Hillsdale Shopping Center

San Mateo, CA | retail/mixed use

A tale of two anchors: how a regional mall has transformed itself

Aerial View of Hillsdale Shopping Center

Originally built in 1955, Hillsdale Shopping Center has continually evolved but always maintained its status as a premier retail destination. The centerpiece of the Bohannon Development Company, Hillsdale has reinvented itself again through re-thinking the sites of its former Mervyn’s and Sears department stores.

Replacing Sears on the North Block, ELS designed an all new outdoor mixed-use dining and entertainment district. The 300,000 square foot, LEED Gold North Block redevelopment has been designed as a community gathering place bridging the emerging surrounding TOD and the existing interior shopping center. A soaring dining terrace overlooks an urban plaza lined with shops and restaurants anchored by a Cinepolis luxury theater and Pinstripes bistro/bowling alley. The district substantially expands the area’s retail offerings, anchors the north end of a two-story interior regional shopping center, and provides the community with a much-needed public place to share experiences and celebrate life. The design of the Hillsdale North Block embraced an innovative, team-based process in which three design firms, ELS, Stantec, and Lifescapes International, collaborated closely with ownership on the overall vision for the project in order to develop narratives on placemaking, character, customer experience, materiality, landscape, and sustainability. This shared vision created the common thread that helped knit together individual efforts such as the masterplan and architectural design by ELS, the design of the dining terrace seating environments and tenant criteria by Stantec, and the landscape design by Lifescapes International. The unique approach created a project with diverse appeal, authentic place-based design, and public spaces that enhance both the shopping center as well as the community around it.

At the south end of Hillsdale Shopping Center, ELS adapted the existing fortress-like Mervyn’s building into a multi-tenant anchor including The Cheesecake Factory, Forever 21, and H&M store. The exterior architecture was transformed with glazing, display windows, and perforated metal screens for a contemporary expression that elevated the multiple-tenant identities and created a human scale on the street. The interior mall was transformed with restaurant seating on the concourse, new lighting, and common area amenities to create a more experiential and effective anchor at the south end of the shopping center.


Gold Award, Renovations/Expansions, ICSC Global Design & Development Awards

Sustainability Commendation, ICSC Global Design & Development Awards

Project Stats
  • Client

    Bohannon Development Company

  • Size

    300,000 sf

  • LEED Certification

    Gold Targeted


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