SUNVALLEY CENTER
Contra Costa and Sunvalley Boulevards
Concord, California

The East Bay's fourth interior mall was envisaged by Phoenix's Del Webb Construction Company but was eventually developed by a joint venture of Michigan's A. Alfred Taubman, Chicago's Arthur Rubloff and New York City's Charles Allen, Junior (this under the auspices of San Francisco's Bayshore Properties). Israeli architect Avner Naggar designed the shopping hub.

Ground was broken, on a 106 acre site located 27 miles northeast of San Francisco's Union Square, on July 20, 1965. An official dedication was held for SUNVALLEY CENTER on August 3, 1967, with over forty stores and services making their debut. Entertainment at the ribbon cutting ceremony was provided by Tony Martin, star of stage and screen, and Del Courtney's Band.

The retail roster of the fully-leased SUNVALLEY CENTER would list one hundred and twenty tenants. These included Spencer Gifts, Kushin's Shoes, H. Liebes ladies' wear, B. Dalton Bookseller, Florsheim Shoes, Docktor Pet Center, Walgreen Drug and an S.H. Kress 5 & 10.

SUNVALLEY CENTER was anchored by a 3-level (241,000 square foot) Sears, which had opened October 19, 1966. A 3-level (266,000 square foot) J.C. Penney opened August 3, 1967. The center's 3-level (233,000 square foot) Macy's San Francisco was officially dedicated August 17 of the same year.

The General Cinema Corporation Sunvalley Cinema, a single-screen venue, was situated on the Upper Mall level. It showed its first feature August 9, 1967, and was twinned in the 1970s. Beneath the cinema was the Sunvalley Ice Arena. Adjacent to this, also on the Lower Mall level, was the World's Fare Restaurant. This collection of eleven eateries was a forerunner of the shopping mall food courts of the 1980s.

Encompassing an astounding 1,255,000 leasable square feet, the 2-level mall was heralded as the nation's largest enclosed shopping center. However, within months, it would be surpassed by Denver's new CINDERELLA CITY MALL and Chicagoland's YORKTOWN CENTER.

Shopping hubs in the vicinity of SUNVALLEY CENTER included BROADWAY PLAZA (1951) {4.6 miles south, in Walnut Creek}, COUNTY EAST MALL (1966) {11.9 miles northeast, in Antioch} and HILLTOP MALL (1976) {14.4 miles northwest, in Richmond}.

The only major expansion ever done to SUNVALLEY CENTER added a 3-level (180,000 square foot), Bay Area-based Emporium-Capwell. This store began business February 5, 1981. Two parking garages were also constructed; the first adjacent to the new Emporium-Capwell, the second, located in the mall's southwest parking area.

A small plane, headed for the nearby Buchanon Airfield, crashed into the roof of the SUNVALLEY Macy's on December 23, 1985. The three persons inside the plane were killed instantly, with eighty-four mall patrons injured by debris and ignited airplane fuel. Four mall customers eventually died as a result of the disaster.

After the mid-1990s demise of the Emporium chain, the SUNVALLEY store became a Macy's Men's & Home operation. The mall's original Macy's San Francisco was refashioned into a Macy's Women's.

In the Twenty-tens, the mall's northwest corner was reconfigured. BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse opened October 19, 2009. Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ assumed space previously leased as a Fresh Choice buffet-style restaurant, and opened for business May 2, 2013. A Round One Bowling & Amusement Center was dedicated August 19, 2016, which occupied a previous Sports Authority store.

As these spaces in the mall proper were being retenanted, a vacant Mervyn's, adjacent to the north end of SUNVALLEY CENTER, was repurposed. The Mervyn's space re-opened as a Safeway supermarket February 17, 2012. An adjacent store space became a Nordstrom Rack September 12, 2013.

Today, SUNVALLEY CENTER is owned and operated by the company that developed it, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based Taubman Centers, Incorporated. The complex encompasses 1,334,000 leasable square feet and houses one hundred and sixty stores and services.

Sources:

Scott P. / "BigMallRat
The Oakland Tribune
www.cinematreasures.org
"Comment Posts By "Paul" and "Randy"
www.check-six.com/Crash_Sites/SunValley_Mall
http://www.shopsunvalley.com
https://www.fsrmagazine.com
The East Bay Times
Comment post by Randy Hansen
http://claycord.com
http://taubmancenters.com