There aren't too many retail spaces that attract the attention of Hollywood but Sherman Oaks Galleria in California had a starring role in two major movies of the 1980s - Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Valley Girl.
Great advertising, you might think, but the trouble was that when the 1980s ended so the crowds at Sherman Oaks dwindled. When developer Douglas Emmett bought the mall in 1998, it had less than 40% occupancy. Gensler Architects' project principal Andy Cohen was instructed to "turn the white elephant inside out" and he began by changing the entire focus of the mall.
"Before, it was too big for its use and people didn't want to go there. Now it's a vibrant, mixed use, 24-hour environment where people can go to work, shop, eat and relax," he says.
Consisting of three buildings, the Galleria reopened 18 months ago and now boasts an occupancy rate of 95%.
There is 65,000m² of office space, alongside the 28,000m² of theatre, restaurant and retail space. The new complex has attracted such high profile tenants as Warner Brothers Animation in the office space, Tower Records in retail and a 16-cinema Pacific Theatre complex in the entertainment area.
Cohen believes that what turned the mall around was the change from single to mixed use. Including offices and entertainment venues alongside retail areas transformed the mall from a shopping space into a town square, he says.
It is situated on one of the busiest freeways in the world an estimated 600,000 cars pass the Galleria every day.