MB Center Broadway and West MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA

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mitchbart
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MB Center Broadway and West MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA

Post by mitchbart » 15 Jan 2008 19:10

Anyone have any historical information on this 1950-60's "MB Center" at Broadway and MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA.? It has an mid century office building atop it. It is now owned by Kaiser-Permanente whose first hospital is across the street. I believe it is scheduled to be demolished as part of the "rebuild" of the Kaiser Campus in the next few years.

I understand it was quite a busy "mall" at one time. I am wondering what impact it had on Oakland's "Piedmont Avenue" Shopping District at the time (which is one of Oakland's nicer urban shopping areas) which is just north of the Center.

It's also interesting that the urban street shopping area won out over the "MB Center" as a viable shopping area.

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Groceteria
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Re: MB Center Broadway and West MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA

Post by Groceteria » 15 Jan 2008 22:46

I'm pretty sure there was a Mayfair Market in this center.

Jason B.
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Re: MB Center Broadway and West MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA

Post by Jason B. » 18 Jan 2008 01:48

I posted a version of the following on this website (California section) in May 2007:

The MacArthur/Broadway Center (no longer a full retail center as of mid-2000s) in Oakland was built in the mid-1960s by Edmond E. Herrscher, a Mayfair supermarket chain board member.

One of the first supermarkets in California (called Arthur Williams) was built at MacArthur & Broadway in Oakland circa 1937. It was among the first supermarkets with a parking lot in the nation. Its 60-foot tower was a landmark. The store front and sign tower contained one mile of neon. The grocery store became a Mayfair in the 1950s. That building was demolished circa 1964.

The MacArthur/Broadway Center contained a new Mayfair (26,000 square feet), which opened in September 1964. The grand opening grand prize was a trip to the 1964 World's Fair in New York. After the old Mayfair/Andrew Williams store was demolished, the remainder of the shopping center was built on its site. The MacArthur/Broadway Center opened in September 1965. The new Mayfair building is said to have been a "Coop" supermarket by the 1980s.

<<Admin Edit: Here's a link to that post.>>

94618native
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Re: MB Center Broadway and West MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA

Post by 94618native » 29 Jun 2009 21:01

I loved the old MB Center. As many of you are aware, the building is now being demolished to make way for Kaiser's expansion.

I remember the MB Center during its heyday (late 1960s, early 1970s). The anchor tenant was definitely the Mayfair Supermarket. Mayfair also had several other stores in Oakland at the time (56th street and Telegraph) and (E. 18th and Park Blvd).

The MB Center was also the home to the first shopping center movie theater in the Bay Area. Theater 70 opened in 1970 on the MacArthur Blvd side (right where Howe St intersect MacArthur). You could enter the theater from the street or from inside the MB center.

It was also way ahead of its time with its own shopping center food court. I had many pancake breakfasts at Mr. Bo's inside the food court. Also, Hunt's Donuts was another popular food court stand.

As I take a mental stroll down the MB Center, I clearly remember Drug King, Woolworth's, Parklane Hosiery, See's Candies, MB Smoke Shop (with magazines and books),Vaughan's Men's clothiers, and the little box office ticket kiosk, which sold tickets to events at the Coliseum. Bank of America had a branch in the mall (corner of MacArthur and Piedmont Ave).

TenPoundHammer
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Re: MB Center Broadway and West MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA

Post by TenPoundHammer » 09 Oct 2009 17:13

So, this was basically a really small mall, not a strip?

Jason B.
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Re: MB Center Broadway and West MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA

Post by Jason B. » 17 Dec 2009 07:28

The Oakland Tribune of December 6, 1969 ran an advertisement for the businesses of the MacArthur/Broadway Center, apparently to attract pre-Christmas shoppers. Here are some of the businesses mentioned:
(1) Woolworth
(2) Top Drawer – Fine Men’s Wear: “Lay-A-Way His Christmas Gift NOW!”
(3) Grand Wigs
(4) Modern Sportswear
(5) Jeanne Dale Fabrics
(6) Stairway to Music (albums)
(7) Marshall’s Leather Goods
(8) London Ltd. (a book store?)
(9) Capri Florists
(10) Wolffs (jewelry store chain)
(11) Crown Card & Party ("home of Hallmark cards")
(12) Bonser’s – includes children’s apparel (another location was at Oakland's Eastmont Shopping Center) – "get a Mattel talking phone – for your little one!"
(13) Drug King Drug Stores
(14) Kinney shoe store
(15) Ambassador barber shop

The MacArthur/Broadway Center apparently contained an early form of a "food court" that is now a shopping mall staple. It was called "The Hamlet." It offered Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, English fish & chips, spare ribs, Hof Brau, BBQ chicken, pizza and dark beer, among other items.

The advertisement also mentioned:
(1) See Nino Buffoni – Italian glass blower – featured at Disneyland – at the shopping center
(2) Santa photos
(3) Win a free turkey at the shopping center
(4) No waiting post office – in the Hamlet at the shopping center - "Mothers! Free letters from Santa Claus – can be mailed direct to your home – details next to US Post Office in the Hamlet"
(5) Free parking for 1000 cars

bigbubby
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Re: MB Center Broadway and West MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA

Post by bigbubby » 22 Jan 2010 00:01

I believe the MB center had one of, if not the first, locations of "The Diamond Center"- the local jewelry store chain owned by Paul ("I'm a credit man!") Copansky. His commercials were as infamously cheesy as Cal Worthington, Fred Rated or Crazy Eddie.

J-Man
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Re: MB Center Broadway and West MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA

Post by J-Man » 23 Jan 2010 00:20

The MB Center was also the home to the first shopping center movie theater in the Bay Area. Theater 70 opened in 1970 on the MacArthur Blvd side (right where Howe St intersect MacArthur).
I think I would dispute that-- the GCC Sunvalley I and II opened when that mall opened (in Concord) in 1968.

cal78
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Re: MB Center Broadway and West MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA

Post by cal78 » 28 Jan 2010 00:45

Dont worry about The Center they started demolition of it yesterday, JAN 26th with of all things an old fashion Wrecking Ball, and said demolition will take three days.

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Re: MB Center Broadway and West MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA

Post by mitchbart » 06 Feb 2010 17:40

The parking garage and the old retail center are now gone. The multistory office building is almost completely demolished. It should be a hole in the ground in the next two weeks.

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