The Shoppes at Carlsbad
The JC Penney courtyard inside Westfield Carlsbad (2009).
LocationCarlsbad, California
Coordinates33°10′42″N 117°19′52″W / 33.1782°N 117.3312°W / 33.1782; -117.3312
Address2525 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Opening date1969; 55 years ago (1969)
DeveloperMay Centers, Inc.
ManagementBrookfield Properties
OwnerBrookfield Properties
No. of stores and services97 (as of 2020)[1]
No. of anchor tenants4 (3 open, 1 vacant)
Total retail floor area1.1 million ft²
No. of floors2 (3 in both Macy's locations)[2]

The Shoppes at Carlsbad is a shopping mall in Carlsbad, California. The mall was originally named Plaza Camino Real when it was built in 1969, but was rebranded several times when it was a Westfield Holdings property (1994-2015). Its anchor stores are JCPenney and Macy's (in two locations). A Robinsons-May closed in 2006, while Sears closed on December 15, 2019.


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1969 launch

Originally named Plaza Camino Real, San Diego County's sixth mall was the first fully enclosed, regional-class shopping center in the metro area. At its dedication in 1969, Plaza Camino Real encompassed 548,000 leasable square feet, making it nearly three times the size of the region's first fully enclosed shopping complex, Escondido Village Mall (1964).

The 90-acre Plaza Camino Real site was located 32 miles north of San Diego's urban core. It extended along the southern side of the Vista Way / California Route 78 expressway, which had been dedicated in April 1962. Predominantly within the city of Carlsbad, the mall's parking area eventually included a small section in the city limits of Oceanside.

Plaza Camino Real was the second San Diego mall developed by May Centers. It was constructed in two phases, over a 10-year period. The first phase, featuring 63 stores, came inline in March 1969.[4] Anchored by a 2-level (148,200 square foot) May Company California[5][6] and 2-level (154,000 square foot) J.C. Penney,[4] the mall structure consisted of two levels of retail and included an F.W. Woolworth on its Lower Level. There was also an outparcel movie house across Marron Road, the Cinema Plaza. It opened for business, in August 1969, as the first twinplex in San Diego County.

1979 expansion

The second phase of Plaza Camino Real consisted of 500,000 leasable square feet.[7] It was added to the west side of the existing mall, opening in 1979, and was anchored by a 3-level (152,000 square foot), Los Angeles-based The Broadway and 2-level (148,900 square foot) Sears.[8]

An official dedication of the second phase expansion was held October 24, 1979. The third anchor of the addition, a 3-level (115,000 square foot), Los Angeles-based Bullock's, came inline October 2, 1980. With the newly completed enlargement, Plaza Camino Real encompassed 1,148,400 leasable square feet. The mall assumed the position as the largest shopping center in San Diego County with five department stores as anchors. It retained this distinction until Fashion Valley Mall was enlarged to 1,305,000 leasable square feet in 1981.

1980s and 1990s

Shopping complex competitors in the North County suburbs were Escondido Village Mall (1964) and North County Fair / Westfield North County (1986), both in Escondido. The Forum lifestyle center, a competitor within the city of Carlsbad, was dedicated in 2003.

Plaza Camino Real was given a large-scale makeover during 1989, which included new tile flooring and escalators. A glass elevator was installed in the Penney's Court, along with innovative water fountains in front of the May Co. and Sears mall entrances. The Broadway Court was refitted with a unique mechanical clock.

Anchor rebrandings at Plaza Camino Real commenced with the conversion of May Company, to Robinsons-May, in January 1993. The Broadway was converted to a Macy's Women's Store in 1996, even though it was originally going to be a Bloomingdale's.[citation needed] The Bullock's became a Macy's Men's and Home Store, in May 1996.

Meanwhile, in 1994, Australia-based Westfield Holdings had acquired the mall. They rebranded it Westfield Shoppingtown Plaza Camino Real in late 1998, and then dropped the "Shoppingtown" reference in June 2005.[9]


Robinsons-May was shuttered in March 2006.[10] Macy's was originally going to relocate into the Robinsons-May space, but its first level became a Steve and Barry's University Sportswear in September of the same year.[11] This store closed in late 2008. At this time, Westfield Plaza Camino Real housed 148 stores and services. The proprietors "down under" announced a plan for its revitalization in 2009, which ended up being delayed by the sour economy.

This project would have converted the vacant Robinsons-May / Steve and Barry's into a megaplex cinema. A "Dining Terrace" Food Court, new specialty shops and three freestanding restaurants would also be built. Moreover, the circa-1980s interior and exterior would have been given a much-needed upgrade. Work was scheduled to get underway in early 2011.

However, Westfield delayed remodeling its Plaza Camino Real property and invested heavily in the renovation of two other San Diego shopping hubs, namely Westfield UTC / University Towne Centre (1977) in San Diego and the aforementioned Westfield North County.


