at Stanford became a separate Macy's men's store in 1995. The Emporium store was shuttered and rebranded as Bloomingdale's in November 1996. This became the first northern California location for that division of Federated.

Stanford Shopping Center was also the home to the original Victoria's Secret store, opened by Roy Raymond in 1977,[4] and the first mini Apple Retail Store.,[5] but it moved to a Larger space in 2013.

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.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Slice of cheese pizza at Tresidder Union: $2.75 Econ 1 textbook: $123.56 Undergraduate tuition: $29,847 Bloomingdale's across the street . . . Priceless By Jesse Oxfeld, (July/August 2004) Feature Story - STANFORD Magazine - accessed August 18, 2006
  2. ^ Stanford Shopping Center
  3. ^ Palo Alto Andronico's to close, Palo Alto Online, July 18, 2011 - accessed Sept 16 2014
  4. ^ 5 Things You Didn't Know: Victoria's Secret By Ross Bonander - Entertainment Correspondent, - accessed January 12, 2008
  5. ^ Apple Stores - 2001-2003 - accessed November 30, 2010

External links[edit]