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BTTF Series #5: The Promenade Mall at Woodland Hills


Welcome aboard the Delorean! Marty McFly here to take you on a journey to the Promenade Mall at Woodland Hills. The Delorean has the required plutonium plus some random garbage in the Mr. Fusion reactor ready for this trip. The time circuits are set to 1973 (actual date unknown) and the flux capciator is.........fluxxing and the engine is running. Hang on, as the ride can be a little bumpy as we travel back in time to Woodland Hills at the corner of Topanga and Oxnard. You can see the Promenade Mall on the picture left top. I dont know the exact date of this postcard but based on the cars, it appears to be sometime in the 70's. 

Here are more pics of the mall in its original form courtesy of http://departmentstoremuseum.blogspot.com:
Bullocks  Wilshire Department Store
J. W. Robinson's Department Store
Now that we have seen the mall as it first appeared, let's hop back into the Delorean and see what this place looked like before the Promenade Mall was erected.


Truly amazing! This postcard has a lot of detail as you can see the Topanga Mall in the background which appears to have a giant slide attached to it (click on image to enlarge). The Topanga Mall was built in 1964 so it appears that this postcard was taken sometime between 1964 and say 1970 before construction began on the Promenade as the picture depicts farming fields in its place. On the left, is an Oldsmobile dealership but I dont know who owned it at that time. Also, in the center, I believe the Topanga Theater is present. If that building in the center is truly the Topanga Theater, I didnt know it was around since the 60's. Too bad its gone now. Below is a photo from January 1977.

Image courtesy Thom Balch via San Fernando Valley Relics Facebook
So its time to go Back To The Future and check out the Promenade in its present form:


You can see that when comparing the above picture to the postcard at the very top that the mall and surrounding area hasnt changed much except for trees and the building where I took the picture was not present in the postcard.

Here is a brief history of the Mall courtesy from Wikipedia:
Opened in 1973 as The Promenade at Woodlands Hills, it was originally a high-fashion center anchored by J. W. Robinson'sBullocks Wilshire and Saks Fifth Avenue. The Bullocks Wilshire store was renamed I. Magnin in 1990 and in 1995 became a Bullock's Men's store, being renamed Macy's in 1996. The Robinson's store was closed in 1993 and sold to Bullock's, becoming Macy's in 1996 as well. Following the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, Saks Fifth Avenue used the opportunity to close their underperforming store and it was demolished in 1994 for the addition of the AMC Theatre, which opened in 1996.
The center was briefly acquired by Simon Property Group in 1997, before being sold in 1998 to Westfield America, Inc., a precursor to The Westfield Group. At that time it was renamed "Westfield Shoppingtown Promenade". The unwieldy "Shoppingtown" name was dropped in June 2005.
Westfield Promenade was plagued for years by tenant problems and slow business, although the addition of the movie theatre during renovations after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, more recent renovations in 2001 and the addition of the Barnes & Noble and its nearby restaurants has helped increase mall traffic and bring in better, more stable tenants. Unfortunately, the newly revamped Westfield Topanga has overshadowed The Promenade. The mall may be slated for more renovation after Westfield is finished with work on Westfield Topanga.
Westfield has on numerous occasion examined plans to connect the two centers, with methods such as an enclosed bridge and a light monorail system being discussed. On all previous occasions, the discussions have ended without conclusion due to concerns over logistics, cost and other issues. In mid-September 2007, Westfield began notifying area residents via the mail of an upcoming mall to bridge the 2 existing malls. The new shopping area, an open air promenade design, will be known as "the Village". Ground clearing for this new complex became clearly visible with the demolition of Topanga Theater on September 19, the largest building in the proposed footprint of the new mall.
So thats the history of the Promenade mall, hope you enjoyed it. Wait! We have word that the mall's future might be impacted. We need to get back in the Delorean again and go to the year 2016. According to Westfield Topanga:
The Village at Westfield Topanga will become the signature community destination and gathering place in the heart of Warner Center. Located between Westfield Topanga and Westfield Promenade, The Village will be your new one-of-a-kind destination with a unique blend of retail, dining, community spaces and social activities including landscaped pedestrian walkways, open air plaza, alfresco dining, family-friendly outdoor spaces, water features and a community center. The Village at Westfield Topanga will be a dynamic mixed-use project with over 1,000,000 sf on 30 acres within Warner Center. 
Check out these artistic renderings of the new Village at Westfield Topanga plus the satellite image below of the Topanga Mall, Promenade Mall, and the new Village  (click on image to enlarge):





I have mixed feelings about this new proposal. It seems really cool, modern, and a fun place to hang out but how many more stores, office space, hotel rooms, and shopping malls do we need? What is traffic going to be like? Basically avoid Topanga between Victory and Oxnard in the future? There will also be a Costco added to this site so what happens to the Costco in Canoga Park on Roscoe and Canoga. Only time will tell. You can stay informed about the latest updates by signing up online at http://westfield.com/topanga/thevillage/contact/. I believe they also conduct surveys with residents so that will be an opportunity to voice your opinions.

Time to head back into the Delorean to 2011! Hope you enjoyed it.

Check out the other Back To The Future Series by clicking on the Back To The Future Series tab above or links provided below:

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Marty Mcfly

Anything and everything about the San Fernando Valley. This blog will take you back in time when the valley was covered with dirt and orange groves to a leader in the space race to its current status as America's suburb. Come along and join me on this adventure, I guarantee you have been influenced/impacted by the San Fernando Valley in one form or another even if you have never visited or heard of the SFV.

3 comments to ''BTTF Series #5: The Promenade Mall at Woodland Hills"

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  1. That large slide seen in the '60s image wasn't on the same property as Topanga Plaza. It was right next to the Topanga Theatre*, which was just south of Victory.

    You'd pay some nominal fee, and they'd give you a burlap bag which you'd take with you up a flight of stairs, then slide down using the bag as your "sled." There was also a miniature golf course on the same property, where the big Crate and Barrel store now stands.

    *For information on the Topanga Theatre, as well as countless other walk-in and drive in theatres that are long gone, check out cinematreasures.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. The auto dealership was Livingston Olds/Pontiac, and might still be there under Keyes ownership...the Livingstons owned that dealership for YEARS and were nice people to deal with...both my Mom and my wife bought cars from them.

    ReplyDelete

  3. Get all Costco warehouse club location at only one place. Outlet Stores Malls are here to provide your list of all 5 Costco Factory outlet stores locations in the US, Canada and Mexico. And also get Nike, Walmart, HomeDepot, PartyCity etc.. stores location using Internet only on one place

    ReplyDelete

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