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Bookshelf: 'More Than a Place to Pitch a Tent'

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Hurkey Creek, Crestmore Manor, Lake Skinner, Idyllwild Park, Box Springs Mountain and Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve -- six of the 20 varied parks, museums, recreational and nature centers of Riverside County covered in a new book by local historian Steve Lech.

The 150-page, hardcover book -- "More Than a Place to Pitch a Tent" -- tells the stories behind Riverside County's major regional parks, with background information on how they came to be and how they were named. Numerous color and B&W photos from the past and present help illustrate the histories. Steve also delves into the insights and backgrounds for the six directors of the county's Parks Department following its creation in 1960 (it was previously administered as part of the county's Road Department).

In the book are several Riverside-area parks, including Box Springs Mountain Preserve, Hidden Valley Wildlife & Nature Center and Martha McLean - Anza Narrows Park. Steve points out that all three had been threatened by development pressures before becoming incorporated into the county's parks system.

Of particular interest to us is the background of Hidden Valley. The park, which straddles the Santa Ana River in northwestern Riverside near Norco, had been an upscale gun/hunt club from about 1957 until the early 1970s. Members included Clark Gable, Ernie Kovacs, Roy Rogers, Lawrence Welk, Les Richter and Jimmy Doolittle. Today, the old clubhouse serves as the park's nature center.

We also found intriguing the stories behind Lake Skinner near Temecula, Bogart Park in Beaumont, Lawler Lodge near Idyllwild and Crestmore Manor in Jurupa Valley. Crestmore, with its stately home,* was built for Los Angeles restauranteur and thoroughbred horse breeder Tiny Naylor (yes, of Googie coffee shop** fame). Unknown to us prior to reading the book was that noted Riverside architect Herman O. Ruhnau (Riverside City Hall) was the designer of Crestmore.

Steve is the president of the Riverside Historical Society and author of several local history books, including "Riverside: 1870-1940" and "Riverside in Vintage Postcards," both from Arcadia Publishing. Most impressive is "Along the Old Roads," Steve's in-depth book on early Riverside County history and the factors behind its formation. The book is a must-have reference for local historians.

Most of Steve's books can be found at local museums and some bookstores. You can also visit his history blog for contact info on purchasing the books.

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* Courtesy of Riverside County Regional Park and Open Space District
** Courtesy of Yesteryear Remembered

Sources: "More Than a Place to Pitch a Tent" (Steve Lech)


18th Annual 'Festival of Lights'

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2009
Main Street near the Mission Inn

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2009
Pedestrian mall ice rink

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2009
Pedestrian mall
at Mission Inn Avenue

The 18th Annual Festival of Lights is set to begin Friday, Nov. 26 in downtown Riverside, with the official "switch-on" ceremony taking place just after 6:00 p.m. in front of the Mission Inn. This year's Festival runs from November 26 through January 2, 2011 (excepting Christmas).

Each year, thousands of visitors crowd the areas in and around the Mission Inn and along the downtown pedestrian mall for the festivities, which includes over 3.5 million holiday lights and animated figures, an ice rink, live entertainment, shopping, dining and -- of course -- photos with Santa.

This year, the city is seeking photos for creating what it hopes will be the world's largest holiday card for U.S. troops. The card will be a 20-by-30-foot collage of submitted photos and messages. You can submit your photo/message at the city's 'Festival of Lights' Website. There will also be a both on the pedestrian mall on selected days. Photos must be submitted by December 5th.

As usual, free parking (street and garage) is available after 5 p.m. during the week and all day on the weekends and holidays. Your best bet for easy parking is within five parking garages -- three on Orange Street: Ninth | University | Mission Inn; and two on Market Street: Ninth | University.

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A look at local history books

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A Colony for California
Riverside Museum Press

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Riverside 1870-1940
Arcadia Publishing

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Riverside in
Vintage Postcards

Arcadia Publishing

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Riverside - Then & Now
Arcadia Publishing

Recently, local historian Hal Durian's weekly "Riverside Recollections" column spotlighted several local history books, including the very popular photo history books from Arcadia Publishing.

