STONESTOWN CENTER
20th Avenue and Winston Drive
San Francisco, California

San Francisco's first shopping mall was developed by the Stoneson Brothers, under the auspices of the Stoneson Development Corporation, and designed by Welton Becket & Associates, of Los Angeles. STONESTOWN CENTER was situated on a 40 acre parcel, located 6 miles southwest of San Francisco's Union Square, in the Lakeside district of the city. The site was formerly a cabbage patch.

Promoted as "a city within a city", the complex was anchored by a 3-level (200,000 square foot) Bay Area-based Emporium, which held its grand opening July 15, 1952. The mall proper was officially dedicated November 6 of the same year.

The original open-air facility consisted of a main retail level and service basement, which included a small concourse of stores. There was a total of 700,000 leasable square feet and over fifty tenant spaces.

A 2-level (64,000 square foot) Butler Brothers variety store was situated at the southwest corner, across Winston Drive from the mall proper. Other charter STONESTOWN tenants included Walgreen Drug, Stonestown Market, Gallenkamp Shoes, Chandler's Shoes, Singer Sewing Center, Rickey's Red Chimney Restaurant, Bank Of America and an F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10. A 2-level (23,800 square foot) Joseph Magnin opened in March 1953.

In 1960, Butler Brothers was shuttered. It became a branch of the San Francisco-based City Of Paris chain. Other mall tenants during this time frame included a Portals Of Music record store and subterranean Golden Venus Health Club.

In the late 1960s, The Emporium at STONESTOWN was expanded with a full third floor. The store now encompassed 268,000 square feet. At around the same time, Joseph Magnin relocated into  a 2-level (41,800 square foot) building. This was constructed on the north end of the mall, adjacent to The Emporium.

More changes transpired during the 1970s. A single-screen theater, the United Artists Stonestown Cinema, was built as a northwestern outparcel. It showed its first feature in November 1970 and was twinned 2 years later, assuming the name United Artists Stonestown Twin.

The City of Paris closed, along with the chain, in 1971. The STONESTOWN store re-opened as City of Paris by Liberty House in 1972, but closed in April 1974. It was torn down in 1976. A 3-level (160,500 square foot), Bullock's North (a Northern California branch of the Los Angeles-based chain) opened October 29, 1977. It was connected to the main mall via an elevated, glass-enclosed walkway over Winston Drive.

Shopping centers in the vicinity of STONESTOWN included WESTLAKE TOWN & COUNTRY CENTER (1951) {1.7 miles southwest, in Daly City}, SERRAMONTE CENTER (1969) {3.6 miles southeast, also in Daly City} and TANFORAN PARK CENTER (1971) {6.8 miles southeast, in San Bruno}.

In 1980, The Emporium was rebannered as an Emporium-Capwell. By mid-decade, the open-air STONESTOWN mall was showing its age. A major renovation, designed by architect John Field, was undertaken in 1985. The shopping center lying between the two anchor stores was rebuilt as a 2-level, fully-enclosed facility.

The service basement became a subterranean parking deck. Winston Drive, which divided the mall into two sections, was depressed into a small tunnel structure that now took it beneath the ground level of the complex.

A refurbished retail center, known as STONESTOWN GALLERIA, held its grand re-opening October 28, 1987. The old Bullock's, vacant since 1983, was also remodeled. It opened as a Nordstrom on April 15, 1988.

Joseph Magnin's STONESTOWN store had been shuttered in September 1984. The building was divided into two retail spaces. The first floor opened, as a The Good Guys! electronics outlet, in August of 1988. The second floor was devoted to Tower Records, which began business in November of the same year.

The official name of Emporium-Capwell stores reverted to the Emporium banner in 1990. Macy's rebranded the STONESTOWN location on February 22, 1996. The Good Guys! was rebranded by CompUSA in 2003, with the combo electronics and record store being shuttered in 2005. The building was, then, renovated into a fitness club.

With these modifications, STONESTOWN GALLERIA encompassed 862,000 leasable square feet and housed over one hundred and thirty stores and services. Chicago-based General Growth Properties established a one hundred percent interest in the mall in August 2004.

Borders Books, a tenant in the south of Winston store block, was joined by a Trader Joe's specialty grocer on December 10, 2008. The (35,700 square foot) Borders store was shuttered September 9, 2011. Sports Authority renovated the space and opened on August 17, 2012.

This store closed, along with the chain, in July 2016. Target leased the vacant space and dedicated a small-format discount store on July 17, 2017. Macy's pulled the plug on their STONESTOWN store in early 2018. The building is presently being redeveloped as retail, restaurant and entertainment venues, including a 12-screen, state-of-the-art cinema.

Sources:

preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
http://ohp.parks.ca.gov / "San Francisco Modern Architecture & Landscape Design, Historic Context Statement" / Mary Brown
Draft Environmental Impact Statement / "Proposed Stonestown Shopping Center Renovation Project" / October 1976
http://www.outsidelands.org
Scott / "BigMallRat"
http://www.sfchronicle.com
"Bullock's" article on Wikipedia
"Nordstrom" article on Wikipedia
http://www.shopstonestown.com