| Ellyanah Suriben, Michika Yamamoto | January 28, 2020 |
Hillsdale Mall has changed the game for in-person shopping experiences that can’t be replicated on the internet. In an effort to bring more consumers to the shopping center, the North Block was added in late November 2019 to introduce a fresh set of stores and entertainment for people to enjoy. Stores that are now open include Lululemon, West Elm, Apple, and Shake Shack. The redevelopment also includes a bowling alley and a brand new cinema. Apple and Lululemon were at the mall before but are now in upgraded locations.
It is not common knowledge that the Hillsdale Mall is a family run business, run by the Bohannon family. The Hillsdale mall was one of the Bohannon family’s first projects. The family has been developing properties on the Peninsula since the 1920s and is a prevalent developer all around the bay. Depending on who you talk to, the family story can change. To some, they are community pillars worthy of naming schools after, and to others, they are more nefarious with allegations of blocking BART lines in order to increase car traffic to their shopping mall. Either way, they continue to be responsible for bringing much of the development to the Peninsula as we know it.
Since opening its doors, the Bohannon family always kept an eye on the trends and constantly renovated the mall. The business has continued this and has been using different methods to bring more people to shop since the mall first opened. As more families began moving to the suburbs in the 1950s, the need for retail stores increased. The Hillsdale Shopping Center first opened in December of 1954, placing all the stores in one convenient spot. The mall featured the first suburban branch store of Macy’s San Francisco. Now, once again, the Bohannon’s have decided to expand the mall with even more stores amenities than there ever was before. The proposed plan originated in March 2013 but was put on hold due to “changing market conditions” in December 2013. The plan was modified and started up again in November 2014. The modified changes including scrapping the plan for a three-story target and instead adding a bowling alley and a movie theater.
Cinépolis is a luxury theater with an enhanced movie-going experience. The theater was designed to be more elegant and clean than other theaters in the area. The ticket system is also different from other theaters, as the workers do not check your ticket until you are seated. The cinema offers a total of over 800 comfortable reclining seats and waiters who provide you with restaurant-quality food.
However, online reviews reflect that the brand-new theater still has room for improvement. Some students agree, like Junior Griffin Conley, “having the waiter stand right in front of me as the movie played was a bit distracting and I didn’t like it very much” he stated.
Although the theater tells guests to come at least thirty minutes early to order, many people still decide to order their food during the movie. The high prices of the food and the inconvenience of ordering may turn some people away. Just three chicken tenders cost a whopping fifteen dollars. One customer on Yelp complained, “This place is clearly poorly managed. I might not have minded the high prices if the service and food were worth it. Sadly, this isn’t the case. I doubt if we’ll be returning any time soon.”
Pinstripes, a new entertainment, and food venue, has also opened right next to Cinépolis. They provide made-from-scratch Italian American cuisine and entertainment, with bowling and bocce. Pinstripes is popular around the country with numerous locations in eight states. According to their website they “were built from a passion to gather, to celebrate, and to experience sophisticated fun.”
“The Hillsale mall was one of the Bohannon family’s first projects.”
In addition to these brand new entertainment areas, popular restaurants such as Shake Shack opened in the mall, to accompany the rest of the brand new restaurants that have made their way to Hillsdale. Shake Shack is well-known for its lines that go down many blocks and this will be the third location open in the Bay Area. The North Block is also looking forward to more restaurants, as Belmateo Meat Co., Ethan Allen, Palette Tea House, and The Refuge are also coming soon. The Belmateo Meat store is a meat company both running casual dining and a butcher store for customers to be able to enjoy the meat both as the restaurant and at home. There is also the Palette Tea House which is a family-owned restaurant of the Ng family who had immigrated from Hong Kong and is steadily increasing their business. The Refuge is another restaurant owned by a small family. They opened their first in San Carlos and have decided to expand toward bigger projects. The outdoor area was also another major change as the area allows people to relax while enjoying the daily water shows, another new commodity that was added to the mall.