The Arcadia series includes several topics, including Images of America, Postcard History Series, Then & Now, Black America Series, Images of Sports, and Campus History Series.

Locally, several communities have been profiled in the Arcadia series, including: Riverside, Corona, Norco, Jurupa, Rubidoux, Moreno Valley, Hemet, San Jacinto, Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Springs, San Bernardino, Redlands, Loma Linda, Montclair, Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, and Big Bear.

Several cities, such as Riverside, even have multiple books: Riverside 1870-1940, Riverside in Vintage Postcards, Riverside - Then & Now, Riverside's Mission Inn, Riverside's Camp Anza & Arlanza, and Arlington.

There are also a number of single-topic books: Norconian Resort, March Air Force Base, Kaiser Steel, Fontana, The Harris' Company, Lake Mathews & Gavilan Hills, and Temecula Wine Country, and Route 66 in California.

Beyond the Arcadia books, which offer mostly a cursory review of local history in a quick, easy-to-digest visual format, there are several other local history books of Riverside to take note of.

In particular, local author Joan H. Hall has done great work documenting several aspects of Riverside. Her "Adobes, Bungalows and Mansions of Riverside, California - Revisited" (with co-author Esther H. Klotz) and "Cottages, Colonials and Community Places of Riverside California" are two of the best such works, offering insight on many of Riverside's homes, buildings and sites.

Hall has also wrote (and/or co-authored) several other important local histories, including "A Citrus Legacy," "Through the Doors of the Mission Inn," "Pursuing Eden," and "History of Citrus in the Riverside Area."

Along with Hall's many books, two other books are worth noting for their more in-depth look at local history: Steve Lech's, "Along the Old Roads -- A History of the Portion of Southern California that Became Riverside County, 1772-1893," which gives background information for communities of Riverside County; and the late Tom Patterson's, "A Colony for California," which is a loose collection of both factual and anecdotal accounts of Riverside's first one hundred years (1870-1970).

Most of these books are found at area museums and many local shops, plus Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. They can also be found on Amazon.com (click here for direct links to each book). And of course, the Arcadia books can also be found at Arcadia Publishing.


Wall Street Journal plant closes

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After nearly 50 years of printing the Southern California edition of the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Co. has shuttered its Riverside printing facility. Along with the WSJ, the facility has also printed the regional editions of Barron's Weekly and, more recently, the New York Post.

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2009
Signage

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2009
Entrance

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2009
Overview
Bing Maps

The Riverside operation is one of several regional printing facilities recently closed by Dow Jones & Co. as part of restructuring due to decreased print demand and the signing of printing contracts with local newspapers. Other plants shuttered include those in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Orlando, and Des Moines, IA. Locally, it appears the Los Angeles Times has taken over printing of the regional edition of the WSJ.

The Riverside plant began operations in 1961/62. City permits issued in the summer of 1961 show the building comprising 29,542 sq. ft. with an approximate value of $440,000. Its location atop a small hill near Riverside Municipal Airport helped the plant keep a relatively low profile, with many residents vaguely aware of its existence.

At one point, Dow Jones -- which became part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. media empire in 2007 -- held a minority interest in the Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper. In 1996, however, Dow Jones sold its 21.5% stake in The Press-Enterprise to Dallas-based Belo Corp., which eventually bought the regional newspaper from its longtime owners, the Hays family, in 1997.

No word yet on what is to become of the
well-manicured Riverside WSJ facility and surrounding land, both of which are reportedly owned by Dow Jones. However, the plant's closing is likely to be felt at Riverside-based Wall's Hauling. The small, family-owned business has delivered the Wall Street Journal -- its largest client -- throughout Southern California since the Riverside facility opened.

