BUENAVENTURA CENTER
East Main Street and South Mills Road
Ventura, California

Ventura County's first shopping mall was developed by Broadway-Hale Stores and Santa Barbara's Gordon L. MacDonald and designed by Los Angeles' Mazzetti, Leach, Cleveland & Associates. The complex was built on a 70 acre parcel, located 2.2 miles southeast of center city Ventura. The site was adjacent to a section of the Ventura Freeway / US 101, which had opened to traffic in October 1962.

Ground was broken August 14, 1962 for the first store built as part of BUENAVENTURA CENTER. Los Angeles-based The Broadway hired the firm of Charles Luckman Associates to design their 3-level (157,500 square foot) location.

A preview champagne opening was held September 28, 1963, with entertainment provided by a troupe of strolling musicians. In attendance at the September 30, 1963 store dedication were Ventura Mayor Charles Petit, Prentice C. Hale, Chairman of the Board of Broadway-Hale Stores, Edward W. Carter, President of Broadway-Hale Stores, and Dorothy Marshall, General Manager of the company.

Thirteenth in the chain, the 10 million dollar Ventura store had an exterior of specially-designed concrete brick and Portuguese mocha creme marble with windows of imported smoke topaz glass. Its interior was done in shades of gold and white.

An initial twelve stores in the adjacent BUENAVENTURA CENTER opened for business November 12, 1964. These included Youngsterville, Barker Brothers Furniture, Kimo's Polynesian Shop (South Seas & Oriental apparel), House of Strauss and an F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10.

The open-air mall extended northwest of The Broadway and featured a campanile bell tower in its Center Court. On the northern section of the site, adjacent to Telegraph Road, was an unattached group of two store blocks. A J.C. Penney would be built between the north store blocks and mall proper.

Penney's store was a 2-level (204,000 square foot) operation and was officially dedicated November 10, 1965. With its completion, BUENAVENTURA CENTER encompassed 750,000 leasable square feet and forty-eight stores and services.

The shopping complex would be known by at least two different names during its early years. Following a stint as BUENAVENTURA CENTER, it morphed into BUENAVENTURA FASHION CENTER. Its first commercial competitor, THE ESPLANADE {4.3 miles southeast, in Oxnard} was completed between February and November of 1970.

The first renovation of BUENAVENTURA CENTER got underway with a groundbreaking held in April 1983. As part of the 15 million dollar project, the main mall concourse was enclosed with a Teflon-coated fiberglass roof. 50,000 square feet of store space was added to the southwest corner of the complex.

Thirty-seven new stores, and a small Food Court, were dedicated November 20, 1983. The shopping hub would now be known as BUENAVENTURA PLAZA. The Santa Monica-based MaceRich Company acquired the shopping hub in 1987.

A second renovation was underway by 1991. A shuttered Woolworth was demolished and a second level of thirty stores built over the mall's Center Court. The official name of the complex had  been changed to BUENAVENTURA MALL in August 1990.

Plans for a more comprehensive remodeling were divulged in October 1992. This project would entail the construction of a full second level and addition of three anchor stores and two parking garages. The mall owner and City of Ventura squabbled over the remodeling plan until a scaled-down compromise was worked out in May 1996.

Meanwhile, construction on a new J.C. Penney had got underway in late 1995. Trouble had begun to brew the previous May, when it was revealed that the Sears and Robinsons-May stores at Oxnard's ESPLANADE MALL were planning to relocate into an expanded BUENAVENTURA MALL.

Years of contentious lawsuits between the cities of Ventura and Oxnard followed. As the so-called "Mall War" dragged on, sales slipped at both shopping centers. The impasse ended in August 1998, with Oxnard officials throwing in the towel. The 89 million dollar BUENAVENTURA MALL renovation would proceed as planned.

A full second level would add sixty-five stores to the complex and its Food Court would be relocated to new second level space. Two anchor stores would also built; a 2-level (124,600 square foot) J.C. Penney and 2-level (120,000 square foot) Sears. The Broadway, which had been rebranded as a Macy's during 1996, was expanded into a 180,000 square foot structure.

Penney's became the first of the new anchors to open, on March 1, 1999. Sears followed on November 13, 1999. The original Penney's was refurbished. It re-opened, as a Los Angeles-based Robinsons-May, November 19, 1999. A 3-level parking garage had also been constructed.

A rededication had been held at the shopping center November 15, 1999. Renamed PACIFIC VIEW MALL, it now encompassed 1,106,000 leasable square feet and one hundred and forty stores and services. New inline stores included Victoria's Secret, The Limited Too, Bath & Body Works, Foot Locker, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor Loft and Sam Goody Music.

Robinsons-May was shuttered in the spring of 2006. In April of the same year, it had been divulged that the store would be re-opening as a second Macy's. However, this report was later dismissed. The store was remodeled and re-opened, as a 2-level Target, March 9, 2008.

The two store blocks on the north end of PACIFIC VIEW MALL had been languishing, in various states of vacancy and disrepair, since the late 1990s. In September 2010, Macerich announced that the section would be completely renovated and retenanted.

Monrovia, California-based Trader Joe's would occupy a 14,500 square foot space. Staples would set up shop in an 18,000 square foot section, with BevMo! beverages leasing 10,000 square feet. Trader Joe's opened its doors in May 2011, followed by Staples in June.

Sources:

The Oxnard Press-Courier
"Pacific View Mall" article on Wikipedia
http://www.macerich.com (Macerich Company)


FAIR USE OF BUENAVENTURA CENTER IMAGES:

The graphic and rendering from The Oxnard Press-Courier illustrate a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The images are of lower resolution than the originals (copies made would be of inferior quality). 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.