West Winton Avenue and Hesperian Boulevard
Hayward, California

California's first two enclosed, regional-class malls opened for business during 1964. The first in the state, Los Angeles' TOPANGA PLAZA, held a "soft opening" in February. The Bay Area's first interior mall was dedicated in October.

The initial phase of SOUTHLAND CENTER occupied 12 acres of an 82 acre parcel. This was located 25 miles southeast of San Francisco's Union Square, in the East Bay suburb of Hayward. The complex was an addition to a freestanding, 2-level (287,000 square foot) Sears, that had opened in 1958.

SOUTHLAND CENTER was also adjacent to the previously-existing PALMA CEIA CENTER, which had opened, in 1961, with a Lucky Stores supermarket, Thrifty Drug and five other tenants. With the completion of SOUTHLAND CENTER, in the east parking area, the PALMA CEIA name was dropped and that strip complex became an outparcel of the mall.

Seattle's John Graham, Junior designed the mall, which was developed by a joint venture of Chicago's Arthur Rubloff, Detroit's A. Alfred Taubman and Charles Allen, Junior. It was the first enclosed mall built by Taubman's company, which eventually morphed into Taubman Centers, a major retail center developer of the late 20th century.

In addition to Sears, the 620,700 square foot shopping facility was anchored by a  2-level (168,700 square foot) J.C. Penney, which was dedicated October 22, 1964. Inline stores opened between 1964 and 1966. These included Lerner Shops, Singer Sewing Center, Smith's Clothiers, Grodins men's wear, Roos-Atkins men's wear and an F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10.

SOUTHLAND had a Lower Level, accessed from the Penney's Court. It featured the Le Mans Speedway bumper cars track, a snack bar, pinball arcade and several meeting rooms. The General Cinema Corporation Southland Cinema I & II, an outparcel in the north parking area, opened December 21, 1967. The venue would eventually be reconfigured as a 5-plex.

In the early 1970s, an extension to the mall's existing West Wing was built. This included a Joseph Magnin, indoor Ice Rink and 3-level (180,400 square foot), Honolulu-based Liberty House. This store held its grand opening July 30, 1972. With this addition, SOUTHLAND CENTER encompassed approximately 1,186,000 leasable square feet.

Major shopping centers in the vicinity of SOUTHLAND CENTER included BAY FAIR CENTER (1957) {3.3 miles northwest, in San Leandro}, FREMONT HUB (1961) {9.3 miles southeast, in Fremont}, STONERIDGE MALL (1980) {9.7 miles northeast, in Pleasanton} and NEWPARK MALL (1980) {10 miles southeast, in Newark}.

SOUTHLAND CENTER was given a thorough renovation between 1983 and 1984. The Le Mans Speedway space became the 14-bay Food Fair Food Court. A section of the Penney's Court floor was removed, creating a 3-story-high atrium over the new culinary complex.

Adjoining area on the Lower Level was converted to a Brisbane, California-based The Good Guys! electronics outlet. This eventually morphed into a Dave & Barry's apparel and -then- Gold's Gym. Courts and concourses in the mall were also given a face lift.

By this time, Liberty House had been shuttered. The store re-opened as a Bay Area-based Emporium-Capwell in October 1983. This location was "Macy-ated" in early 1996.

Meanwhile, Hayward-based Mervyn's, who had operated a store in downtown San Lorenzo since 1949, moved to a new, 2-level (98,800 square foot) flagship at SOUTHLAND CENTER. It opened for business January 14, 1995.

Chicago-based General Growth Properties established 100 percent ownership of the shopping venue in December 2002. Its official name morphed to SOUTHLAND MALL around this time. The complex housed 1,400,000 leasable square feet, with one hundred and forty inline stores.

The SOUTHLAND Mervyn's was shuttered in December 2008 and re-opened, as a Wisconsin-based Kohl's, September 30, 2009. A Steve & Barry's University Sportswear closed its doors in early 2009.

In January 2012, SOUTHLAND MALL became one of several GGP properties placed under the newly-formed Rouse Properties REIT, a spin off division devoted to Class B-type shopping hubs. Rouse properties, and its portfolio of thirty-five shopping malls, was sold in July 2016. The buyer was Toronto's Brookfield Asset Management.

Meanwhile, Kohl's was shuttered January 17, 2014. The building was remodeled and re-opened, as a Dick's Sporting Goods, on July 8, 2016. Soon after, plans for a new in-mall multiplex were announced. The Century Theatres Southland Mall 5 would be built in the southeast corner of the shopping facility, taking space previously occupied by inline stores. The venue showed its first features on December 20, 2018.

Sources: / Scott P. webmaster
www.haywardareahistory / "Palma Ceia Elementary School and Neighborhood" / Dean Dizikes
Comment posts by "Romleys", Randy , Jim and "Mr. Blue Light"
Malls of America Blogspot / Keith Milford webmaster (General Growth Properties)
"Carter Hawley Hale Stores" article on Wikipedia
"Southland Mall" article on Wikipedia


The images credited to Vano-Wells-Fagliano illustrate a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The images are not replaceable with free-use or public domain images. The use of the images does not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the images in any way. The images are being used for non-profit, informational purposes only and their use is not believed to detract from the original images in any way.