Related

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2009
Sleek lines
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2009
Chic ashtray
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2009
Landscaping
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2009
Parking


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2009
Trucking docks
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2009
Rail spur
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2009
Rail dock

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


Forever 21 at Riverside Plaza

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This weekend marked the grand opening of Forever 21 clothing stores inside former Gottschalks/Harris' buildings at Riverside Plaza and Hemet Valley Mall. The stores are part of the Los Angeles-based retailer's aggressive growth plans that includes new large-format stores, many of which are currently taking up residence within former Mervyn's and Gottschalks stores.

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2009
Forever 21

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1964
Harris'

In excess of 50,000 sq. ft. -- well above the majority of the chain's existing mall stores, most of which are under 10,000 sq. ft. -- these larger stores will include a wide-ranging mix of clothing and accessories for both men, women and youth. More recently, the chain began opening 20,000 sq. ft. stores, including a location at The Shoppes at Chino Hills.

Initially, the Riverside location will take up 90,000 sq. ft. on two levels of the 204,000 sq. ft., 3-story store, which opened in 1957 as Harris'. Future plans call for possible expansion into some of the third floor, likely making it one of the largest stores in the chain. What will eventually become of the unused portions of the building -- including a basement -- remain unknown.

Earlier this year, the chain opened a large-format store in a former Mervyn's store in Victorville. A fourth Inland Southern California store is expected to open later this fall inside a former 3-story, Macy's/Broadway department store at Inland Center mall in San Bernardino. Once fully occupied, it will likely rival the Riverside location in eventual size.

It'll be interesting to watch how these new large-format stores evolve -- and perform -- for the mostly youth-oriented clothing chain. At the very least, the re-using of the former Gottschalks/Harris' (Riverside) and Macy's/Broadway (San Bernardino) have forestalled any potential demolition of the mid-century department store buildings.

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Sources: The Press-Enterprise, Riverside Plaza, City of Riverside


Julius Shulman

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Probably no other photographer had as much an impact on presenting -- even selling -- Mid-Century Modern architecture than did Julius Shulman, who died Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 98.

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1960
Case Study House #22
Julius Shulman / Getty Images

Among the many photographs taken by Shulman were projects by the likes of Richard Neutra, Rudolf M. Schindler, Charles Eames, Albert Frey, Pierre Koenig, Eero Saarinen, A. Quincy Jones, John Lautner and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Although the majority of his work was in B&W, Shulman's mastery of light, shadows and contrasts invoked a sense of color in his images, many of which showcased the post-war, modern designs emerging throughout Southern California (especially in Los Angeles and Palm Springs -- including the famed Kaufmann House). His perception of angles and scene setting often added a softer human side to the starkness present in MCM designs.

Shulman's most famous photo was that of Pierre Koenig's, glass-walled, "Case Study House #22," (aka, The Stahl House), perched atop the Hollywood Hills overlooking the city lights of Los Angeles. Probably no single image captured the optimistic spirit of the "good life" as promised by America's sleek future as did this one photograph.

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(Harris') Gottschalks gone

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July 2009
Store closing

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July 2009
Sign says it all

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July 2009
Final day

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1964
Back in the day

This past weekend saw the end of an era as Fresno-based Gottschalks closed for good on Sunday. For local folks, this also means an end to what once was the remnants of San Bernardino-based The Harris Co., which operated 7 department stores across Inland Southern California before the chain was sold to Gottschalks in 1998.

At the Riverside Plaza location, shoppers crowded parts of the first floor to buy merchandise that had been reduced up to 95% in the store's final days. Also up for sale were fixtures and even signage. Other areas of the selling floor had already been stripped bare of most merchandise.

The 3-story (plus basement) store will be transformed into a large-format Forever 21, which is expected to open sometime in August. Yet to be made public is exactly how much of the 204,000 sq. ft. former Gottschalks will be used by Forever 21. It's possible sub-leasing might take place.

As for both Gottschalks and Harris', what began in 1904 and 1905 respectively, is now history. The story behind both chains offer similar parallels, each having been founded by newly immigrated German families (Emil Gottschalk and Philip, Herman and Arthur Harris respectively).