In January 2013, Westfield announced plans for a long-delayed renovation of the Plaza Camino Real property.[12] The vacant May Company / Robinsons-May structure was to be renovated by San Ramon, California-based 24 Hour Fitness, who would refit 40,000 square feet as a Super-Sport club. This was to include a basketball court, state-of-the-art training area, lap pool and exterior aquatic area. The remainder of the old Robinsons-May structure would be rebuilt as a 12-screen Regal Cinemas multiplex. As part of the makeover from an indoor mall to an outdoor mall, Westfield Plaza Camino Real was being rebranded Westfield Carlsbad.[13]

In November 2015, Westfield sold Westfield Carlsbad to New York City-based Rouse Properties for $170 million who renamed the development The Shoppes at Carlsbad.[14][15][16] However, Rouse Properties was acquired by Brookfield Properties in 2016.

On August 31, 2019, it was announced that Sears would be closing this location a part of a plan to close 92 stores nationwide. The store closed on December 15, 2019.[17]


  1. ^ "The Shoppes at Carlsbad Mall Directory & Map | The Shoppes at Carlsbad". Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  2. ^ "The Shoppes at Carlsbad Mall Directory & Map | The Shoppes at Carlsbad".
  3. ^ "The Shoppes at Carlsbad". Brookfield Properties.
  4. ^ a b "$13 Million Carlsbad Shopping Center to Serve North San Diego County". Los Angeles Times. November 10, 1968. p. e1. ProQuest 156001986. Plaza Camino Real, a regional shopping Center under construction in Carlsbad... where May Co. and J. C. Penney stores will become major units of a 600,000-square-foot shopping area with parking to accommodate more than 3,135 cars on two levels. The center will be enclosed and air-conditioned and is expected to be completed in February 1969. The $13 million, 65-acre complex is rising on Vista Way between El Camino Real and Jefferson Sts. Its May Co. store will have 150,000 square feet of space and the Penney store will have a like amount. Forty specialty stores will make up the remainder of the center and the architecture will be in keeping with the Spanish heritage of the locale. The May Department Stores Co.'s real estate division is developing Plaza Camino Real.
  5. ^ "Separate-Shop Concept Marks May Co. Unit". Los Angeles Times. July 14, 1968. p. i2. ProQuest 155987637. The 150,000-square-foot, two-level store will be a part of the Plaza Camino Real Shopping Center and is scheduled to open next March.
  6. ^ "May Co. Will Open Store in Carlsbad". Los Angeles Times. February 9, 1969. p. k2. ProQuest 156067094. The May Co. will open its newest facility Monday, a $3 million, two-story structure, in the Plaza Camino Real Shopping Center in Carlsbad. Designed by Welton Becket & Associates, the newest May Co. branch reflects the Spanish heritage of the area with its heavily textured, colored masonry blocks, topped with dark earth-brown ceramic tiles.
  7. ^ "Carlsbad mall opens phase 2 Wednesday; will be county's largest". Los Angeles Times. October 18, 1979. p. sd_aA. ProQuest 162706276. A week of festivities, capped by the cutting of a flower-studded ribbon next Wednesday, are planned for the grand opening of a 500,000-square-foot addition to Plaza Camino Real. The phase-2 construction will bring the total size of the 10-year-old enclosed mall to 1.5 million square feet, making it the largest regional mall in San Diego County. When completed, the mall will include five major stores – May Company, Sears, J.C. Penney, Broadway and Bullocks – plus 135 other shops and restaurants.
  8. ^ "Sears Carlsbad Slated for Completion". Los Angeles Times. September 16, 1979. p. j17. ProQuest 158970284. The $1 million Sears Carlsbad retail store is in the final phase of construction with completion and start of retail operations scheduled Oct. 24. The structure is the sixth Sears retail outlet in San Diego County. This store anchors the west end of phase two expansion of the Plaza Camino Real shopping center. The full-line department store will contain in excess of 150,000 square feet including a 15-stall automotive center.
  9. ^ Albright, Mark (June 1, 2005). "If you didn't call them 'shoppingtowns,' don't: Three local malls that called themselves by the Australian name will quietly drop the label". Tampa Bay Times.
  10. ^ Earnest, Leslie & Vincent, Roger (July 29, 2005). "21 Department Stores to Close in Southland: The plan by Macy's owner, which is buying Robinsons, means uncertainty for malls and shoppers. In the U.S., 68 sites will shut". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ Wright, Patrick (August 25, 2006). "Steve & Barry's comes to Carlsbad". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  12. ^ Diehl, Phil (January 11, 2013). "Carlsbad mall renovation to start this year: Decades-old Westfield Plaza Camino Real signs leases as part of planned renovation". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  13. ^ Harvey, Katherine P. & Showley, Roger (April 28, 2014). "Carlsbad mall reaches for 'beach chic': 45-year-old mall losing its roof in $300 million makeover". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  14. ^ Showley, Roger (November 4, 2015). "Westfield selling Carlsbad mall". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  15. ^ Molnar, Phillip (November 12, 2015). "Westfield Carlsbad purchased for $170 million". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  16. ^ "Rouse Properties Acquires Westfield Carlsbad in Carlsbad, California: Announces Renovation and Rebranding Vision to Create a One-Stop Shopping, Dining and Entertainment Attraction: Regional Retail Portfolio in California Now Includes Eight Dynamic Retail Properties". Business Wire (Press release). November 12, 2015.
  17. ^ Tyko, Kelly (August 31, 2019). "Kmart, Sears store closings: More locations to shutter by end of 2019". USA Today. Retrieved August 31, 2019.