THE PAST AND FUTURE OF BROADWAY PLAZA SHOPPING CENTER
Walnut Creek’s fortune stems from its gift of geography in the heart of the East Bay. From its earliest days, the city was an essential transportation hub for Contra Costa County. With a pleasing climate and terrain of rolling hills tucked below Mt. Diablo, it was also well-suited for investment.
In 1949, an agent for San Francisco’s MacDonald Products Company chose a parcel of land on Main Street for the site of a commercial venture that transformed the city into a regional shopping mecca. Thirty-acres were acquired, from eight different property owners, before construction began in 1950 on what was originally called Broadway Walnut Creek Shopping Center. JC Penney and Sears were the main attractions, along with Lucky’s and Woolworth’s. On October 11, 1951 Broadway Shopping Center made its debut, complete with 38 stores and 1,500 parking spaces.
Screen legend Harpo Marx appeared at the official opening on November 8, attracting thousands of people and creating plenty of fanfare. In 1985, Macerich Northwestern Associates acquired the shopping center and renamed it Broadway Plaza. Sales tax revenue from the outdoor shopping center helped usher in a wide range of community improvements including parks, swimming pools, and a golf course. Over its 63-year history Broadway Plaza has taken many twists and turns; currently it’s getting a $250 million makeover.
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The pages are packed with local happenings, great places to eat, drink, and shop, people and places in the news, and much more.