Although Gottschalks grew much faster as a chain in the post-war years relative to Harris', both chains remained independently owned for many decades, thriving on local control and insights. For Harris', this led to a very loyal customer base, becoming what many considered the Marshall Field's of the Inland region.

By 1981, however, the smaller Harris' chain was facing stiffer competition against the larger department stores. It was at this time that third-generation members of the Harris family decided to sell the Inland Southern California chain to Spanish retailer El Corte Ingles.

And by the time of their 1998 merger -- in which the 7 local Harris' stores were re-branded as Harris'-Gottschalks -- both chains were beginning to struggle against the national department stores and discount chains. Within 10 years, signs of possible selling off to larger chains began to surface at Gottschalks, none of which managed to fully materialize. As such, it was a dire economy that finally ended the chain for good as Gottschalks filed for bankruptcy in early 2009.

In today's mega-franchise retailing environment, such personalized regional chains are a rarity (and likely to become even more so). And with Sunday's closure of the 58-store Gottschalks chain -- most of which were located in California -- the last remnants of Harris' is no more as well.

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Update

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July 2009
Last day!
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July 2009
Empty cases
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July 2009
Clearing out
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July 2009
Display sales


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July 2009
Escalator up
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July 2009
Nothing left
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July 2009
RIP
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July 2009
'H' for Harris'



Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise, Fresno Bee, Riverside Plaza, "The Harris Company" (Aimmee L. Rodriguez, Richard A. Hanks, Robin S. Hanks)


After decades of nearly unfettered sprawl, the time has come to seriously begin changing the basic developmental patterns of Inland Southern California.

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2006
Corona Pointe
Corona

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2006
Crossroads Corporate Center
Murrieta


Ontario

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Downtown Riverside
MetroPacific Properties, LLC

Gone should be the days of leap-frogging, low-density development. In its place, should come more balance, both in densities and in types. More mid- and high-rise development coupled with higher percentage of business and commercial projects (and less residential).

As previously mentioned (one | two), we're not suggesting New York City style mega-density, but pockets of moderate densities -- particularly in downtown Riverside and around Ontario Airport -- similar to those found within the downtowns of Pasadena, Glendale, Santa Monica and Long Beach.

If the recent recession has demonstrated any major weakness within Inland Southern California, it's the region's lack of commercial maturity and continued reliance upon warehousing and residential development as its primary form of economic growth. Not only has such dependence created an unbalanced (and unreliable) economic engine, it's left the region with an unbalanced (and wasteful) landscape, one dominated by sprawling development and ever-growing commutes.

Quite simply, area residents, builders and government officials alike must begin accepting -- and more importantly, insisting -- on better quality, higher density, more diverse development patterns focused more around jobs and less on housing tracts. Moreover, such future development needs to be coupled with -- and encourage -- alternative transportation, else this region will remain a land of nightmarish commutes.

However, amid the hardships of the current economic downturn lies a silver lining. Or better yet, think of it as a golden opportunity. A chance for Inland Southern California to catch its breath, re-focus and begin adding balance back to the region's landscape. Fortunately, a smattering of projects, both built and proposed (some of which are stalled due to the current economic climate) may signal change is afoot. But just as it took several decades to get to where we are today, it will likely take several to re-balance. But without a doubt, the transformation needs to begin sooner rather than later.

Thus, the question remains -- will we take advantage of the current slowdown to begin addressing and planning for the region's long-term, sustainable economic and lifestyle needs? We think the clear answer is -- can we afford not to?


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AVP Crocs Tour 'Riverside Open'

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On the heels of last weekend's Downtown Street Jam, the AVP / Crocs Tour "Riverside Open" rolled into town Thursday for a four-day, professional beach volleyball tournament.

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AVP

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Photo Gallery: Saturday, April 18

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Photo Gallery: Sunday, April 19

The event, which is being staged at a temporary "sandbox" and grandstand located at Market and Third streets (near the convention center), is the second stop on the 2009 schedule and the first time the tour has stopped within the Inland region. A total of 3,500 tons of crisp, clean white sand was trucked in to create the 15 volleyball courts.

