The evolution of the retail industry in the 1980s brought forth yet another new concept in shopping centers; the "power center" or "stretch mall". 280 METRO CENTER, America's first quote-unquote power center, began business, in the San Mateo suburbs of San Francisco, in 1986.
Like the lifestyle center, the power center was open-air. The big difference was that the power center was not filled with small, exclusive, boutique-type shoppes and bistros, but with large big box stores and smaller inline tenants.
In essence, our "power plaza" was a discount-oriented hodgepodge of retailers, usually surrounding a large parking area. The power center shopper could, and probably did, drive directly to the front of each store they wanted to shop at and would get in the car, and endure parking lot pandemonium, to drive directly to another store at the other end of the complex. Walking between these destinations, as one would do in a conventional mall, was strictly out!