Westfield Mission Valley

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Westfield Mission Valley
Westfield Mission Valley.jpg
Westfield Mission Valley in 2006.
LocationSan Diego, California
Address1640 Camino Del Rio North, San Diego, CA 92108-1506
Opening dateFebruary 20, 1961; 59 years ago (February 20, 1961)
DeveloperMay Centers, Inc.
ArchitectDeems, Lewis, Martin & Associates
No. of stores and services100
No. of anchor tenants8 (6 open, 2 closed)
Total retail floor area1,139,602 sq ft (105,872.5 m2)[1]
No. of floors1
Public transit accessMission Valley Center

Westfield Mission Valley (formerly known as Mission Valley Center) is a retail complex consisting of a traditional open-air shopping mall and a power center, in Mission Valley, San Diego, owned by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, which the Westfield Group became part of in 2018. The traditional outdoor mall is anchored by Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Macy's Home & Furniture Store, Michaels, Nordstrom Rack, Bloomingdale's Outlet Store and AMC Theatres, while one major anchor building – originally the May Company, most recently Macy's – is now vacant. The power center across Mission Center Road is anchored by big box retailers DSW Shoes, West Elm, Old Navy, Trader Joe's and Marshalls.[2]


In early 1958, May Centers proposed rezoning 90 acres (360,000 m2) in the then sparsely-populated Mission Valley area of San Diego to build a shopping mall.[3] In June 1958, the San Diego City Council unanimously voted in favor of rezoning the 90 acres (360,000 m2) for the May plan.

Center Courtyard at Mission Valley Center
Center Courtyard at Mission Valley Center, 1961

By 1959, the mall was under construction, and completed in late 1960, with a grand opening on February 20, 1961. Designed by the San Diego-based architectural firm Deems-Lewis, the mall contained two large anchor spaces, occupied by Montgomery Ward, and May Company, 70 inline stores, as well as a large central courtyard. Due to its location in the floodplain of the San Diego River, the mall was designed with the stores on the level above the parking garage. Presumably, in the event of a flood, only the parking garage would be flooded, with the retail level untouched. It was San Diego's second mall, following the opening of the College Grove Center in 1960.[citation needed] National General Theatres Valley Circle Theater, part of the Mission Valley West strip center, opened December 23, 1966.[citation needed]

The mall underwent its first expansion in 1975, with the completion of a new 3-story Bullock's.[4] In 1983, the mall underwent a significant remodel, with a new northeast wing built, which also added a two-story Saks Fifth Avenue.[5] This helped mitigate the effect of a Mexican economic crisis and peso devaluation, as Mexican customers, who were estimated to make up about 15% of sales, were able to obtain fewer dollars with their pesos and thus had less to spend.[6]

In 1993, May Company rebranded as Robinsons-May as the chain merged with J.W. Robinson's. Robinson's had a location at the nearby Fashion Valley Mall that also rebranded by that new name. Westfield Group acquired the mall a year later. Along with this acquisition, another major renovation of the mall was undertaken, with a new AMC Theatres 20-screen multiplex built atop the south parking lot.[7] The renovation project also retrofitted several new stores in existing space in the northeast wing, including Michaels, Nordstrom Rack, Loehmann's, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Additionally, a large center courtyard, originally constructed as a children's playground, was covered over to provide space for a Ruby's Diner. Around this time, Macy's acquired the Bullock's chain of department stores, which led to a rebranding of the Bullock's as a Macy's (later became a Macy's Home and Furniture store since chain replaced The Broadway a month later at the nearby Fashion Valley Mall, moving all fashion departments to that location).[citation needed] Borders Books & Music, Marshalls, DSW, The Good Guys, and Old Navy were added in 1995 in the adjacent power center. The Good Guys closed in 2005, and it replaced by Golfsmith a year later. Borders Books & Music converted into Giant Book Sale until 2012. Trader Joe's and Ulta Beauty opened up in the former Borders Books & Music in 2013. In 2017, Golfsmith was converted into a Golf Galaxy store.

In 2001, one of the mall's original tenants, Montgomery Ward, was shuttered when the chain went bankrupt. A year later, Target opened in the former Ward's space. In 2006, Macy's completed its acquisition of May Company, and the former Robinsons-May store was subsequently rebranded as a Macy's.[citation needed] In March 2017, the Macy's closed as the chain closed 68 stores across the country.[8] The Macy's Home and Furniture store remains open at Mission Valley and a regular Macy's store remains open at nearby Fashion Valley Mall.