Many well-known players are participating, including last year's Beijing Olympics gold medal team of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser. (Unfortunately, the women's gold medal team of Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor are not playing due to Walsh's pregnancy.)

Free parking -- including in the city's downtown parking garages -- will be available after 5 p.m. on Friday and all day on the weekend. And, of course, food and drinks can be had at the various downtown eateries, restaurants and bars, both on and off the pedestrian mall.

Other stops on the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) 2009 tour include Houston, Atlanta, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas -- and Mason, Ohio, Muskegon, Michigan and Glendale, Arizona.

So, grab your shades and sunscreen and head to downtown Riverside for some deep digs, hard spikes -- and bikinis.

The schedule for the remaining three days are:

Friday, 10 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. - Men's and Women's Main Draw Competition
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5:15 p.m. - Men's and Women's Main Draw Competition
Saturday, 7:30 - 10:30 p.m. - Men's and Women's Main Draw Competition (Night Session)
Sunday, 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., with the women's final at 2:30 p.m. and the men's final at 4 p.m.

Tickets are $10-$40 daily or $60-$120 for all sessions.

For those who can't make it, check out live AVP coverage for Saturday/Sunday here.

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Local malls holding their own

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On the heels of the worst holiday shopping season since 1969, the nation's retail landscape is likely headed for moderate changes as weak and battered retailers file for bankruptcy protection, close stores and/or shut down entirely. The transformation could see shoppers, both nationally and locally, greeted in the coming months with more than a few empty storefronts lining the halls and pathways of their favorite malls and shopping centers.

Thus far, former retail giants Circuit City, Mervyn's and KB Toys have each announced full closures, while regional department store Gottschalks recently filed for bankruptcy protection. Though the closures of the former have affected nearly every mall nationwide, Gottschalks -- if forced to close -- could spell additional trouble locally as the Fresno-based retailer has anchor stores at 7 area malls. (It could also bring a final end to a local retail empire that began in 1905 as The Harris Company).

Another potentially large impact locally is whether national mall owners will shed some or all local malls as they struggle under the weight of debt during a very tight credit market. With the possibility of reorganization on the horizon, Chicago-based General Growth Properties -- owner of four local malls, including three of the region's largest -- in particular could add additional stress to the local retail scene.

So, where does this recent -- and potentially future -- turbulence leave local malls? Let's take a closer look at each.


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2006
Carousel Mall

Carousel Mall - San Bernardino

For all intents and purposes, this mall is already dead. Opened with great fanfare as Central City Mall in 1972, the 37-year-old, Victor Gruen-designed center began its decline in the mid-1990s, not long after being rechristened as the Carousel Mall. In 2000, the flagship Harris' department store closed (it had opened independently in 1927). The remaining anchors, Montgomery Ward and JCPenney departed soon thereafter (2002 and 2003 respectively). Although a planned mixed-use redevelopment has stalled, it's not likely the few remaining stores will survive the current retail environment.


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2001
Redlands Mall

Redlands Mall

Tiny by mall standards, the Redlands Mall is likely to be the next area mall to fall -- particularly if General Growth Properties reorganizes and/or Gottschalks closes. Such a closure would leave the 32-year-old mall without its only department store. However, this may not be such a bad thing as it could expedite pending redevelopment of the downtown block into a mixed-use project that will both complement and enhance the existing retail and commercial uses on State Street.


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2003
Hemet Valley Mall

Hemet Valley Mall

HVM is another relatively tiny mall that could potentially be greatly impacted by Gottschalks' bankruptcy. A closure by Gottschalks here would leave the 29-year-old mall with two anchors (JCPenney and Sears). However, with the Hemet-San Jacinto area primed for future growth (and still relatively underserved retail-wise), it's doubtful an empty anchor would remain unused over the long haul. The center's biggest threat is likely to be any future large-scale retail development that may occur nearby in the coming years.


