FLORIN CENTER
Florin Road and Stockton Boulevard
Sacramento County, California

Sac-Town's first fully-enclosed shopping mall was developed by a joint venture of the city's James J. Cordano Company and San Francisco's Blumenfield Enterprises. The single-level center was built on a 70 acre parcel, located 8 miles southeast of the center city. The site, in an unincorporated section of Sacramento County known as Parkway-South Sacramento, had previously been utilized as the Sky Ranch Airfield.

The first operational FLORIN CENTER store, a 3-level (157,000 square foot), Sacramento-based Weinstock's, held its grand opening October 9, 1967. The mall, which encompassed over 900,000 leasable square feet, was officially dedicated February 1, 1968.

In addition to Weinstock's, FLORIN CENTER was anchored by a 2-level (259,000 square foot) Sears and 3-level (186,000 square foot) J.C. Penney. Each of the three anchor stores had freestanding Auto Centers.

Charter tenants included Mode O' Day Frock Shop, Thom McAn Shoes, National Shirt Shops, Barricini Candy, Claude's Ice Cream and an S.H. Kress 5 & 10. The only physical expansion of the shopping center was completed in 1978. A 1-level, 46,600 square foot addition was built at the Main Entrance.

FLORIN CENTER, the second mall-type complex on Sacramento's south side, eclipsed its nearest commercial competitor, SOUTHGATE CENTER / PLAZA (1961) {.8 miles southwest, in Sacramento County}. However, by the 1980s, FLORIN MALL was becoming rather notorious as a haven for shootings, stabbings and car thefts. Local gangs had made the complex a regular hangout spot by the early 1990s.

Customers began to frequent other regional centers, such as ARDEN FAIR (1961) {6.9 miles north, in Sacramento}, DOWNTOWN PLAZA (1971) {6.3 miles northwest, in Sacramento} and SUNRISE MALL (1972) {14.9 miles northeast, in Citrus Heights}.

A remodeling of Weinstock's in 1989 and face lift renovation of the mall proper, in the second half of 1990, did little to dispel the negative image that the center had taken on. With Federated Stores' acquisition of the Weinstock's parent company, in August 1995, it was decided to shutter the FLORIN location, rather than rebrand it as a Macy's.

The store closed in March 1996. This now may be seen as the first nail driven into the proverbial FLORIN MALL coffin. J.C. Penney's November 1998 demotion into an Outlet Store was the second coffin nail. Adding insult to injury, Penney's shuttered this location April 26, 2003.

The bulk of FLORIN MALL was purchased by San Francisco's Jim Kessler and the Prudential Insurance Company of America in October 2005. The complex closed for good February 28, 2006. The wrecking ball was brought in in July, leaving Sears, its Auto Center, and five outparcel buildings, standing.

These were worked into an open-air complex, known as FLORIN TOWNE CENTRE. When completed, the shopping facility would encompass 484,500 leasable square feet and house forty-two tenant spaces.

The first newly-built TOWNE CENTRE store, a 1-level (80,000 square foot) Mervyn's, was dedicated March 6, 2008. Mervyn's was joined by Famsa Furniture, Dollar Tree, 24 Hour Fitness and a 1-level (218,500 square foot) Wal-Mart SuperCenter. This store welcomed its first shoppers on June 17, 2009.

Mervyn's went dark in February 2009. Old Navy made its debut in August 2008. It was eventually shuttered and re-opened, as a PetSmart, in the fall of 2011.

Sources:

www.sacramentopastperfect-online.com
www.florinroad.com
Sacramento Business Journal
www.naibtcommercial.com
Comment post by Randy