City News: November 2011 Archives

19th Annual 'Festival of Lights'

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2011
Final preparations for the
Mission Inn (top) and the ice rink

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2009
Main Street near the Mission Inn

The 19th Annual Festival of Lights is set to begin Friday afternoon (Nov. 25) in downtown Riverside, with the official "switch-on" ceremony & fireworks taking place just after 5:00 p.m. in front of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. (Be sure to arrive early for the opening night ceremony!)

Each year, thousands of visitors gather in and around the Mission Inn and along the downtown pedestrian mall for the daily festivities, which includes 3.6 million holiday lights, 400 animated figures -- one of the country's largest holiday displays.

Roving carolers, carriage rides, an ice rink, live entertainment, shopping, dining and -- of course -- photos with Santa round out the festivities.

This year's Festival runs daily from November 25 through January 8, 2012 (excepting Christmas).

As usual, free parking (street and garage) is available after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on the weekends and holidays. Your best bet is within five parking garages:

You can also check out activity via two city webcams: Mission Inn | Skating Rink

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2011
Forever 21 - Galleria at Tyler, Riverside
Photo Gallery: The Broadway / Macy's / Forever 21


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.

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October 1970
The Broadway
(Courtesy of Jim Van Schaak)

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2006
Macy's

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2011
Mall entrance

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2011
First level

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2011
Second level

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2011
North entrance

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

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* Courtesy of Jim Van Schaak

Sources: Riverside Public Library, The Press-Enterprise, Los Angeles Times, General Growth Properties, WikiPedia


More - City News: November 2011:
May 2012 | April 2012 | March 2012 | December 2011 | November 2011 | August 2011 | July 2011 | June 2011 | May 2011 | March 2011 | December 2010 | November 2010 | October 2010 | September 2010 | June 2010 | May 2010 | February 2010 | January 2010 | November 2009 | September 2009 | August 2009 | July 2009 | June 2009 | May 2009 | April 2009 | February 2009 | January 2009 | December 2008 | November 2008 | September 2008 | August 2008 | July 2008 | June 2008 | May 2008 | April 2008 | March 2008 | February 2008 | December 2007 | October 2007 | July 2007 | June 2007 | May 2007 | April 2007 | March 2007 | February 2007 | November 2006 | September 2006 | August 2006 | July 2006 | June 2006 | May 2006 | December 2005 | October 2004 | January 2004 | December 2003 | November 2003 |

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the City News category from November 2011.

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