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2006
Inland Center

Inland Center - San Bernardino

With the fall of Mervyn's, which had been slated to fill the shuttered Broadway/Macy's, and the recent bankruptcy announcement by Gottschalks, this mall is probably the largest local mall potentially on shaky ground. The 43-year-old center could very well end the year with two of four anchor pads empty (leaving Macy's and Sears). However, with the all-but-final demise of nearby Carousel Mall nearly complete, coupled with potentially having two available department store pads, Inland Center could also have a slight advantage redevelopment-wise when the economy picks back up.


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2006
Promenade Shops

The Promenade Shops at Dos Lagos - Corona

Another small, non-traditional mall, The Promenade Shops in Corona could be the newest center that's struggling the most. Depending upon how the national retail landscape shakes out, the center's lack of large department stores could either hurt or help. In the short term, the 3-year-old center could very well see some store closings. However, its location within a high-growth and higher-end demographic corridor likely assures a future of some sort (though it could use help increasing its visibility). It also has that unique lake/bridge feature to boot. Even so, its biggest threat is the nearby Galleria at Tyler in Riverside, which includes a Nordstrom, Macy's and over 100 more stores than does Dos Lagos.


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2006
Moreno Valley Mall

Moreno Valley Mall at Towngate

Already impacted by last year's closure of its Gottschalks store (which remains empty), the Moreno Valley Mall could see significant impacts from any potential reorganization of General Growth Properties. The 17-year-old center was slated to receive a Steve & Barry's, until that company joined the ranks of shuttered retailers last fall. However, with three other anchors -- Macy's, JCPenney and Sears -- the mall, which has struggled in the past, remains relatively healthy. Likewise, future long-term growth to the east and south favor its survival.


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2005
Riverside Plaza

Riverside Plaza

Another one-anchor mall that could be greatly impacted by any potential closure of Gottschalks is the venerable Riverside Plaza. As the region's oldest, large-scale shopping center, the 52-year-old, Victor Gruen Associates-designed Plaza has been performing well since its third incarnation opened in 2005 (which is less mall and more dining and entertainment). On one hand, a closure of Gottschalks would offer a unique opportunity for just the right anchor to step in and assume the 204,000 sq. ft., 4-level building (maybe an IKEA?). However, it could lead to the demolishing of the region's oldest, "modern" department store (and first, large-scale Harris' to be built beyond the flagship store in downtown San Bernardino). Yet, among the smaller malls of the region, Riverside Plaza is most likely to weather the turbulence.


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2001
Ontario Mills

Ontario Mills

Though more outlet center than traditional mall, the gigantic Ontario Mills recently had its own brush with fate as the beleaguered Mills Corp was acquired by Simon Property Group in early 2007. It's difficult to say exactly how Ontario Mills will be affected by the retail downturn as its size -- and lower-grade store makeup -- is probably as much an asset as it is a liability. In some sense, the lack of traditional department store anchors might be beneficial. Likewise, the area surrounding the 13-year-old center has become a strong magnet for peripheral commercial uses, attracting everything from major big-box retailers and traditional strip centers to mid-range hotels. But this has led to unfriendly traffic levels (and very unfriendly pedestrian atmosphere) and possibly over-saturation. However, its location at the highly visible junction of the I-10 and I-15 likely assures its long-term future -- in one form or another.


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2008
The Shoppes

The Shoppes at Chino Hills

About the size of Corona's Promenade Shops but with the look of Victoria Gardens, The Shoppes at Chino Hills will likely weather the current retail turbulence. Its location adjacent to the city's new (and future) civic center coupled with the area's high-end demographics likely assures a future for the small, 1-year-old center. However, its lack of traditional department stores and insufficient parking could be a significant hindrance. As such, the center's biggest threat is the nearby Montclair Plaza, which offers both a Nordstrom and Macy's (and many more stores).


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2008
Montclair Plaza

Montclair Plaza

As one of the area's largest and oldest indoor malls, the Montclair Plaza recently underwent a moderate interior renovation. With anchors Nordstrom, Macy's, JCPenney and Sears, it has traditionally been one of the strongest malls in the region. Yet, the 41-year-old center does have an empty anchor (the former Broadway/Macy's) and could be impacted by any potential reorganization of its owner (General Growth Properties). It also faces stiff competition from newer, higher-end developments nearby (Shoppes at Chino Hills and Victoria Gardens). However, the mall is more than likely to weather anything excepting a major transformation of the retail landscape.


