Central City Mall

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sb_dt_harris_001c-400.jpg
2000
Harris'

sb-mall-c-002-400.jpg
2001
Montgomery Ward

sb-2003-dt-carousel-004-400.jpg
2003
J.C. Penney

It appears life as a mall is about to end for downtown San Bernardino's Carousel Mall, a.k.a. Central City Mall. A buyer has agreed to take control of the 72-acre property with plans for replacing the aging retail center with a more vibrant mix of condos, apartments, offices and shops.

Opened in 1972, Central City Mall was one of Inland Southern California's first large, indoor shopping centers. At its peak in the mid-1980s, the center boasted approximately 800,000 square feet of retail space with 3 primary anchor tenants: Harris', J.C. Penney and Montgomery Ward. More importantly, unlike nearly all malls of its day (and many years to come), it was located in the heart of downtown.

However, after a steady decline that began in the early 1990s and culminated with the closures of both Montgomery Ward and Harris' earlier this decade, today's Carousel Mall boasts no anchor tenants and contains only a small mix of retailers and a few non-retail businesses.

Although it will be difficult to see the downtown mall demolished, it's quite obvious the best use for the property is indeed something other than an empty indoor shopping center. The mall simply cannot compete with the newer and larger malls (Victoria Gardens, Ontario Mills, etc.) that have appeared within the past decade on the more affluent edges of the mall's primary market base.

And, with today's growing acceptance of true mixed-used developments (residences, retail and offices), the mall's large parcel in the center of downtown offers San Bernardino some of the best chances at reinvigorating its central core with a strong daily -- and nightly -- presence once again.



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This page contains a single entry by RXSQ published on September 29, 2005 10:52 PM.

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