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Stanford Shopping Center announces further renovation plans

Original post made on Aug 1, 2014

Stanford Shopping Center will enjoy a shopping spree of its own over the next two years, spending millions of dollars to bring 20 to 30 small shops, a handful of restaurants and new outdoor gathering spaces, officials said Thursday at an architectural unveiling ceremony.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 1, 2014, 3:16 PM

Comments (33)

Posted by Foodie
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 1, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Was hoping Stanford mall would add a gourmet food court like the ferry building in SF.

Posted by Supply & Demand
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 1, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Need a upper floor (more than two stories) food court like Westfield Mall San Jose, to attract crowd and longer stay with a great view of Stanford Campus and surrounded view of hills and Bay.

Posted by Native Palo Altan
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 1, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Stanford customers are really snooty during the weekdays - I think they are from elsewhere and are not Palo Altans (if you see what Palo Alto parents wear, you'll understand).

I wish Stanford would ban dogs from the mall. I see dogs urinating on poles and feces remnants on the cement. I don't want feces smeared on my shoes! By allowing dogs, Stanford is supporting elitism and selfishness rather than promoting a comfortable environment for all customers.

Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 1, 2014 at 10:20 pm

So far Simon has done a very poor job at Stanford, for over ten years now.
Architecturally, it's a hodgepodge of styles, colors, exceptionally poor maintenance, with the Bloomingdale's on ECR apparently never cleaned above the front entrance as it eventually turned black as is the top of the Macy's Building most prominently seen from the Street Market- a filthy black soot on it.The north side as seen from Sand Hill has always looked dirty. A very limited selection of restaurants for a shopping center of this scale and profile, especially with the loss of Fono's restaurants. There is no sense of place,fewer attractive public spaces, just a collection of stores, more commercialized with the large Nike sign in that formerly beautiful corridor. The remnants of Stanford's remodel are all that is left that is attractive. It's been downhill for ten years now and the burden is on Simon to show it can actually design and manage an upscale center like Stanford. So far the grade is an F.

Posted by Another long-time Native Palo Altan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2014 at 1:00 am

The elevations from El Camino are very unattractive. With parking already at a premium, where's everyone going to park if more of the parking spaces are consumed by new buildings? A nice multi-story garage facing El Camino? Arrghh!! Years ago when they redid the shopping center, they gobbled up parking spaces and made a mess of the traffic flow. The ultra-modern red "sculpture" piece that appears at the front of the shopping center on one of the architect's renderings has no place at Stanford. It doesn't fit the ambience of the center. This is afterall Palo Alto and part of the shopping center's attractiveness is it's openness, abundant greenery, beautiful flora and pleasant walkways without stores crammed everywhere. We don't want a modernistic behemoth like Valley Fair or Hillsdale!! Very sad.

Posted by Snow
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 2, 2014 at 1:04 am

We certainly don't want food courts. Very tacky!! We want to shop, and not crammed by crowds and people leaving food containers/wrappers littered everywhere aas they are won't to do! If you want a Westfield Mall, go there instead, but don't bring tacky to Stanford.

Posted by Sea-Seelam Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 2, 2014 at 2:15 am

Would it be possible to have a store like Dean & DeLuca or Bristol Farms?


Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2014 at 7:02 am

The modernistic style looks totally out of place. The new Apple store looks odd and bears no relation to its surroundings, just like the one on University Ave. The rendering here looks like a poor job just like the new San Antonio Center in Mountain View by architects who have no relationship
to our area and and impose their standard designs. This looks awful on top
of ten years of poor management already by Simon. Across the tracks in
Downtown PA is Lytton Gateway, which reflects the same kind of oversized
inappropriate transplanted design which bears no relation to its
surroundings. PA is in an horrendous downhill spiral and this looks like
more of the same.

Posted by Supply & Demand
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 2, 2014 at 11:38 am

Connect all the shopping center buildings (including garages) with upper floor sky bridges. This serve well in cold days and save energy too. Food Court is a must have. Encourage public transit and pedestrian traffic instead of cars. Give special consideration to start-up upscale specialty stores (rent discount?).

Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 2, 2014 at 11:53 am

Don't you love the bicycle in the photo? That's exactly what I want to do: fight traffic across town on my bicycle to shop at Stanford Mall and try to get anything I purchase home, in the dark, on my bicycle (think El Camino or Alma).

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Why not have open space surrounding by mall buildings facing El Camino Real with walkways and passageways leading to the western open space. Parking can be undergroung or multi story garage running along side.

All designed with classic architecture in mind.

Posted by Fairmeadow Dad
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 2, 2014 at 12:44 pm

the lawn to sit and relax on sounds great in theory, but the dog owners will turn it into a bathroom for dogs immediately and parents will be yelling at their kids to not play and roll around on it... my guess anyway.

Posted by skylr
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 2, 2014 at 2:12 pm

thumbs down to a food court! with all the eateries planned, in addition to everything downtown, present and future restaurants on ca. ave and el camino, who needs them?!

however, a dean and deluca....yep yep.... nice.

thumbs up to parking underground...... or better yet travel on connected trails/paths for walking/biking.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 2, 2014 at 2:17 pm

This looks like the final nail in the coffin of the Stanford Shopping Mall aesthetic that we grew up with. As one reader pointed out, the Apple and Sony store currently look like the outliers; once this renovation is complete they will become the standard design aesthetic. The Macy's and its brick facade, the concrete and tile multi-level fountains, all of that will soon look out of place. It'll be a matter of time before those will have to go. Sad.

I don't find the modern design aesthetic very palatable. The beauty of Stanford shopping center was its comfortable personality. With the change of management, increased crowding, and new design aesthetic this mall is going the way of all the rest. Boooooooooring.

Posted by Sea-Seelam Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Thank you "Skyler" for supporting our idea for Dean and Deluca.

How about a small Bristol Farms on El Camino near the 1900 block where JJs market used to be.

Two competing high end markets for our high end residents and customers. Lot of tax money so we can have free meterless parking near by???

What do you think?


Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm

@Sea-Seelam, Stanford already has Schwabs and Sigona's for speciality foods, meats, wines, etc. I don't think the mall could support 2 grocery stores. I would personally love to see a small CVS or Walgreens.

Posted by Sea-Seelam Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 2, 2014 at 4:39 pm

You are right. I shop at Sigona's. It is a cute market.

The Dean & Deluca and Bristol Farms are huge high-end markets that are the sizes of Whole Foods.


Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Sea-Seelam - There used to be a high end store where the Container Store is now, Andronico's. I don't think it had enough business to stay open.

Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 2, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Actually, an upscale food court would be fantastic, not only for shoppers, but for Stanford & Paly students, downtown employees, and parents with children (desperate to find fast meals for their family).

Agree - ban dogs from the mall. The dogs already use our PAUSD school lawns for their toilets - my children have come home with dog feces on their shoes several times. It's also a liability for the mall to allow dogs. There are enough affluent shoppers who can afford lawsuits.

Seelam Reddy, this is why you aren't ready to be elected to our City Council yet - you've only lived in Palo Alto for two years so you don't know the history of businesses, traffic flow, ordinances, etc. that a City Council member should know. The rest of the members will be taking time to educate you during the meetings.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm

I guess I only shop at a few stores at the mail, like Macys. I don't have a big opinion on the mall's expansion. I gather it makes a lot of money for Stanford. I do think traffic should be taken into account (with approvals from the city of Palo Alto). One thing I really wonder about is the store fronting El Camino Real (can't recall name) with the phony "Caribbean" look that had doors wide open and very cold air conditioning pouring out. In these times where residents are lectured to conserve energy, water, it offended me when I did see this establishment clearly wasting a lot of energy at the mall. If anyone has any influence on this, I would hope the requirement would be that stores at Stanford mall should keep their doors closed to reduce loss of air conditioned air.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 3, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Traffic flow at the shopping center has always been problematic from south Palo Alto.

