Can a reborn shopping center inject new life into an older suburban neighborhood? Indeed it can as witnessed with the recently rebuilt Riverside Plaza.
Opened in three stages in 1956-57 as an outdoor shopping plaza and enclosed during a 1984 renovation, Riverside’s first mall-like center has now come full-circle with its rebirth as an outdoor plaza once again.
As part of the rebuild, an assortment of new shops and eateries have planted roots with still more to come in a second phase currently under construction (“The Orchard Shops”). The only portion left from previous incarnations is the 1957 Harris-Gottschalks department store, itself receiving a complete makeover.
Also new to the mix is the addition of a Borders Books & Music and a 16-screen Regal Cinemas, which combined with the main street-like atmosphere and new eateries — including California Pizza Kitchen, Ooka Japanese Restaurant, Citrus City Grille — makes the new Plaza much more of a dining and entertainment destination than before. Oh, and we can’t forget about the relocated Trader Joe’s, which in reality is only about 25 yards from where it previously stood.
Likewise, adding extra life is the regularly-held events involving local schools and community organizations as well as “holiday flavoring” with a bit of fireworks during Fourth of July and a dash of snow during Christmastime.
More importantly, however, is that with the revival has come a renewed sense of place and reinvigoration within the surrounding Magnolia Center neighborhood, as highlighted in a recent article in the Los Angeles Times: Plaza revival breathes new life into Magnolia Center.
Slideshow: Riverside Plaza – Razed, Rebuilt, Revived
- RaincrossSquare.com – Rebirthing Riverside Plaza (Oct. 2004)
Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Plaza, The Press-Enterprise, Los Angeles Times