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Puente Hills Mall
South Exterior
Map
LocationCity of Industry, California
Coordinates33°59′37″N 117°55′39″W / 33.99356°N 117.92750°W / 33.99356; -117.92750
Opening date1974
DeveloperThe Hahn Company
OwnerKam Sang Company
No. of stores and services155
No. of anchor tenants7 (3 open, 4 vacant by December 2022)[1]
Total retail floor area1,000,000 sq ft (93,000 m2)[2]
No. of floors2

Puente Hills Mall, located in City of Industry, California, United States, is a major regional shopping center in the San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County. It is most notable for serving as the filming site for the Twin Pines/Lone Pine Mall for the 1985 movie Back to the Future starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Anchor tenants are Burlington, Round 1 Entertainment, and Ross Dress For Less.

History

1974-75 opening

Puente Hills Mall was opened in phases over a year from February 1974 through Spring 1975, after the completion of the Pomona Freeway a few years earlier.[citation needed]

The first anchor to open, on February 18, 1974, was The Broadway, with three levels and 160,000 square feet. J.W. Robinson's followed, opening in March. Sears followed, and by March 1975 the mall had about 150 shops open. JCPenney opened on April 16, 1975.[3][4] By September 1975 the mall reported 152 shops open and announced plans for construction of an adjacent 41-acre auto mall and home improvement and home furnishings retail district.[5]

The mall has a cross-shaped design and was developed by The Hahn Company.[citation needed]

1990s

In 1993, J.W. Robinson's rebranded as Robinsons-May after the chain merged with May Company. In 1996, two anchor stores, The Broadway (at the time purchased by Macy's) and JCPenney, were closed. At the time of JCPenney's departure, the mall was at about 50% occupancy.[6] The mall was extensively renovated afterwards and features a 20-screen AMC Theatres megaplex, and stores traditionally found in power centers such as 24 Hour Fitness and Burlington Coat Factory, in addition to the remaining two original anchors, Robinsons-May and Sears. Ross Dress for Less, Circuit City, Linens 'n Things, Spectrum Club, Burlington Coat Factory, Borders, and CompUSA all opened in 1998.[citation needed]

2000s

In September 2006, Borders was officially closed while Robinsons-May rebranded as Macy's, after Federated purchased The May Department Stores Company in 2005. Linens 'n Things, Circuit City, and CompUSA all closed their locations at the mall in 2008 and 2009. Circuit City and CompUSA had both gone bankrupt while Linens 'n Things was closed as part of a strategy to focus on online shopping. On August 28, 2010, the Japanese sports entertainment chain Round1 opened the first U.S. location of Round1 Bowling & Amusement, a video game arcade and bowling alley, as a new anchor. It was the company's first overseas store, replacing Linens 'n Things.[citation needed]

The southern side of Puente Hills Mall as seen from Colima Road in 2019

The center of the mall previously featured a large cubed water fountain, then a merry-go-round attraction built in 1990, but it was later removed by the mall's owners, Krausz Companies, as they were losing money in its operation. An East Asian-style koi pond replaced the carousel, but was removed as of 2006. The koi were moved to Sycamore Lake at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. The mall underwent a full interior makeover in 2007 after the removal of the koi pond.[citation needed]

Due to the large and influential Asian immigrant populations residing and/or operating businesses in nearby areas (notably in Industry, Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Walnut, and Diamond Bar), some redesigns of the mall incorporated feng shui principles.[7]

Decline

Numerous empty store fronts at the Mall c. 2023

Toys "R" Us opened in June 2011, taking the spot previously occupied by Circuit City. Toys "R" Us had formerly been located at the Plaza at Puente Hills on Gale Avenue in Industry. It closed along with all Toys 'R' Us stores in early 2018, shutting down on April 15, 2018.[8] In 2021, Round1 expanded into the former Toys 'R' Us retail space to open the first U.S. location of their Japanese "Spo-Cha" indoor sports and interactive activity centers.[citation needed]

The former Sears store at the mall in 2023

On May 31, 2018, it was announced that Sears would be closing as part of a plan to close 72 stores nationwide. The store closed in September 2018.[9]

On December 1, 2019, Forever 21 announced it would close the Puente Hills Mall store along with 21 other locations in California, and 90 stores nationwide. The store closed in January 2020.[10]

On January 5, 2022, Macy's announced that their Puente Hills Mall anchor would be closed in the first financial quarter of 2022.[11] The store closed on March, leaving Burlington, Round 1, and AMC as the three final remaining anchors in the mall.[citation needed]

Crime

Numerous crimes have been reported around the mall property going back into the late 1980s. Recent decline in foot traffic around the mall has been a catalyst for recent crimes.

