South Coast Plaza is a shopping center in Costa Mesa, California. The largest retail mall on the West Coast of the United States, its yearly pre-COVID sales of more than $1.5 billion were the highest in the country. Its 275 retailers have the largest concentration of design fashion retail in the United States, with the second highest sales volume in California at $800 per square foot ($8,600/m2), trailing only Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose-Santa Clara, which has a $809 per square foot ($8,710/m2). The national average per square foot is $411 ($4,420/m2). Three Macy’s stores, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue anchor the mall. South Coast Plaza is California’s largest shopping mall and the fourth largest in the United States.
The South Coast Plaza structure has always had a significant design aspect. The angular 1973 Bullock’s wing built by Welton Becket and the 1977 I. Magnin wing designed by Frank Gehry were two of the mall’s most notable expansions. In 1982, sculptor Isamu Noguchi was commissioned by Henry Segerstrom to construct a modest plaza at one end of the South-Coast facility. The resulting “California Scenario” won an international award and is liked by both visitors and employees from the adjacent business buildings. The mall’s 1986-1987 expansion included contemporary architecture with a repeating pyramid pattern. Chandeliers were designed to resemble inverted pyramids, and the escalator atrium rising to the center’s third story was inspired by the Grand Gallery of the Pyramid of Khufu. Sears and May Company’s original Mid-Century Modern exteriors were renovated shortly after. Landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson created the Bridge of Gardens pedestrian bridge and accompanying Garden Terrace in 2000. There are also carousels in large rest areas.
Anton Segerstrom felt that the facility needed to be remodeled and hired Bentley Management Group as the project manager and Gruen Associates as the architect in 2006. Howard S. Wright was chosen as the general contractor, and work on a $30 million remodeling project to upgrade the center began in the summer of 2006. The original burgundy tile flooring were replaced with Italian ivory marble, and travertine was used to surround new water and fountain elements at South Coast Plaza. The antiquated brass side railings and all door/elevator hardware, including a glass elevator, were replaced with modern and contemporary oil-rubbed bronze. Construction began in the Bloomingdale’s wing and was completed in time for South Coast Plaza’s 40th anniversary in the fall of 2007, just one year later. This is the largest renovation for the center since the Bridge of Gardens, which connected the main building to the Crystal Court in 1999, and the exterior/interior redesign of the West building.
Next Point of Interest: Santiago Creek