Huntington Beach Mall (Bella Terra); Huntington Beach, California

Bella Terra is a redevelopment of a failed 1960s vintage shopping mall (The Huntington Beach Mall) in Orange County, California. The center was redeveloped as a hybrid big-box/entertainment center with an Italian Village feel.

Westfield Downtown Plaza; Sacramento, California

Westfield Downtown Plaza is a 1.1 million-square foot, two level outdoor shopping mall located in the heart of downtown Sacramento. Anchored by two Macy’s stores, the mall caters equally to downtown office workers and weekend tourists, but is facing some trouble.

A 2006 proposal to renovate the mall appears to have stalled, and many tenants are fleeing the center even as activity throughout the rest of the center city is increasing.

Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center; Santa Barbara, California

At this point, anyone who has followed shopping center developments even slightly over the past few years knows that enclosed malls–those raggamuffins we love so much at Labelscar–are kind of on the outs. Everything’s all about big box plazas and lifestyle centers nowadays, and the “eternal springtime” of indoor, air-conditioned corridors has lost popularity to […]

Manchester Center; Fresno, California

Manchester Center in Fresno, California

Before I get too histrionic, this is why I found Manchester Center in Fresno, California to be such a treat. It had been at least five years since I had discovered a mall quite like this one, and it was a shock to find such a creepy time capsule still completely open and accessible.

Vintage Faire Mall; Modesto, California

The Vintage Faire Mall is the largest enclosed shopping center between Sacramento and Fresno in California’s central valley, and the only enclosed mall serving the city of Modesto. Located at Standiford Avenue and Highway 99 in the Northwestern corner of the city, the mall has two levels of shopping and five anchor stores spread across a little over a million square feet of space.

Cupertino Square (Vallco Fashion Park); Cupertino, California

Cupertino Square, formerly Vallco Fashion Park, in Cupertino, CaliforniaCupertino Square (the former “Vallco Fashion Park”) has a more tangled and bizarre tale than many of the malls of the San Francisco Bay Area, and today seems to be mired in a never-ending renovation and revitalization that bears few fruits. While some progress has been made to date–such as the opening of all of the above attractions–the mall seems to be frozen in amber, unable to move forward on the promise of renewal. The entire first floor of the mall is mysteriously shuttered, the food court has been closed and under construction for over a year, and little seems to ever change. The large pylon facing I-280 still displays the “Vallco Fashion Park” name, even as all other signage for the mall has been updated to reflect the new name and logo.

Northgate Mall; San Rafael, California

Marin County in many ways symbolizes quiet California affluence. It’s a place where people reuse their grocery bags, drink expensive wine, and reliably vote Democratic. It’s no surprise that Marin County–which resides just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco–has become a popular spot for well-heeled suburbanites. The scenery, which is dominated by dramatic […]

Barstow Mall; Barstow, California

In honor of my recent cross-country move, I figured we should offer up a slice of Americana with a lesser-known Route 66 landmark: the Barstow Mall. Barstow is a notoriously isolated city located in the Mojave Desert, near where I-15, I-40, and CA-58 all converge. It’s also a spot along historic route 66, and as […]

The Missing Malls of Mountain View (Or, Where I’ve Been)

The mailbag arrived the other day, stuffed with a bunch of (very touching, I assure you) notes expressing some grave concern about my whereabouts. I figured that I might as well come clean. Many of you noticed that I haven’t been around as much, and that poor ol’ Labelscar just hasn’t had quite as much […]

Santa Monica Place; Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica Place is one of the latest enclosed malls to meet with the grim reaper: the place is scheduled to close up shop at the end of this month! Socal Labelscarrers: act fast if you want a chance to say goodbye! Santa Monica Place is a three-level, 570,000 square foot shopping mall located in […]