Anchor stores

Current tenant Former tenants/branding
Main anchors, main mall
Bed Bath and Beyond opened as Saks Fifth Avenue 1983, closed 1994
Macy's Home and Furniture opened as Bullock's Feb. 19, 1975[4]
Target Montgomery Ward (opening tenant 1961)
(eastern main anchor, currently empty) May Company (opening tenant 1961), Robinsons-May, Macy's
Walker Scott (opened 1973)[9][10]
Secondary anchors, main mall
AMC Theatres (original tenant, opened 1995)[7]
Bloomingdale's Outlet Loehmann's (1994-2014)
F21 Red and Michaels Sport Chalet (1999-2016), J.J. Newberry's (1961-1999)
Nordstrom Rack (opened in 1994)
(space on north side west of BB&B, currently empty) Michaels (until its relocation in 2018)
Mission Valley West power center or strip mall
The Akron (opened 1971)[11]
DSW Shoes -
Golf Galaxy The Good Guys, Golfsmith
Marshalls -
Old Navy -
Thrifty Drug Stores
Trader Joe's and Ulta Beauty Borders Books & Music
West Elm

Architecture of the former May Company building[edit]

The original modernist May Company (later Macy's) building was designed in 1959 by William S. (Bill) Lewis, Jr. for LA-based AC Martin (later of Deems-Lewis), Frank L. Hope & Associates backstopped the project locally.[12] It opened in 1961. It has been described by San Diego architectural photographer and historian Darren Bradley as an architectural icon, a "jewel box with a unique texture … striking architecture … the cladding all the way around the building … (is in) a modernist design that plays with light and shadow … designed to grab attention." This was part of a modernist landscape established in the area in the 1960s. As of January 2017, Westfield was considering a number of different plans for the use of the building.[13]

A 2015 study by the City of San Diego concluded that the building meets several criteria for qualification for the San Diego Resources register: an example of community development and of an identifiable architectural style (Modern Contemporary architecture of 1955–1965). However the report stated that the building did not qualify because of the lack of integrity of the original construction, due to replacement of some original tiles, altered walls, covering up of the building by new retail space set in front of it, removal of original pop-out display windows and "May Co." signage, and demolition of the 1958 canopy and columns, thus all together the alteration of more than 50% of the surface area of the original building exterior. It also did not qualify because it is not the "identifiable work" of a "listed Master Architect".[14]

Future plans[edit]

In August 2008, Westfield Group filed an application for a major renovation to the Westfield Mission Valley shopping center. The project envisioned a 500,000 sq ft (46,000 m2) expansion of retail space for stores, 50,000 sq ft (4,600 m2) of commercial space, adjacent condominiums and parking. Real estate industry experts expect the project to be long-term, and development to last five to ten years. By 2018, however, no renovations had been done to Westfield Mission Valley Shopping Center.[15]


  1. ^ "Westfield Mission Valley". Westfield Group. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  2. ^ "Stores at Westfield Mission Valley". Westfield Mission Valley official site. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  3. ^ Roger Showley (June 22, 2008). "Deja Vu in Mission Valley". The San Diego Union-Tribune.
  4. ^ a b Frick, Devin T. (2015). Bullock's Department Store. Arcadia Publishing. p. 127. ISBN 9781439650424. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  5. ^ Mission Valley Community Plan (PDF). City of San Diego. June 1985. p. 48. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  6. ^ Barbara Bay, "2 Shopping Centers Step Up Competition", The Los Angeles Times , 7 Dec 1982, Tue, Page 31
  7. ^ a b Marks, Scott (May 16, 2012). "San Diego's 10 Best Movie Theaters". San Diego Reader.
  8. ^ Showley, Roger (March 17, 2017). "Last days of Macy's in Mission Valley: Not much left but mannequins". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  9. ^ "Guide to the Walker Scott Department Store Records".
  10. ^ "Walker-Scott to Close All 6 of Its San Diego Stores". November 8, 1986.
  11. ^ Ad for The Akron, San Francisco Examiner, 12 Oct 1971, Page 5
  12. ^ Frank L. Hope & Associates
  13. ^ Fudge, Tom (January 24, 2017). "Mission Valley Architectural Icon Seeks Tenant As Macy's Departs". KPBS News. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  14. ^ (PDF). San Diego Dept. of Parks and Recreation, via State of California Resource Agency. December 2015 http://sandiego.cfwebtools.com/images/files/1702%20Camino%20Del%20Rio%20North.pdf. Retrieved April 15, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ Penni Crabtree; Roger Showley (August 6, 2008). "Westfield files plan for condos, offices in 'village'". San Diego Union-Tribune.

External links[edit]