Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Eagle Rock Plaza: Back to the Future

Westfield has quietly dumped its Eagle Rock location, selling the mall to Pennsylvania-based Centro Watt. It's Centro Watt's entry to the Los Angeles market, although it's already in the region, including Oxnard (Esplanade Shopping Center) and San Bernardino (San Bernardino Center).

As part of the change, Centro Watt has returned the mall to its original name, Eagle Rock Plaza. It had been known by that name from its opening in the early 1970s until just a few years ago, when Westfield went on its branding binge (hence the "Westfield Eagle Rock" moniker).

The Eagle Rock Plaza, as we've written about before, is an interesting and highly unusual mall. Portions of it feel like a throwback to the 1980s (indeed, you get a time warp feel while walking through it). Yet it boasts a relatively new Target store.

It's home to one of the saddest Robinsons-May locations you've ever seen -- including a furniture department which, I swear, has been trying to unload the same couches for a decade. Yet Macy's is now taking over -- and I've got to believe a makeover is in the works. (I had a feeling that Macy's wouldn't take over the Eagle Rock location, but I was wrong.)

There is no food court, no movie theatre. But it just opened a Chuck E. Cheese... and most fascinating to us, the Eagle Rock Plaza continues to add more restaurants and stores from the Philippines. That includes Goldilocks Restaurant and Bakery and the Jollibee fast food joint... and soon Chow King (another fast food spot), Bench (a clothing store) and Seafood City (grocery store). We sometimes call the Eagle Rock Plaza the "Mall of Manila" because of it.

Perhaps this unusual mix of stores scared Westfield into selling. I personally am looking forward to the new Bench and Chow King outlets... and will keep watching to see how Centro Watt tries to revitalize the mall.

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