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POLL: Alameda Towne Centre or South Shore?

Submitted by on 1, January 10, 2011 – 12:02 am38 Comments

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What do you call the shopping center at the corner of Park and Otis? Here on this Island, it may say more about you than the car you drive or the clothes you wear. So we’ve decided to ask: Alameda Towne Centre or South Shore? You can answer in the poll below (and there’s extra credit for explaining why, in the comments section below).



What do you call the shopping center at the corner of Park and Otis?

  • South Shore (91%, 225 Votes)
  • Alameda Towne Centre (9%, 21 Votes)

Total Voters: 246

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  • Mitch Rolin says:

    I call it South Shore. Why change a perfectly good name that we’ve been using for decades? I really don’t like the name ‘Alameda Towne Centre.’ Towne with an “e” on the end and the British spelling of Centre are unnecessary and sound a bit snobbish. To me, the town center is the area around City Hall, the commercial and civic heart of Alameda at Park and Santa Clara. The name “South Shore” has no negative connotations, and everyone knows where it is. I hope the new owners of the shopping center will agree.

  • Jack Boeger says:

    South Shore = accurate.
    Town Centre = deceptive.

  • Dan Wood says:

    Perhaps we should call it “Südufer” or “Alameda Stadtzentrum” now that it is owned by a German company!

    German Fund Buys Alameda Town Center

  • Philip Kaake says:

    Because it is near the shore… Not near the Centre of Towne. I have always maintained that this name (which was come up with by committee) was awful. They could have done some cool retro chic logo and kept South Shore. It’s kind of a cool name as well and geographically locates the mall. Oh well, I will always call it South Shore.

  • Ken says:

    I call it South Shore, mainly because it’s what i’ve called it for years. Just like i call ATT Park Pacbell Park. It’s not that i have a problem with the Alameda Towne Center, though i don’t know why it has to have an “E” on the end, it’s just that changing a name of something after a long time is disruptive and hard to get a hold of. The should have just rebranded it “The NEW South Shore” or something like that.

  • Ed says:

    South Shore will always be South Shore. Alameda Towne Centre doesn’t sound like “home”.

  • b says:

    We called it South Shore, until snark about the unnecessary e’s snuck into our conversation. Now, it’s the “Town-ie Cen-tray” — and it’s not just us. I overheard a stranger absurdly sound out the name at lunch a few weeks ago (much to my surprise).

  • Anne P says:

    A longtime resident recently explained to me that the Harsch company owners wanted all of their shopping centers to be alike, and resisted any water-facing enhancements like shoreline restaurants with views or local customizations. (Sushi House, the one exception, was a chain restaurant previously.) And that certainly fits with what is there now. Towne Centre could be AnywhereUSA.

    According to Dan Wood’s link above, the new owners “promised to capitalize on the shopping center’s shorefront location and Alameda’s recent population growth.” Naming it South Shore again would be a welcome step in that direction.

  • kgbnsf says:

    I like “Alameda Towne Centre”. It has a nice ring to it and generally sounds like a typical retail shopping center name. That said, Southshore is what first comes to my mind and is what I usually end up calling it.

    But, Southshore was a dump; the new name reflects a new, nice shopping center. It’s fitting to drop the old name. It carries a lot of baggage. I would change the name if I were the owner.

  • Tony Daysog says:

    There’s a nice alliterative quality to “South Shore” . . . “South Shore Shopping Center.”

  • Karen Bey says:

    I never did like the name Alameda Towne Centre. At least South Shore implies the center is near the water. Harsh Development did a great job with the architectural design on the Otis street side of the center, but completely ignored its real asset – its beachfront location. Obviously the new owners see the asset here and hopefully they will either change the name back to South Shore or come up with a new name. I think something with the word “beach” would be nice.

    There is a great restaurant in San Francisco called the Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant. It’s got great views of the SF beach and great food. They also own the Park Chalet in SF and recently opened a new location near Lake Merritt in Oakland called the Lake Chalet. It would be nice to see a beach front hotel and some beachfront restaurants as part of the new waterfront development.

    But definitely a name change is a good start!

  • Chrissy says:

    South Shore should be in the name: Alameda South Shore Center or something……

  • Debra Owen says:

    I think businesses “should” be able to change their names, etc. But really, Towne Centre is the epitome of uninspired. And, I’m saddened by the cultural homogenization.

  • Michael says:

    South Shore.

    That’s what it was called when I moved here, and I don’t plan on changing anytime soon.

  • Damian Barnes says:

    I often call South Shore the Alameda Towny Centray, taking care to over-pronounce the pretentious spelling of the shopping center’s official name.

  • Jasmine Tokuda says:

    I use South Shore, except when I am giving instructions to out of towners who are relying on the signage to guide them. When I studied business, my instructor talked about business names describing the business. Our Civic Center area is our “Town Center”. South Shore tells people where to look for the place. I think the idea of optimizing the views of the shoreline as the new owners are speaking of, would be the best use of the southern portion of the mall. South Shore creates an expectation of enjoying the proximity to the shoreline. I hope the new owners restore the old name.

