Citadel Outlet Shops

Discussion in 'California' started by NileGuide, Feb 4, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. The Citadel Outlets retail complex, complete with prominent winged genii statues, is a prominent landmark beside the I-5 just south of downtown Los Angeles. The story of this Assyrian-styled landmark dates back to 1929, when the main building and the decorated exterior walls were built to house Samson’s Tire Works (they made tires, of course). The exterior of this extravagant factory was modeled after King Sargon II’s palace; it was designed by the architecture firm of Morgan Walls and Clements, known for their exotic movie theaters. After the onset of the Great Depression and the formidable sums spent on the factory, the facility ended up being bought by the US Tire and Rubber Company in 1931.
    Flash forward 50 years to 1983. The municipality of the City of Commerce acquired the property in an effort to preserve this remarkable piece of roadside architecture. In 1990, the Trammel Crow Company took over the site and opened the Citadel, with 742,000 feet of retail space, 5 office buildings, and a hotel. More recently, in 2006, Craig Realty bought the complex and undertook major renovation and and expansion of retail space (with architect Louis Troiani and restoration architect Martin Weil).
    This place is the only outlet store mall in Los Angeles. The 1,750 foot wall surrounding the site has been all fixed up now, along with the historic central building covered with guardian genii executed in bas-relief. The Assyrian elements of this place are fun to check out (the food court is right in front of the central building, seen in the picture below from the outside). It is worth noting that in this case the roadside architecture is something of a veneer on a very familiar retail environment; but hey it’s still good stuff as far as large-scale retail spaces go. Outlet stores located here include Le Creuset, Puma, Adidas and H&M and many many more. Below is a collection of photos from my recent visit:
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    Other remnants of the golden era of roadside architecture in Southern California can be found via the very useful www.roadsideamerica.com (a handy way to navigate this site is to click on the red pin and then right click on the green “More…” for the individual write-ups).
    [Photos courtesy of Noah Albert]


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