San Francisco's former Westfield Centre is getting a new name

The San Francisco Centre shopping mall on Market Street, formerly known as the Westfield Centre, is getting a new name. The renaming was announced Thursday to help revive the flailing retail space, but also to celebrate the site's storied history of commerce. 

The owners, Trident Pacific, said the mall will now be known as Emporium Centre San Francisco. They said the name pays tribute to the first department store that opened at this location in 1896, called The Emporium. 

Guests can expect to see new branding, including a new logo, soon. At the time, The Emporium was billed as the first department store on the West Coast, according to Gregg Williams, principal receiver of Trident Pacific. 

Trident Pacific has hired JLL – a real estate services company – to act as the mall's property manager and leasing agent, essentially putting new management in place. 

"San Francisco has always emerged stronger from fluctuating economic cycles and we believe this unique and accessible location will too," said Lane Wade, who was appointed as the mall's general manager in December. 

"The foundation of this site has spectacular elements with the historic dome and Beaux-Arts façade, which remain attractions and define its stalwart history. The façade was the only part of the building to survive the 1906 earthquake and was viewed by residents as a symbol of ‘courage and vigor’ during the City’s rebuilding," Wade said. 

Management and owners said they are looking to stabilize and improve the property by bringing in new food options and by increasing the number of events. 

While the mall still offers numerous retail locations such as Bloomingdale's, Coach, H&M, lululemon, Rolex and other familiar-name brands, it has certainly struggled as of late. 

Last May, Nordstrom, one of the mall's anchor stores, announced they would not be renewing their lease. At the time, the retailer had said San Francisco's downtown dynamic had changed and that there was a lack of foot traffic. The store closed last August


Mayor Breed suggests a soccer stadium as Westfield mall replacement

Mayor London Breed floated some ideas about what to do with empty downtown buildings during the Bloomberg Technology Summit Thursday and one of them was to demolish Westfield mall and make it a soccer stadium.

That may have been the writing on the wall as, the following month, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, who owned the mall at the time, said they were transferring management of the mall to its lender, leaving the site's future in limbo. 

Shortly after those developments, SF Mayor London Breed had some creative suggestions about how the site could be used in the future. She said it could be re-imagined as a soccer stadium

The mayor's ‘Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future' claims to lay out a long-term plan to revitalize the city, while also addressing today's needs. 

San Francisco's post-pandemic struggles and downtown office vacancies have been well-documented. Just this week, the announcement that Macy's would close its flagship Union Square store, possibly within the next two years, sent shock waves throughout the Bay and beyond as it has served as a popular tourist destination and a bit of a cultural touchstone for the city since the 1940s.

The closure is due to the company's restructuring where they will focus on its remaining stores and their luxury brand. Macy's is the parent company of Bloomingdale's. 

But there is optimism about this beleaguered downtown retail corridor. Some business owners say change is inevitable. There are instances of restaurants doing well and signs of revitalization. 

City officials said the success of downtown San Francisco depends on the success of its retail spaces, including the soon-to-be rebranded Emporium Centre San Francisco. 

Store closures are inevitable, but only time will tell if ingenuity and a rebrand will be a true recipe for success for a revitalized downtown San Francisco. 


Macy's closing 150 stores nationwide, including San Francisco's flagship Union Square store

Macy's will close 150 stores nationwide in the next two years, including San Francisco's flagship Union Square store.