1991 murder spree

Puente Hills Mall Murders
LocationPuente Hills Mall
DateJuly 5, 1991-August 27, 1991
Attack type
Robberies, Shootings
Weapons9 mm caliber Beretta
Deaths5; Jose Avina 22, Shirley Denogean 56, Elizabeth Nisbet 49, Willie Sams 40, Augustine Ramirez 53
Injured3; Eugene Valdez 55, Juan Rios 28, Sonia Aguirre 26
Victims8
PerpetratorJohn Irving Lewis; accomplices – Eileen Huber, Robbin Machuca, Vincent Hubbard[16]
MotiveRobbery

In September 1991, a gang of four suspects from West Covina later identified as John Irving Lewis, Lewis' girlfriend Eileen Huber, Lewis' step-sister Robbin Machuca, and Machuca's boyfriend Vincent Hubbard was arrested in connection with a murder spree around the mall property. The gang was found to have been involved in five murders and three robberies spanning between July and August of 1991.[17][18][19] The four were arrested at their apartment on August 30, 1991, pleading not guilty to the charges. Hubbard, Machuca, and Huber were all given life sentences on December 18, 1992. On March 4, 1993, the California Supreme Court granted Lewis the death penalty for his role of orchestrating the murders. Lewis is currently incarcerated in Death Row at San Quentin State Prison awaiting execution.[20][21][22]

Back to the Future

Back to the Future fans view replicas, Oct. 2015

Puente Hills Mall served as a filming location for the fictional Twin Pines Mall (later Lone Pine Mall) in the 1985 film Back to the Future. In the film, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) uses the mall's south parking lot (visible in the above photograph) to stage his time travel experiments with the DeLorean time machine. The JCPenney and Robinson's stores feature prominently in the background. A Ross Dress for Less store can be seen in a strip mall across the street. The scenes were filmed in January 1985.[citation needed] According to the DVD audio commentary, screenplay writer Bob Gale says that several fans gathered at the Puente Hills Mall in the early hours of October 26, 1985, the date given in the film as the present day, to see if anything would happen.

Puente Hills Mall featured replicas of the Twin Pines Mall sign, the time machine, and Dr. E. Brown Enterprises truck in its parking lot in October 2015.[23]

References

  1. ^ "Puente Hills Mall" (PDF). glimcher.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 30, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  2. ^ "Puente Hills Mall". www.glimcher.com. Archived from the original on November 25, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  3. ^ "Puente Hills Mall Celebrates". Los Angeles Times. March 13, 1975.
  4. ^ "Broadway to Open $40-million Puente Hills Mall". Los Angeles Times. February 17, 1974.
  5. ^ "Advertisement for Puente Hills Mall". Los Angeles Times. September 26, 1975. p. 184.
  6. ^ Fickes, Michael (January 1, 1998). "The Puente Hills Comeback". Retail Traffic.
  7. ^ Belgum, Deborah (2002-01-21), "Colima Road: Neighborhood puts Cultural Face on Firms. (Chinese Prosperity – L.A.'s Growth Market)", Los Angeles Business Journal
  8. ^ "Toys 'R' Us casualties include West Covina and Puente Hills stores". 24 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Sears to close another 72 stores, one in City of Industry, as sales plunge". 31 May 2018.
  10. ^ "See the list of Forever 21 stores closing in Southern California". December 10, 2019.
  11. ^ "Macy's is closing more stores in 2022. Will your location close? See the list".
  12. ^ "Claremont man arrested for child molestation in Puente Hills Mall".
  13. ^ "Woman Shocked with Stun Gun During Robbery Attempt at Puente Hills Mall".
  14. ^ "Suspects seen fleeing from mall smash and grab: Deputies investigate".
  15. ^ "Disney Employee Accused of Touching young Boy in Puente Hills Mall Bathroom".
  16. ^ "California jury convicts four in 'mall murders'".
  17. ^ "The Puente Hills Mall Murders - Pt. 1".
  18. ^ "California True Crime - Puente Hills Mall Murders".
  19. ^ "4 Convicted in Series of 'Mall Murders'".
  20. ^ "20 years later: victim's husband recalls Puente Hills Mall Murders".
  21. ^ "Death Term Ordered for Man in 1991 'Mall Murders' crime spree".
  22. ^ ""Mall Murder" Suspects Face More Charges".
  23. ^ Jensen, Danny. "Photos: 'Back To The Future' Fans Swarm The 'Twin Pines Mall'". laist. Archived from the original on November 5, 2017. Retrieved December 9, 2017.