30 July 2023

Stonestown Galleria, San Francisco, CA

 An extant asset

Stonestown Galleria reminds me a lot of Seattle’s Northgate Mall.  Both were the only suburban style shopping malls within their respective densely populated city’s limits and both have seen plenty of recent changes, altering their footprints almost entirely.  But at least one of them is still standing.

Stonestown Galleria lease plan, ca. 2011. View the full PDF version here.

My one and only visit to Stonestown was on a cloudy and chilly yet normal for San Francisco morning in March of 2017.  Just a quick trip on the Muni M line from the Balboa BART Station brought me to the two-level, mainly straight-line barbell shaped development.  On the south end was a Nordstrom with a non-standard serif font used in their nameplate.  On the other end, announced on a wall standing much higher than the rest of the facility, was Macy’s.

Stonestown's front facing exterior.

Inside, the concourses were well trafficked and all decked out in the splendor of early-aughts décor.  There were your average mall stores such as The Children’s Place, Hot Topic and White House/Black Market with much of the inline spaces occupied.  The upper-level food court offered a variety of options and Nordstrom and Macy’s were still bringing in their patrons.  I would have never guessed that, not long after, so many changes would come.

Nordstrom's exterior and mall entrances.

Stonestown Galleria opened in 1952 as the Stonestown Shopping Center with The Emporium serving as the lone anchor.  Joining them were mid-century retail staples Walgreens and Woolworth as well as a supermarket and movie theater.  It wasn’t until 1977 when a second anchor, Bullock’s, opened at the opposite end of the complex from The Emporium.

Stonestown Galleria pamphlet, ca. 2020. View the full PDF version here.

Stonestown’ s first major renovation came in 1987 when a second tier, a food court, a glass ceiling and new parking was added.  At this point, the “Shopping Center” was dropped in favor of the “Galleria” moniker that it still goes by today.  Not long after, Nordstrom opened on the southern end in the space formerly occupied by Bullock’s.

Interior shots of Stonestown Galleria.

The Emporium became Macy’s in 1996 and the mall seemed to chug along with few changes until the late 2010s.  Macy’s announced plans to close their store just after my visit and was shuttered the following year.  Nordstrom followed suit in 2019, leaving the mall with no traditional anchors but with only a small Target located adjacent to the former Nordstrom.

Macy's exterior and mall entrance.

Stonestown Galleria has taken these shots in stride, with Target expanding and a Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s and a Shake Shack joining the list of tenants.  From all indications, the mall remains as vibrant as can be expected.  In the very least it’s still standing and there doesn’t seem to be much discussion about its demise, which these days is about the best one can hope for.

Stonestown Galleria Mallmanac, ca. 2022. View the full PDF version here.

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