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2006
Galleria at Tyler

Galleria at Tyler - Riverside

With anchors Nordstrom, Macy's and JCPenney, the Galleria at Tyler is both one of the largest and strongest traditional malls in the region. Solidified by recent expansions that included AMC Theaters, Yard House, The Cheesecake Factory and PF Chang's, the 39-year-old center is likely to weather anything but a major retail shake up. Yet, it too is owned by General Growth Properties and also has an existing empty anchor (the former Broadway/Macy's). However, its freeway-adjacent location between higher-end demographics in both Riverside and Corona more than likely assures the center's long-term viability.


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2006
The Promenade

The Promenade in Temecula

Probably the most insulated mall in the region, Temecula's Promenade stands on relatively solid ground. With four anchors -- Macy's-north, Macy's-south, JCPenney and Sears -- and few large-scale competitors nearby, the 10-year-old center dominates the southwestern Riverside County retail market. As with Montclair Plaza and Galleria at Tyler, the Promenade will withstand anything but a major retail shake up. And, along with Victoria Gardens, it will likely be in the running for the region's next Nordstrom.


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2006
Victoria Gardens

Victoria Gardens - Rancho Cucamonga

Probably the strongest and certainly the most unique mall in the region, Victoria Gardens is likely to weather most anything excepting a major transformation of the retail landscape. Its solid reputation, above-average store mix and pleasant outdoor atmosphere puts this center on relatively solid ground. It also contains the city's cultural center (with library and playhouse). The only foreseeable scenario potentially affecting the 5-year-old center would be the closing or consolidation of one or both Macy's anchors (one | two). Such closures could potentially leave the 3-anchor mall with a single anchor (JCPenney). However, its highly likely a retailer the likes of Nordstrom would quickly snap up any empty anchor store.



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Sources: Los Angeles Times, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, The Press-Enterprise


2008 'Festival of Lights'

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2008
Festival of Lights

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2008
Mission Inn

In case you missed it, the 16th annual Festival of Lights began this past weekend in downtown Riverside. With 3.5 million lights and hundreds of animated figures, the crown jewel of the nightly festival is the historic Mission Inn hotel. As usual, Friday night's "lighting ceremony" incorporated extra festivities, including live music and fireworks.

Also included are an ice skating rink, carriage rides and several vendors and shops along the Main Street Pedestrian Mall. Most stores have extended their hours during the festival (something we'd like to see more of them do at other times during the year).

The festival runs nightly through January 4th (excepting Christmas Day). We suggest parking in one of the two available Orange Street parking garages, particularly if you're visiting Friday, Saturday or Sunday evenings (parking is free after 5 p.m. and all day on the weekends). Another garage is also available off Market Street between Mission Inn and University avenues.

For those looking to make dinner plans (or simply grab a quick bite), several top-notch restaurants and eateries -- including Mario's, Restaurant Omakase, Duane's, Las Campanas, Cafe Sevilla, Old Spaghetti Factory, Simple Simons, Phood on Main, Pacific Stix and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf -- are all within a few blocks.

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Riverside National Cemetery marks 30th year

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2008
Riverside National Cemetery

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2008
Ysmael R. Villegas

This Veterans Day marks thirty years since the opening of Riverside National Cemetery.

Located across the I-215 freeway from March ARB on the former grounds of Camp William G. Haan, the 921-acre cemetery is one of the nation's largest and busiest national cemeteries.

The initial phase included 96 acres and cost $5 million when opened on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 1978. The first interment was local WWII hero and Medal of Honor recipient, Ysmael R. Villegas.

Read more about the history of RNC in a previous post from earlier this year.

Photo Gallery: Riverside National Cemetery

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Sources: The Press-Enterprise


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