  • Hilma Kargoll says:

    South Shore is what it will always be in my family. We make fun of Towne Centre, always pronouncing it silly. Not many shopping centers are on a bay, nor do they have a wonderful mural of the history of beach life on Alameda. The deer, squirrel and dancing frogs, not so much. Instead, sea lions, egrets, plovers, and other local wildlife would further identify us as an island community.

  • David S. says:

    Alameda Towne Centre is a really lame name, thought up by a really lame Property Investment Company I hope the new owners will restore the old name (the name nearly all Alamedans still refer to the shopping area by: South Shore Center).

  • James Pruitt says:

    I can’t improve on Mitch Rolin’s comment.

  • Li_ says:

    South Shore (Center, Shopping Center if necessary)
    Webster St.
    Park St.
    Bay Farm
    Because that is where/what they are. Food and gas are necessities. Have you ever tried to find shopping areas on a map? When we moved here 40+ years ago, I loved that I could find things.

    The City Center (Townie Centrie?) or Civic Center is pretty much between Walnut, Lincoln, Park Ave and Central. Originally the Court was there on Central between Park and Everett, so all the civic (government) buildings were together. The center of town is properly not the shopping area, but the governmental area.

  • Richard Bangert says:

    Towne Centre is a ludicrous name for a shopping district located within a stone’s throw of the Bay, especially when we already have a town center. The practice of naming shopping centers Town Center started becoming popular many decades ago in the U.S. as a way of giving a sense of place to urban industrial areas that were transitioning to residential/mixed use. It has also been used in places like Eldorado Hills near Sacramento which went from a few buildings and no town center to thousands of new homes. There is no downtown. But there is now a large shopping center called Town Center which even has a faux Main Street.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with South Shore Center. But if the owners feel some irresistible need to “upscale” the name, call it South Shore Commons, and we’ll all keep calling it South Shore.

  • Kenny George says:

    Pretty obvious really.. It IS on the South shore of the Island, it was named “South Shore” when it was built.
    I guess another good question would be, do you call it “Harbor Bay” or “Bay Farm Island”? … LOL, guess that dates me even better.

  • 1ezmac says:

    I’ve lived here since ’85 and South Shore just sounds right for it. Towne Centre too generic and it certainly did not go upscale… TJ Maxx, Ross, Paycheck Loans???

  • Jennifer says:

    I have always referred to it as South Shore for likely a combo of unconscious reasons: it’s not the “town center;” I think in terms of geographic portions when I’m travelling around Alameda; and, least of all, one fewer syllables.

  • John says:

    I call it South Shore because it …umm… is South Shore. Always has been, always will be.
    Call it what it is and everybody will know what your talking about.

  • Jill says:

    Towne Centre is a lame name so we still call it South Shore. On the other hand, when the shopping center was called South Shore it was an embarrassment to Alameda. Now it has a few decent places to shop and it is much nicer looking. I can understand the owners wanting to dump the name South Shore because people who don’t live here may still associate the name with the old ugly-as-sin complex with its awful, cheap stores, but “Towne Centre” is boring, spelled incorrectly (neither word has an e on the end in this country and this century), and inaccurate as a geographical description. I like the suggestion someone else made to use a name with “beach” in it.

  • Jackson says:

    It is South Shore, regardless of the delusions of former owners Harsch Company. Maybe the new owners will restore the rightful name.

  • Gina says:

    We have always called it “South Shore,” Towne Centre Implies that is where our Town Hall is. I have always felt insulted by the name change.

  • katherine - Bay Farm Island says:

    South Shore, of course. Always has been–always will be–South Shore.

  • Jackie says:

    I don’t know ANYONE who calls it towne centre.

  • Jon Spangler says:

    I’ve always called it South Shore Center. If I mention the silly new (and inappropriate) name, I pronounce it “Townee Centree,” in recognition of its faux spelling…

  • Tina says:

    I can’t even THINK of “Towne Centre” without TownEE CentrEE popping into my head–which is annoying. I’ll keep calling it South Shore–a cool name that better represents its geographic location in our city and our bayside geography.

  • Hanna says:

    To us, and by that I mean the high school kids. It has always been southshore to us. We love making fun of the name though. Townee Centree.

  • Birgitt says:

    South Shore. After all it is nowhere near the centre of the towne.

    And what’s up with the pretentious spelling? People shop where they can find the goods and services they need, not where the center has a cutesy name.

  • The pink store on 5th and Lincoln: “Lowes” (pronounced ‘Louie’s)
    Summer House Apts on Buena Vista Ave: “The B.V.s”
    The College of Alameda is on: Atlantic Blvd
    and the far western 1/3 of the island: “the base”

    South Shore, for sure.

  • Barbara says:

    It will ALWAYS be South Shore to me. The name towne canter is lame, it isn’t located anyway near the center of TOWN, and who spells town(e) with an E.

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