The obvious way to get there from south Palo Alto would be Alma/Sand Hill, but the intersection is not what it should be. Making the U Turn in Menlo Park, does not work.

As a result, the obvious way now is to use Alma/Churchill/ECR, and then get caught up in T & C traffic.

The only other possibility is to use Oregon which only makes sense outside commute times. I used Oregon yesterday (Saturday mid morning) and was forced to stop at all traffic lights from Louis to ECR. Calling this an expressway is a joke, it is the slowest route. When the Ross Road lights are in action it will be another light to prevent efficient traffic flow through town.

I don't use Stanford SC very much, but when I do, the biggest problem is getting there and back without taking more time than the time I spend shopping.

Another option

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 3, 2014 at 6:41 pm

@ Resident: Two other options...
1. Alma to University, go underpass and either get on ECR and then turn left into mall or;
2. Alma to University, go to Garcia and turn right - you end up between Nordstrom on your left and Needless Mark Up on your right.

re: upscale food court. Rent is too expensive for food businesses. And Paly students do not have enough time to go to the mall and back for lunch.

Posted by iSez
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 3, 2014 at 9:39 pm

iSez is a registered user.

@Resident: How about Middlefield to left onto Embarcadero?

@Crescent Park Dad: It's Alma North to University underpass to right onto Arboretum. The problem with a food court is parking. It's already tough to find parking for shoppers. People who just want to go to the food court to eat won't want to put the time into finding parking. If the food court could be located at an easy in&out parking lot, it would work, but it seems that the only location for that would have been Andronico's, and that would be a far location for the mall shoppers.

Posted by randy albin
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 4, 2014 at 11:33 am

more people would be out shopping if they could afford to live in the bay area. what gives? is this better than eastridge? bring back good restaurants and down to earth shopping and prices

Posted by KK
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2014 at 11:53 am

As a 35-year resident, I have two comments: Yes, Simon has made a hash out of the Stanford Shopping Center. I've been disappointed that Stanford hasn't seen this and cared enough to stop it. The money must be good, so they close their eyes to the ugliness.
Secondly, the Stanford Shopping Center is not a mall. Never has been. It is the Stanford Shopping Center.

Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Lived her over 25 years so I have some perspective: First, I agree with Native Palo Altan. Ban the dogs. I can't tell you how many times self-absorbed dog owners are busy chatting/walking/shopping while I've almost killed myself tripping over their dogs' leashes. This isn't a dog park people. Second, I agree with KK. This isn't a mall (or at least it didn't used to be). It used to be an aesthetically unified shopping center with easy outdoor parking just steps away from the stores where I could easily pop in and out. Now it's turning into a hodge podge of designs with every inch spoken for and parking becoming more and more of a project. No more quick errands to the Shopping Center. And people wonder why Amazon is doing great business. So much easier! Third, folks on this list are clamoring for food courts and Dean & Deluca. We used to have Oakville Grocery folks! It was fabulous. Now we have Tiffany and Luis Vitton and all those oh so practical stores for buying a great diamond necklace or designer bag for lunch. Yum.

Posted by PA resident
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm

I hate posting comments on articles because it's a waste of my life, but I feel compelled to write this :). The lack of a sensible food court is a terrible (and forever ongoing?) oversight at the Stanford Shopping "Mall" (IMO if looks like a mall and acts like a mall, then it's a mall). The lack of a food court really detracts from Stanford as a destination for families and groups. Some people may think food courts are "tacky", but they are the reason why most people come and STAY at a mall.

