Del Amo Fashion Center - History

History

Del Amo Fashion Center has evolved from an amalgamation of several developments on the eastern side of the intersection of Hawthorne Boulevard and Carson Street in Torrance, California by Guilford Glazer (#384 on Forbes Richest 400). From 1981 to 1992 it was the largest shopping mall in the US, reaching 3 million ft² in size at its largest. It was eclipsed as the largest with the opening of Mall of America on August 11, 1992.

In 1959 The Broadway opened the first store at what was to be known as Del Amo Mall. The actual mall itself, as well as J.C. Penney and Sears, opened in 1961 at the southeast corner of Carson Street and Hawthorne Boulevard. In 1966 Bullock's opened at a small open-air shopping center it had developed across Carson Street called Fashion Square (Bullock's developed several similarly named Fashion Squares, including ones in Sherman Oaks, La Habra and Santa Ana). I. Magnin, an affiliate of Bullock's opened a store in 1967 at Fashion Square, before the center was acquired in 1971 by Guilford Glazer and a major redevelopment begun.

In 1971, Del Amo Fashion Square, as the center on the north side of Carson Street was now called, reopened as a second mall and included additional anchors Montgomery Ward and Ohrbach's as well as an expanded I. Magnin. Glazer acquired neighboring Del Amo Mall in 1978. In November 1981 the two formerly separate centers were officially merged to form Del Amo Fashion Center with the opening of a mall concourse over Carson Street that linked the former Fashion Square to a new J. W. Robinson's built at the northern end of the former Del Amo Mall that same year. The existing infrastructure was also renovated at this time and included a food court (the "International Food Court") and a then-state-of-the-art computerized help system. Del Amo became the largest indoor shopping center in the world.

The center continued to evolve over the years as Ohrbach's closed in 1987 and became Swedish style furniture retailer STØR. When STØR went out of business in the early nineties, the property was used as a clearance center for STØR merchandise before being subdivided into Marshall's and TJ Maxx. I. Magnin followed in 1989 with part of their store eventually occupied by Old Navy, while Burlington Coat Factory opened in the basement of the former Del Amo Mall. J. W. Robinson's became Robinsons-May in 1993, while in 1996 with Bullock's and The Broadway's merger into Macy's, the former Bullock's became Macy's Apparel store and two floors of the original The Broadway were subdivided as a new Macy's Home & Furniture store. Faced with a change in consumer shopping patterns, the consolidation of the department store industry, the existence of too many malls fragmenting the greater Los Angeles retail marketplace, lack of highway access and competition from the neighboring Nordstrom-anchored South Bay Galleria that opened in 1985, Del Amo began to suffer. Montgomery Ward dealt another blow when it closed following the chain's bankruptcy. This resulted in the closure of an entire wing of the mall.

In 2003 The Mills Corporation acquired Del Amo Fashion Center from the Guilford Glazer Family for $420 million (USD). Subsequently Mills sold a half-interest in the property to institutional investor funds managed by JPMorgan Fleming, before initiating a $160 million redevelopment including demolition and redevelopment the former northeast wing where Montgomery Ward had been located, the renovation of 670,000 ft² (62,000 m²) of existing space and the addition of another 100,000 ft² (9,300 m²). Robinsons-May converted to a second full-line Macy's on September 9, 2006. This second store, called Macy's South Del Amo, is expected to be closed in the future and be rehabilitated as mall retail space. No definitive commitments have been made as to a timeline for these events. Many consumers have agreed that there is no need for three Macy's stores in the same mall.

The new open-air lifestyle center opened on September 14, 2006, bringing new specialty stores, dining, entertainment, and an AMC Theatres 18-screen multiplex to the mall. Crate & Barrel opened a home furnishings store along the mall perimeter in spring 2007, replacing an International House of Pancakes restaurant and a Sushi Boy store that were torn down.

In 2007, The Mills Corporation was jointly acquired by Simon Property Group and Farallon Capital Management. Simon assumed management of Del Amo Fashion Center at this time. In April 2008, the mall's website is under the Simon.com format along with sister Simon/Mills malls, like Ontario Mills, Hilltop Mall, the Block at Orange and Great Mall.

On March 18, 2010, Simon Properties announced that they would embark on a $200M multiyear remodel on the mall. Two years later, on February 24, 2012, it is announced that plans for the Del Amo Mall upgrade have been announced. However, they focused on the northern side, which is north of Carson. They also have preliminary plans for the southern side, which will be discussed in the near future. In the first quarter of 2013, Del Amo is expected to undergo renovation on the North side of the mall. Work on this side is expected to be completed by mid-late 2014.

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