South Coast Plaza Turns 40

One of the most well-known retail venues in the U.S.--South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif.--is celebrating its 40th birthday.

South Coast Plaza opened in Costa Mesa in 1967, the same year as Fashion Island in Newport Beach, as a shopping center anchored by Sears and May Co., which had opened a year prior. The I-405 freeway opened in 1968, making South Coast Plaza accessible to the masses.

Now, 40 years later, South Coast Plaza has positioned itself as one of the leading high-end retail centers in the United States, boasting about 22 million visitors a year with sales approaching $1.5 billion.

"South Coast Plaza pulls from about a 100-mile radius. … They come as far as Santa Barbara from the north, as far as Palm Springs from the east and as far as northern San Diego County from the south," said Anton Segerstrom, a partner of South Coast Plaza and son of cofounder Henry Segerstrom. "Most shopping centers typically pull from a 7- to 10-mile radius."

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