Razed, Rebuilt, Revived

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Update: Original opening date corrected from 1955 to 1956-57; renovation updated from mid-1980s to 1984

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Riverside Plaza - late 1950s
Riverside Plaza, LLC

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2005
Riverside Plaza

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: Rebirthing Riverside Plaza

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Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Plaza, The Press-Enterprise, Los Angeles Times


3 Comments

First, this site is fantastic. Excellent job. Could anybody out there get any pictures of the Riverside Plaza when it was active the first time it was an open mall (before 1984) and when it was a closed mall (1984-1999)? Something similar to the great Tyler Mall story would be nice. I lived in Riverside in the 1980s, and would like to see some pictures of the Plaza from then. This site is bringing back some good memories.

Chris, thanks for the kudos. A posting on the history of the Riverside Plaza is in the works (as is a photo gallery). Tracking down usable images, however, indeed has been a bit difficult. We would greatly accept any contributions folks may have.

Gottschalks is no longer in business, Forever 21 is in its place. There is also many more shops there, but I can't remember any. Sorry :(

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This page contains a single entry by RXSQ published on December 10, 2005 8:54 AM.

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