press release iconHistory

MACY’S UNION SQUARE HISTORY

July 17, 2015

Macy’s Union Square, the jewel of the West Coast, is located in the heart of San Francisco's shopping district and encompasses an entire city block, attracting locals and tourists from around the globe.

History and Architecture 

  • The Union Square San Francisco location was commissioned in 1928 and converted to a Macy’s in 1947, and a major expansion took place the following year.
  • In the late 1990s, Macy's began rehabilitating its landmark downtown store. The project involved remodeling the 1928 and 1947 buildings as well as the 1974 stand-alone Men's Store and expanding into the upper floors of the former I. Magnin store built in 1946.
  • Macy's also replaced two out-of-date buildings on Geary Street, giving the store its signature glass-fronted entry on Union Square.

Union Square Fun Facts

  • In 1946, Macy’s Union Square broke new ground with the first department store flower show. What began as a fragrance promotion in the cosmetics department now annually welcomes the spring season to the Bay Area, treating locals and visitors to a botanical, cultural and community spectacle.
  • In 1971, Macy’s Union Square store’s lower level, once cluttered with bargains, was transformed into “The Cellar,” changing the way customers shop for housewares. Due to its success, the Herald Square store followed suit five years later.
  • In 1983, Macy’s Passport becomes a benefit fundraiser for local AIDS charities, making Macy’s one of the first companies in the U.S. to recognize the need for AIDS fundraising and shine a light on the epidemic. Dame Elizabeth Taylor serves as founding chair in 1987.
  • Since 1986, Macy’s has partnered with the SFSPCA to host adoptable puppies and kittens in the store’s iconic holiday window displays, resulting in hundreds of adoptions and thousands of dollars raised every year. 
  • Every holiday season since 1989, Macy’s gives its gift to the city by lighting the magnificent 83-foot tree adorned with thousands of energy-efficient twinkling lights and ornaments in Union Square Park. This beloved tradition marks the start of the holiday season in San Francisco.
  • Macy’s Union Square is the second largest department store in the United States, only behind Macy’s Herald Square in actual square footage.
  • Macy’s Union Square is home to 1,550 employees.

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