South Coast Plaza is an upscale-luxury shopping center in Costa Mesa, California, USA, in Orange County. The largest mall in California, its sales of over 1.5 billion are the highest in the United States. Its 250 retailers represent the highest concentration of design fashion retail in the U.S, with the second-highest sales-volume in California at $800 per square foot—second only to Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose-Santa Clara, at $809 per square foot. The national average is $411 per square foot. South Coast Plaza has always had a strong design element in its building. In addition to the original center by Victor Gruen, numerous additions and store buildings over the years included designs by such architects as William Blurock and Ellerbe Becket. The 1986–1987 expansion included a recurring pyramid motif. Chandeliers took the shape of inverted pyramids, and the escalator atrium leading to the center’s third floor is loosely modeled after the Grand Gallery of the Pyramid of Khufu. In 2000, the pedestrian bridge, known as Bridge of Gardens, and accompanying Garden Terrace were completed by landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson. There are also carousels placed in wide rest areas.
South Coast Plaza continuously brings in approximately 24 million visitors annually. The shopping center has about 2.8 million square feet (260,000 m²) of gross leasable area and over 250 stores, making it one of the largest shopping centers in the United States. Its stores generate revenue of nearly 1.5 billion dollars per year, making it the highest grossing center in the United States. In addition to shopping, it is also home to the Orange Lounge, a digital media-focused branch of the Orange County Museum of Art.
In 2004, South Coast Plaza received the Federal Trademark as “The Ultimate Shopping Resort”.
Many ultra-luxury brands, which have very few boutiques nationwide, have chosen South Coast Plaza as one of their few (and for some brands, their only) store locations. Zara made its debut in the California market opening its first California store in South Coast Plaza in 2004. In 2005, French luxury design house Chloé opted to open their second United States boutique at South Coast Plaza. As of Fall 2008, this is still the only southern California location, with Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills notably absent. Watch Manufacturer Rolex opened their flagship U.S. location at South Coast Plaza.
Many larger luxury brand stores gather here as well, with some, such as Harry Winston, Tiffany’s, Cartier, Calypso Christiane Celle, Montblanc, Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Prada, Dior, Valentino, Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Hermès, Christian Louboutin, Barneys New York Co-Op, and Nordstrom reporting their location at South Coast as having the highest sales in the United States.