Grossmont Center
LocationLa Mesa, California, United States
Coordinates32°46′41″N 117°00′41″W / 32.77804°N 117.01127°W / 32.77804; -117.01127
Address5500 Grossmont Center Drive
Opening date1961
DeveloperDel E. Webb Construction Company
OwnerFR Grossmont, LLC
ArchitectWelton Becket & Associates
No. of stores and services100
No. of anchor tenants7
Total retail floor area939,000 square feet (87,000 m2)[1]
No. of floors1
Public transit accessGrossmont Transit Center

Grossmont Center is an outdoor shopping mall in La Mesa, California, a suburb in East County, San Diego. The mall opened in 1961 and is managed by Federal Realty Investment Trust. The anchor stores are Target, Macy's, RH Outlet, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, and Reading Cinemas.


The mall was built in 1961 by Del E. Webb Construction Company, with Welton Becket and associates as architect. It occupied 110 acres (45 ha) of land and cost over $20 million to build. At the time, it was the largest development in La Mesa's history.[2]

Marston's (later The Broadway)[3] and Montgomery Ward were the original two anchor stores. Marston's, which had a location in downtown San Diego, had begun consultations in 1956 to choose the site of the Grossmont Center store, their first branch location. The store design featured 3,200 feet (980 m) of moldings, gold leaf lettering, murals painted by five artists, and a Gothic-style canopy over its entry.[2] Other major tenants included Longs Drugs, a barbershop, several shoe stores, a florist, a fabric shop, a jeweler, and two dime stores: S. H. Kress & Co. and F. W. Woolworth Company.[2]

Fifty thousand people attended the mall's opening ceremonies on October 5, 1961 – 20,000 more than the population of La Mesa at the time.[2] Present at opening ceremonies were the regional manager of the Montgomery Ward chain; June Wilkinson, a Playboy model; and several representatives of the Marston's chain.[2]

By 1965, a 1,000 seat movie theater had been added to the mall.[2] Buffum's was added in 1979 as a third anchor store in a newly constructed wing,[4] and Bullock's in 1983 as a fourth.[5] Also at this point, a parking deck was added to the mall.[2] Buffum's closed in 1990, with Bullock's and Woolworth following in 1993, although Cost Plus World Market[6][7] and a food court were added.[8] The former Buffum's became Oshman's SuperSports USA (later bought out by Sports Authority) in 1991,[9] while Target opened in the vacated Bullock's store in 1995.

See's Candies is an original store at Grossmont Center which stands in the same place and is still doing business.[6]

In 1992, the mall's movie theater complex closed,[10] but it was reopened and expanded on May 26, 1995.[11] Barnes & Noble Booksellers was also added on November 24, 1997, replacing Woolworth which closed in 1993. In between the reopening of the movie theater and the opening of Barnes & Noble, The Broadway chain was bought out by, and changed into a Macy's in 1996.[12] Montgomery Ward closed in 2000 and was replaced by Walmart four years later in 2004.[13] In 2016 Sports Authority closed after the chain filed for bankruptcy. The store was re-tenanted in September 2016 by a Restoration Hardware outlet.[14]

On August 2nd, 1993, a Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza restaurant opened at Grossmont Center, as a relocation of a Pizza Time Theatre that was located in El Cajon. The Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza plans to close between 2024 and 2025 when their lease expires. A new updated location 15 minutes from the Grossmont Center CEC in the nearby city of Santee opened on September 18, 2023.[15]

In 2021 Federal Realty, a publicly traded real estate investment trust, purchased a majority interest in the center, which had been owned and operated for decades by one family. Reportedly 99 percent of the retail space was occupied at the time of the sale. Federal Realty is considering options for major redevelopment in 2025, when they will have full control of the space.[16]


  1. ^ "Leasing information". Grossmont Center. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Newland, James D. (18 September 2011). "Grossmont Center's Kickoff Included Playboy Bunny, Chargers Season Tix". La Mesa-Mount Helix Patch. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  3. ^ Engstrand, Iris Wilson (2005). San Diego: California's Cornerstone. Sunbelt Publications. p. 172. ISBN 9780932653727.
  4. ^ "Center growing with addition of 15 new stores and Buffum's coming soon". Los Angeles Times. 25 May 1978. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  5. ^ Spiller, Virginia (28 December 1983). "Expanded Grossmont Center notes substantial rise in sales". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  6. ^ a b "Reinventing the mall: Grossmont Center hopes stress on value is right on Target". The San Diego Union-Tribune. 6 April 1995.
  7. ^ "Woolworth will close 2 area stores". The San Diego Union-Tribune. 15 October 1993.
  8. ^ "Sales at regional shopping centers up 2.5%". San Diego Union-Tribune. 26 October 1993.
  9. ^ Kraul, Chris (15 September 1992). "Discount Chains Enter San Diego Market". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Cinema Grossmont is quietly closed, leaving county just 2 movie palaces". San Diego Union-Tribune. 18 February 1992.
  11. ^ "Grossmont theater complex to reopen with 9 new screens". San Diego Union-Tribune. 25 May 1995.
  12. ^ "Macy's make-over boosts sales". The San Diego Union-Tribune. 5 October 1996.
  13. ^ "New Wal-Marts expected to give a boost to La Mesa, El Cajon malls". San Diego Source. 26 April 2004. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  14. ^ Hirsh, Lou (September 29, 2016). "La Mesa Revs Up For Redevelopment PROPERTY: Various Projects Add to Momentum for Change". San Diego Business Journal. Retrieved 30 October 2017.(subscription required)
  15. ^
  16. ^ Horn, Jonathan (August 13, 2021). "Grossmont Center has new owner with redevelopment plans". ABC 10 News San Diego. Retrieved 16 August 2021.