Vallco Fashion Park
Vallco Park started as a business park in the 1960s, formed from land owned by 25 Cupertino property owners. It was named for the primary developers: Varian Associates, and the Leonard, Lester, Craft, and Orlando families.
Origins and expansion
In the early 1970s, the Cupertino City Council held public hearings on the possible locations of a regional shopping center in the city. After it decided the city could only support one center, the Vallco group found itself competing with another group led by orchard owner Paul Mariani, Jr. In 1973, the city council decided it wanted the regional shopping center on the edge of the city and gave the proper zoning to Vallco.
Vallco Fashion Park opened in September 1976. In its first years, the mall’s main walkway was punctuated by several parks showcasing aspects of local history, ranging from apricots to Klystron tubes. Vallco was one of the largest shopping centers in Silicon Valley and soon drew customers from all over the region.
One of the early features of the mall was the ice skating rink attached to the shopping center. The Ice Capades Chalet, open for almost ten years, began to encounter trouble in 1986, when proposals to close it and replace it with movie theatres emerged. By June 3, 1988, the rink faced imminent closure, until the Cupertino city council stepped in and kept the rink open when faced with vocal protest. At the time, the ice rink was one of two year-round skating rinks in Santa Clara County.
Increased competition from other regional malls, such as Stanford Shopping Center, and in particular Valley Fair (opened 1986) began to cause Vallco trouble. In July 1988, an $20 million expansion for the mall was announced, which would add a lower level and 50 stores, increasing the total store count from 140 to 190. Ultimately, this expansion was completed in August, 1988, adding a total of 60 stores.
Another large tenant arrived at the mall on the weekend of August 11, 1990, with the addition of the Tilt Family Entertainment Center.