2005 - Riverside Plaza (RXSQ)
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Razed, Rebuilt, Revived

Can a reborn shopping center inject new life into an older suburban neighborhood? Indeed it can as witnessed with the recently rebuilt Riverside Plaza.

Opened in three stages in 1956-57 as an outdoor shopping plaza and enclosed during a 1984 renovation, Riverside’s first mall-like center has now come full-circle with its rebirth as an outdoor plaza once again.

As part of the rebuild, an assortment of new shops and eateries have planted roots with still more to come in a second phase currently under construction (“The Orchard Shops”). The only portion left from previous incarnations is the 1957-era Harris-Gottschalks department store, itself receiving a complete makeover.

Also new to the mix is the addition of a Borders Books & Music and a 16-screen Regal Cinemas, which combined with the main street-like atmosphere and new eateries — including California Pizza Kitchen, Ooka Japanese Restaurant, Citrus City Grille — makes the new Plaza much more of a dining and entertainment destination than before. Oh, and we can’t forget about the relocated Trader Joe’s, which in reality is only about 25 yards from where it previously stood.

Likewise, adding extra life is the regularly-held events involving local schools and community organizations as well as “holiday flavoring” with a bit of fireworks during Fourth of July and a dash of snow during Christmastime.

More importantly, however, is that with the revival has come a renewed sense of place and re-invigoration within the surrounding Magnolia Center neighborhood, as highlighted in a recent article in the Los Angeles Times: Plaza revival breathes new life into Magnolia Center.

(2024 Update: In July 2009, the Gottschalks chain shuttered, with the Riverside Plaza store quickly taken up a month later by Los Angeles-based fashion retailer, Forever 21. F21 remained in the building until January 2013 before relocating in July 2013 into the smaller (and former) Borders Books & Music building (that currently houses Burlington). The 1957-era Harris-Gottschalks building was eventually modified and split into smaller sections, with Nordstrom Rack, Jo-Ann’s Fabrics, and Marshalls opening up within beginning in April of 2014.)

Slideshow: Riverside Plaza – Razed, Rebuilt, Revived

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Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Plaza, Los Angeles Times (LAT-20051120), Riverside Press-Enterprise (20140403), RaincrossSquare.com

2024 PAGE UPDATE: Added 2024 update; removed outdated links to some company websites; removed outdated slideshow link.

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3 Comments

  1. First, this site is fantastic. Excellent job. Could anybody out there get any pictures of the Riverside Plaza when it was active the first time it was an open mall (before 1984) and when it was a closed mall (1984-1999)? Something similar to the great Tyler Mall story would be nice. I lived in Riverside in the 1980s, and would like to see some pictures of the Plaza from then. This site is bringing back some good memories.

  2. Chris, thanks for the kudos. A posting on the history of the Riverside Plaza is in the works (as is a photo gallery). Tracking down usable images, however, indeed has been a bit difficult. We would greatly accept any contributions folks may have.

  3. Gottschalks is no longer in business, Forever 21 is in its place. There is also many more shops there, but I can’t remember any. Sorry 🙁

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