California Shopping


Los Angeles Citadel Outlets Shopping Center

Billed as L.A.'s only outlet shopping mall, The Citadel Outlets and Office Park is located 10 minutes southeast of downtown Los Angeles in Commerce. Citadel Outlets is named for the incredible building that faces Telegraph Road. A citadel is a fortress, and this building with its massive stonework gives that impression. It seems like an unlikely location for a shopping mall, but an effort to preserve the local history and architecture created new opportunities when the space behind the building was transformed into a shopper's paradise attracting over 3 million shoppers each year.

The Assyrian Castle was designed by architects Morgan, Walls and Clements in 1929 after the palace of King Sargon II, a Babylonian with a 23-acre palace that the Los Angeles building also comprises.

Behind the building the plazas and storefronts are very modern storefronts that look like any outdoor outlet design where parking lots are never more than a few yards from the stores such as Reebok, Dockers, GUESS, OshKosh and Calvin Klein.

When The Citadel opened in November 1990, it was a labor of love that transformed an old tire factory into a contemporary mixed-use project. Today the center has retail outlets, a food court, five office buildings, and a 201-room Double Tree Hotel (5757 Telegraph Road, Commerce, CA.)

The current shopping mall is the result of an effort by Craig Realty Group, which purchased the complex. Renovating and expanding the property, the Newport Beach-based company spent around $53 million to purchase the property and an additional $30 million to upgrade a 147,000 square foot retail outlet by adding an additional 126,000 square feet of retail space. That renovation was unveiled in the fall 2004 just before the holiday shopping season.

Developer Steven L. Craig envisioned trellises and lush plantings to provide a meandering streetscapes reminiscent of the highly decorative style that original builder of the Citadel, Adolph Schleicher, had in mind when he embarked on the development of his new tire factory.

The once productive Samson Tire and Rubber Company was heralded as the largest manufacturing facility under one roof (west of the Mississippi) during its heyday. Spending a whopping $8 million to build the fortress, a symbol of endurance and strength, Samson Tire and Rubber Company plant, used the Samson and Delilah motif.

Dedicated to the civilizations of Sumeria, Akkadia and Babylonia, its design included a 1,750 foot crenulated concrete wall decorated with griffins and bas-reliefs of Babylonian princes. Part of the wall that fronts the office building features winged guardian genii, figures protecting individuals from evil. At the entrance to Samson Tire factory winged bulls with human heads also greeted factory workers, letting them know that these mythical creatures would symbolically provide protection and guard the interior much like they did several thousand years ago at Sargon's palace.

"We strongly believe in keeping the historical dignity of the wall and office tower, and plan on enhancing it by refurbishing, restoring, painting and sealing it," said Craig. Sophisticated night lighting, new signage, a cluster of 212 palms trees on Citadel Drive throughout the property to provide shade for pedestrian foot traffic, and other such details enhance the shopping experience. The project was contracted to Awbrey Cook McGill Architects, San Diego.

In 1978 Uniroyal Tire permanently closed the tire plant and a private investor purchased it. In 1982 The Commerce City Council designated the site and building as an official City Landmark, subsequently purchasing the facility for $14 million to prevent demolition of the landmark.

In 1989 Trammel Crow Co. signed a long-term ground lease with the City of Commerce Redevelopment Agency at the price of $118
million to build a 742,000 square foot mixed-use project including a factory outlet retail center, five office buildings, a food court and a
201-room Wyndham Hotel Commerce. Unveiled in 1990, Citadel Outlets welcomed more than 19,000 shoppers on its grand opening day.

In 2002 Craig Realty Group took over management of the
Citadel Outlets and Office Park and entered into an exclusive
agreement with the City of Commerce Redevelopment Agency to
purchase the center, an acquisition that was completed in 2003.

Craig Realty Group operates five outlet centers on the West Coast and its founder Steven L. Craig is recognized as a pioneer and leader in the factory outlet center industry. The Newport Beach-based CRG owns and operates the Carlsbad Company Stores, in Carlsbad, Calif.; the Cabazon Outlets located near Palm Springs, Calif.; the Woodburn Company Stores Woodburn Company Stores is a outlet mall in Woodburn, Oregon, and manages the Lake Elsinore Outlets in Lake Elsinore, Calif.

Craig also built an upscale designer center in Brescia, Italy called Franciacorta Outlet Village which is 50 miles east Milan, Italy, as well as The Plaza at San Clemente.

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