San Francisco architect Mark Hogan, founder of OpenScope Studio, has thrown out an idea for filling the vacant former Nordstrom space in the mall formerly called the Westfield Centre on SF's Market Street, and it makes a lot more sense than a soccer stadium.
"So, it’s a hard time for retail ― although the San Francisco Center is far from vacant or closed, Bloomingdale’s and many other high-end retailers are still open for business," Hogan writes. "As people theorized how the Nordstrom space could be reused (pickleball courts?), Mayor London Breed mentioned that it could be a soccer stadium someday to the press. At first, this was passed off as a long range hypothetical… but then, news broke that this was a very real idea and architecture firm Gensler had prepared renderings."
Hogan notes that "this is a billion dollar plus project" for a Major League Soccer team that doesn't even exist here yet. And it's not like anyone has any real plans to demolish the whole mall structure, which was just redeveloped at great expense seventeen years ago.
So, he suggests, Legoland would be a far simpler and incredibly popular solution for the 300,000-square-foot Nordstrom space that would likely otherwise have to be subdivided or reused for something other than retail.
"Developing Legoland in the Nordstrom space would be a rounding error as far as costs go when compared to building a stadium, and it would create a year-round destination instead of a sports venue that hosts less than 20 matches a year," Hogan writes.
Build a soccer stadium elsewhere, and let's start courting the Lego company, he suggests — throwing this out there just a month after IKEA opened down the street to immediate crowds and excitement.
The nearest Legoland currently is all the way in Milpitas. And while that might be too close from Lego's perspective, a Legoland in the middle of San Francisco — and a smaller one — would likely draw a different clientele of foreign tourists traveling with kids, and Peninsula and North Bay dwellers who would rather not drive to Milpitas.
It's also right next to a BART station, which makes it all the more convenient.
Stay tuned to see if anyone at City Hall is getting gears in motion on this idea — and any new tenant in the Nordstrom space will ultimately be up to the mall's receiver, or a new owner, to decide.
Image via OpenScope Studio