A typical pattern at most malls is (A) shop for a while, (B) sit down for a quick bite where everyone gets to choose their own thing, (C) shop some more, (C) snack on something unhealthy, (D) rinse and repeat. This chain is broken due to the lack of fast and good food options at Stanford. Most existing eateries at Stanford, such as CPK, Max's, Flemings, Nordstrom Cafe, Yucca, etc. are expensive 1-2 hour sit-down affairs with a waiter involved, assuming you are willing to wait 15-30 minutes to even sit down at peak times! This interrupts the shopping flow, you end up tired and wanting to go home after. And for the most part, it's not like these are special one-of-a-kind restaurants, they are mostly standard boring fare, why should I waste half my shopping hours on boring food? And McDonalds, Chipotle, La Baguette, Melt, etc. aren't going to cut it for a quick bite either. (Please get rid of Melt... I don't know anyone who actually likes this place... It's expensive, greasy, over-salty grilled cheese on mediocre bread, how do you screw up grilled cheese?).

Please, PLEASE give us a small-ish, high-end food court with at least 4-6 options. Stanford doesn't have to stoop to the level of Panda Express or Cinnabon, it can be more like the SF Shopping Center. I don't mind paying $12-15 (or even $20) for a meal if it's FAST and GOOD.

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 4, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.

No ban on dogs, please. They cause fewer problems then say, enormous strollers, and add to the humanity of the shopping center. I love how shops leave water bowls outside for them.

I miss the two Fono restaurants and would love to see Italian and vegetarian (still miss Fresh Choice) restaurants. I also would like to see a lovely tea shop serving British-style afternoon tea. Surely that would be popular with shoppers.

Finally, how wonderful with the addition of a bookstore. It's unimaginable not to have a bookstore in a shopping center, and I still miss Books Inc. in that location.

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 4, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.

p.s. I've noticed a few of the planters with flowers and shrubs have been removed. I hope this isn't a trend. (It was sad when trees were moved from the parking lots by Macy's Men's Store and other areas.) Please preserve all of the existing foliage!

Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 5, 2014 at 4:59 pm

A. No Ban on dogs. Having a dog freindly mall is amazing and this is what draws clientele here. Dog owners always clean up after their dogs. If any sort of debris is left on the floor a mall employee is there to clean it up two seconds later; which is mostly garbage left behind my children or adults. The dog friendly enviornment and water bowls outside the shops make the Stanford Shopping Center what it is today.

B. Where did the frogs go? That was a landmark that was loved!

C. The flowers are also another draw to the center and make the enviornment as beautiful as it is. Definitely perserve the existing foliage!!

D. A little pop-up "higher end" CVS/Convenient shop where clientele can buy advil, magazines, gum etc. maybe even by the management office would be amazing.

Posted by SSC worker
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 3, 2014 at 11:51 am

A few comments:

1. As a former worker at the mall, there is a real lack of affordable places for employees at SSC to eat a quick meal. Chipotle is a most-welcome addition but their menu is not varied enough to eat here more than once or twice a week. So for that I think a food court is badly needed, especially since very few workers are affluent enough to live nearby and are spending quite a bit to commute.

2. The Center's main entrance off of El Camino is appalling! What a wasted opportunity, especially given the incredibly grand and beautiful entrance to Stanford U right next door! The front is made worse now with the addition of Flemmings and Bloomies in the "parking lot". Poor classy Ralph Lauren now looks hopelessly out of place.

3. Overall, the hodgepodge of building designs is especially ugly. Hopefully this will be corrected with the remodel, especially the horrendous "faux-Spanish arches" from the 60's. But until Macy's does a complete gut job of their exterior (and interior, for that matter), it will bring down the look of the entire center.

Posted by John
a resident of Atherton
on May 9, 2016 at 9:28 am

Most people from Atherton, Woodside, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Portola Valley avoid Stanford Shopping Center nowadays. It is overwhelmed by visitors from lesser quality communities and parking is difficult. It is far from being the high toned venue of years past, and the architecture is aesthetically displeasing at best. One of the most high toned stores, Ralph Lauren, threw in the towel and left. Everyone whom I know that shop there sneak in, buy what they need from the better stores, and leave quickly to avoid the people who largely frequent the place without buying anything.

Posted by DonaldT
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Thank you for your insights John.

I am terrified of being overwhelmed by visitors from the lesser quality communities of which you speak.

The lack of aesthetically pleasing architecture is the nail in the coffin.

I am fleeing this jerkwater town.

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