Pico Rivera Plaza was the city's first major shopping center, built after the local Redevelopment Agency bought and razed a ragtag collection of small businesses and homes on a 23-acre patch of land at the corner of Whittier and Rosemead boulevards.
It marked the beginning of this small city's efforts to spruce up a commercial area described by local officials as "junk" and "dismal." And while it ranks near the bottom of the county's list of malls in terms of total retail sales, the plaza was considered enough of a success that developers have since built the slightly smaller Crossroads Plaza across the street and some strip centers nearby.
"It's been a proven success for the Redevelopment Agency and has stimulated further retail development along Whittier Boulevard," said David A. Caretto, Pico Rivera's assistant city manager.
Owned by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., Pico Rivera Plaza is a neatly maintained outdoor complex of red tile roofs and rough stucco. It was remodeled about three years ago, and a landscaped plaza area was added. The area includes a brick stage for community events such as Cinco de Mayo celebrations.