Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Retail & Industry
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Published on June 13, 2024
Emporium Centre San Francisco Revives Downtown with Diverse New Tenants Amidst Retail ShakeupSource: Google Street View

San Francisco's largest shopping center, the Emporium Centre San Francisco, has injected a dose of optimism into the downtown retail scene by securing leases with seven new tenants. This move comes as a counterbalance to the notable departures of several large retailers over the past year, including the exit of anchor tenant Nordstrom. According to a recent report by The SF Chronicle, the 1.5 million-square-foot property had been grappling with significant vacancies, leaving it half empty.

The shopping center, which shed its Westfield label after a management switch when Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield returned the property to its lender and subsequently renamed by the current caretaker, Trident Pacific, to "Emporium Centre San Francisco," is now welcoming a blend of enterprises, including the already operational A&S Cell Accessories and Repairs; Hey Hi Toys; and the Paw Box vending machines, as stated in a report by San Francisco Business Times, and next month, the mall will see the addition of +Friends, a vintage retailer, and Merkado, which offers Japanese consumer goods.

Among the newcomers are two non-retail entities; Opportunities for All, an organization linking youth to employment and training opportunities which has leased 17,000 square feet of office space, and Block by Block, a service provider for the nearby Yerba Buena Community Benefit District. "We’re seeing a momentum shift downtown with increasing interest in locating here and we’re excited about adding this diverse group of new tenants that will drive additional foot traffic to the Centre", Lane Wade, the general manager of the mall, stated, as per The SF Chronicle.

The introduction of smaller local businesses in place of larger retailers aligns with the city's broader economic objectives, as Sarah Dennis Phillips, director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, highlighted the downtown area's shifting inclusive nature for small business entrepreneurs, stating, "For too long, many small business owners were priced out of downtown spaces," in comments to The SF Chronicle. Despite these additions, the vacancies left by previous high-profile tenants like Nordstrom, L'Occitane, and Sephora, cast a long shadow, with more than half of the property's leased space expiring before the end of June and a further 11% due between July 2024 and July 2025, per information from San Francisco Business Times.

The Emporium Centre's new leasing strategy is a noteworthy step toward revitalizing the once-bustling commercial hub, reflecting a potentially transformative period for the downtown district as it adapts to changing retail landscapes and consumer preferences.