Regional News: February 2007 Archives

LNR closer to redeveloping Carousel Mall

| | Comments (0)

Plans for redeveloping a struggling mall in downtown San Bernardino moved a step closer this week as Miami-based LNR Property Corporation submitted draft environmental documents for replacing the 35-year-old, Victor Gruen-designed mall with a mixture of residential and commercial uses.

Aerial view

The Carousel

West wing

Harris Co. (1927)

Tentatively called "Court Street West," plans are for up to 750 residential units, mostly condos, townhomes and lofts, plus approximately 120,000 square feet of commercial space set within an urban, park-like setting. Plans also call for reconnecting F and G streets back through the mall property.

However, still not included in the redevelopment are the former JCPenney and empty Harris Co. department store buildings, both of which were not part of LNR's purchase of the mall in Feb. 2006. Their status remains up in the air (though a buyer for the historic 1927 Harris' building is likely at some point).

Planned in the late 1960s as a redevelopment project between the city and federal government, Carousel Mall opened as Central City Mall in 1972. Built adjacent to the flagship department store of San Bernardino-based Harris Co., the two-level mall helped keep downtown alive following the 1966 opening of nearby Inland Center Mall. Future plans for the immediate area included commercial high-rises and a "central city park" (just across E Street adjacent to City Hall). The plan even envisioned an aerial tram of sorts shuttling patrons among the two competing malls, which were separated by a mere two miles.

Over the next 20 years, as San Bernardino struggled with growing unemployment, poverty and crime, Central City Mall began a steady downward slide. A 1991 renovation, which added a carousel and a new name, temporarily boosted retail traffic. However, the 1996 opening of the gigantic Ontario Mills Mall 10 miles to the west began to put strains on the now Carousel Mall.

In 2000, two years following the purchase -- and eventual merger -- of the Harris' chain into Fresno-based Gottschalks, the closing of the flagship Harris' store signaled the beginning of the end for the mall. Within three years, both Montgomery Ward (2002) and JCPenney (2003) would follow suit and close up shop in San Bernardino.

Today the Carousel Mall is a virtual ghost town of sorts. Although the city did manage to fill some of the empty tenant space with a few government agencies and even secured a Starwood Hotels & Resorts reservation center (with 400-plus jobs), the mall's remaining retailers continue to struggle.

Without a doubt, the large mall property in the heart of downtown offers the city a unique opportunity for a large-scale, mixed-use development. We look forward to watching this redevelopment, though we hope the historic Harris Co. building is indeed incorporated into any plans and does not give way to the bulldozer. Hopefully, both LNR and San Bernardino will be able to take advantage of the situation and help bring vibrancy back to a once-thriving downtown.

Photo Gallery: Carousel Mall



About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Regional News category from February 2007.

Regional News: December 2006 is the previous archive.

Regional News: March 2007 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the RXSQ Main Index or look in the Master Archives to find all content.

Follow Us

Make Custom Gifts at CafePress

Powered by Movable Type 4.35-en
version: 4.35-en
  • Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feeds: Atom




Recent Comments

RXSQ on Sharing a bit of library love: @Rene -- Thanks for commenting! Typically, a love/ ...

Rene on Sharing a bit of library love: Am I the only one who thinks it's hideous? It's no ...

RXSQ on Behind the scenes: @Jason -- Yes, it's usually in stock at the Rivers ...

Jason on Behind the scenes: Is Riverside - Then & Now available at Barnes and ...

RXSQ on Latest plans for downtown library: renovation, not demolition: @Michael -- Thanks for the comment and we agree 10 ...



Got Riverside? RaincrossSquare is now on CafePress! We are offering a limited number of products -- such as framed prints, postcards and calendars -- using locally-themed images and graphics. Please feel free to browse our online shop.

Photo Request: We're looking for iconic shots and city views taken between 1940 - 1990 in and around Riverside, especially those where the landscape has significantly changed. Read more...


Photo Galleries
Downtown | City

Photo Pool
items in Raincross Square View/add photos: Raincross Square photo pool

Of Interest

Local Links