Friday, February 24, 2006

What is/was the Metreon?

In 1999, Sony opened up the Metreon, here in downtown SF. Anyone who's visited the City for a big conference (like Macworld) is probably familiar with this...thing. It sits just behind the Moscone Center and next to Yerba Buena (an absolutely fantastic urban park). It has some stores, restaurants and a big movie theater--but its not a mall. It's an urban entertainment destination.

Only its not. Its a mall. A badly designed one at that.

The Chron's David Lazarus has a great story today about the sale of the Metreon (by Sony, to Westfield), and it really exemplifies what happens when a breakthrough idea goes into committee. The original vision (as described in the article) was a sort of retail/entertainment wonderland, with unique experiences clearly intermingled with shopping and eating. This was certainly how it was pitched to us, as it was being built.

But as soon as you got into it, it was confusing. There seemed to be stairs going every direction, with some interesting and cool stores seemingly stuck out in the middle of nowhere. There were attractions, but it ended up that you had to pay to go through them. There was the movie theaters (which are actually quite good), but that was clear at the top of the building. No reason to do anything other than buy tickets, go to a movie and go home.

Ends up that the movie theater is the only successful thing in the building. Actually, its an enormously successful theater. It just happens to be sitting on top of a confusing mess, which I'm sure will soon be filled with Gap and Hot Topic stores.

This is a good story, though--about what happens to ideas. Any authors out there?
Save This Page


Post a Comment

<< Home