The former Westfield San Francisco Centre rebranding to ‘Emporium’ – Yahoo Finance

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An embattled downtown San Francisco shopping center is being renamed and rehabbed after former owner Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield gave up the keys to the lender months ago. Signage will soon go up indicating that “Westfield San Francisco Centre” has morphed into “Emporium Centre San Francisco,” a nod to the 19th century Emporium department store that first occupied the space.

“The foundation of this site has spectacular elements with the historic dome and Beaux-Arts façade, which remain attractions and define its stalwart history,” JLL’s Lane Wade, the center’s general manager, said in a statement. “The façade was the only part of the building to survive the 1906 earthquake and was viewed by residents as a symbol of ‘courage and vigor’ during the City’s rebuilding. We are focused on restoring that unwavering spirit to the site.”

Trident Pacific, which was named by a San Francisco Superior Court judge in October to manage the property, has tapped real estate services company JLL as property manager and leasing agent and hired new management staff, according to an emailed press release.

“Our job is to write the Centre’s next chapter by simultaneously stabilizing and improving the property. As we do this, we want people to know that we’re open and we have a great collection of retailers and restaurants for guests to enjoy,” Gregg Williams, principal receiver of Trident Pacific, said in a statement.

That will be a tall order, according to Jim Bieri, principal at Stokas Bieri Real Estate in Detroit, who brought several tenants including J. Crew to San Francisco Centre before Westfield took it over 20 years ago.

“It’s possible that San Francisco Centre can be reinvigorated but it will take a huge investment,” he said by email, adding that it’s not surprising that Trident and JLL have declined to provide much detail about their plans or direction, “as they are taking over a property that Westfield walked away from.”

Tenants have been fleeing the mall, and American Eagle last fall went so far as to take Westfield to court, alleging “neglect” and “a blind eye to rampant criminal activity.” JLL may also have to contend with co-tenancy clauses that could allow remaining tenants to exit or renegotiate their leases due to anchor Nordstrom’s departure last year, according to Bieri.

Marisa Rodriguez, who leads the Union Square Alliance, said businesses have been addressing issues that some observers say has led shoppers to avoid the area and retailers to leave. City government has cited a significant decline in office workers. “We’ve taken substantial steps to ensure that Union Square is a clean, safe, and welcoming experience to help the City rebuild trust and excitement in the area,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

Bloomingdale’s continues to anchor the center, which also retains Coach, H&M, American Eagle, Lululemon, Aritzia, Ted Baker, Vans, Burke Williams Day Spa, Kate Spade, Rolex, Shake Shack, Zara and Buckhorn Grill, among others, according to Trident and JLL’s release. Bloomingdale’s owner Macy’s Inc. last week announced it would close 150 Macy’s stores in the next three years but expand Bloomingdale’s, which caters to a more upscale clientele. San Francisco is anticipating the exit of the Macy’s flagship in nearby Union Square, though the company has said it hasn’t finalized its plans.

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