Following 5 years of vacancy — and several months of renovation work — the former Broadway / Macy’s department store at Riverside’s Galleria at Tyler mall is once again occupied.
Last weekend, the doors to the distinctive building reopened as Forever 21 relocated its smaller inline mall store into the much larger pad located at the north end of the enclosed center.
We’re glad to see the building back in use. As we’ve previously stated, the building’s cantilevered (one | two)* style of architecture showcases department store design from a now bygone era. Designed by Los Angeles-based architectural firm of Charles Luckman & Associates, the 164,000 sq. ft. store originally opened as The Broadway in 1970 as part of the then newly-built Tyler Mall.
For 26 years, The Broadway nameplate remained atop the iconic 3-story building. It was replaced by Macy’s in 1996 after Federated Department Stores acquired Carter Hawley Hale Stores (parent company of The Broadway). In 2006, Federated again acquired a competing chain, this time May Department Stores. The acquisition resulted in Macy’s relocating into the Galleria’s freeway-friendly Robinson’s-May building, leaving the former Broadway pad vacant — until last Saturday.
This past July, Los Angeles-based Forever 21 began remodeling the vacant building. After seeing a similar move two years earlier by F21 into the former Harris’ / Gottschalks department store at Riverside Plaza, we were a bit unsure what to expect. That particular “remodel” appeared to be not much more than carpet cleaning, a few splashes of paint and some signage. Passable, but certainly not a full makeover.
However, results at the Galleria remodel are remarkably different. On the outside, the building looks as good as ever. All three exterior entrances were remade, including a sleek makeover of the north entrance, which essentially turned the space into a large window display (something sorely missing in today’s retail environment).
The interior remodel includes a clean and crisp design with touches of old-school department store flair. Though somewhat sparse in the middle sales floor areas, the makeover retained much of the former Broadway’s “department store” partitions, particularly on the second floor.
Overall, we’re pleasantly surprised with the makeover. The most jarring aspect was the remodeling of the escalator bank. The new look completely opened up the space by removing interior walls that had partially enclosed the escalators. Gone is the overhead lighting and interesting 1970s tiling that once lined the escalator walls. But more interesting is the disappearance of the escalators to the third floor. Published reports indicate F21 is occupying 106,000 of the building’s 164,000 square feet, which begs the question — what’s going on up on level three?
Also unclear is how space for the former California Room restaurant that was part of the original Broadway store (and for which exterior windows are still visible) is being used. It’s possible it may have been gutted under Macy’s reign, but we’re not sure.
In addition to the “missing” third floor, one other missing aspect left us scratching our heads. As part of its grand opening in 1970, The Broadway had placed a time capsule just outside the north entrance. For years, shoppers walked atop a metal plaque exclaiming that it was to be opened in 100 years (2070). However, as part of the remodeling of the north entrance, the time capsule is now gone. Where did it go? And what was in it?
Finally, yet to be answered is what will become of the Forever 21 currently at the Riverside Plaza. Speculation has F21 not renewing their lease for the former Harris’ / Gottschalks building across town, which is said to expire in September 2012. And based upon the much more permanent makeover given to the Galleria store, that outcome seems likely.
And if so, what would happen to the Plaza building? Relocating Riverside’s stand-alone Sears could be one option (though that could then leave the Charles Luckman & Associates designed Sears building in peril). But with fewer traditional department stores around these days, other options — including demolition — are possible.
However, we suppose the building’s 204,000 square feet could entice a large, non-department store retailer the likes of Ikea, which could be a good fit. The Swedish retailer has no Inland locations and has previously refurbished a former 3-story department store at a Carson mall in Los Angeles County. So maybe doing the same at Riverside Plaza is indeed plausible?
Photo Gallery: The Broadway / Macy’s / Forever 21
- RaincrossSquare.com – Work begins on vacant Broadway at Galleria at Tyler (July 2011) | Riverside’s Galleria at Tyler mall turns 40 (Oct. 2010) | Postcard: Harvest House at the Tyler Mall (April 2010) | Forever 21 at Riverside Plaza (Aug. 2009) | (Harris’) Gottschalks gone (July 2009) | Then & Now – Sears (May 2009) | ‘North Village’ opens at Galleria (Dec. 2007) | Then & Now – Galleria at Tyler: Part Two (Aug. 2007) | Then & Now – Galleria at Tyler: Part One (Aug. 2007)
- Flash: The Broadway (1970) to Macy’s (vacant/2006)
- Photo Gallery: Galleria at Tyler
Images courtesy of: * Jim Van Schaak
Sources: Riverside Public Library, The Press-Enterprise, Los Angeles Times, General Growth Properties, WikiPedia