Neiman Marcus vs. Nordstrom vs. Macy’s – Comparing Building Heights & Signs

In a previous post about the new Neiman Marcus building in downtown Walnut Creek there were some complaints about the (Mt. Diablo view blocking) height of the building, as well as the size of the letters of the sign itself which might encourage over commercialism, so with the help of the Walnut Creek planning department I was able to track down the exact building heights and sign sizes of all three departments stores in downtown Walnut Creek.

It turns out that as far as building heights are concerned, Neiman Marcus comes in at the lowest height of all, at 35 feet, and 47 feet high for the architectural element at the corner of Mt. DIablo Blvd. and N. Main St. Both Nordstrom and the Macy’s building height are 50 feet tall. The old David M. Brian building was 25 feet tall.

As far as sign size goes, the Walnut Creek planning department noted in an email that:

the wall mounted signs for Nordstrom vary in size from 19.5 square feet to 139 square feet. Each of the four wall mounted signs for Macy’s (women’s store) are 130.8 square feet, and the wall mounted signs for Neiman Marcus are 131.81, 172 and 268.9 square feet.

In this case the Neiman Marcus signs indeed are much larger than the other department store signs. Whether Macy’s and Nordstrom will petition to get larger signs installed remains to be seen.

Do these issues concern anyone? Are you happy with how Neiman Marcus turned out? Personally I think it looks cool from a design standpoint and am relieved it’s not a rectangular box like department stores tend to be.

See Nordstrom and Macy’s building photos after the jump


Walnut Creek Nordstrom sign


Walnut Creek Macy’s sign

  • over thewater

    A bit distant from the foggy English shores but it looks pretty decent to me and I consider it an asset to the city.

    • http://beyondthecreek.com Beyond the Creek

      Glad you like it, I think it’s great looking myself.

  • Elizabeth Mackey

    I really think it adds a lot of interest to the mix of buildings. I’m still wondering about the moving metal things however, and while I really like it over all, the color of the stained glass is not my favorite. I get that they would have to go with a color that is more in nature, but it harkens back to the 70′s a bit.

    • http://beyondthecreek.com Beyond the Creek

      I noticed the color theme to and it does remind me of the 70s. I wonder whether it’ll stand the test of time. I think as I get used to it I’ll like it more as time goes on. Of course that’s assuming it doesn’t squeak in the wind, they need to make sure it’s maintained well.

      Last week when I was walking around there on a sunny afternoon I did note that the light does reflect off the white sidewalk back into your eyes, so you’re right about that. Don’t forget your sunglasses when you head downtown!

      • Elizabeth Mackey

        It kind of reminds me of the troubles they had in Las Vegas with that mirrored building. Where it kind of blinds people at certain times of the day. Maybe when it weathers a bit, it might not be as bright.

        • http://beyondthecreek.com Beyond the Creek

          Very true, time will tell…

  • PeteRPCV

    As the one who raised the issue on the “previous post” about NM blocking the view of Mt Diablo, I appreciate the follow up by you and the city staff. It is true that NM is not as high as Nordstrom and Macy’s (no thanks to the City Council who were ready to approve a higher structure until the public reacted and Macerich quickly changed plans). However it is higher than David M Brian (25′) at 35′ and especially when you include the “architectural element” at 47′. (Funny how buildings grow taller than expected). My memory is one could see over David M Brian from Mt Diablo Blvd better then than now. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo to show.

    Editorial comment: Since your “masthead” is NM I assume you have a different perspective than some of us who want to preserve view corridors and maintain height limits.

    Thanks again for the follow up.

    • http://beyondthecreek.com Beyond the Creek

      Thank you for pointing that out, much appreciated. When I first approached the planning dept I thought they’d blow me off but they were amazingly helpful and eventually were able to track down the info for me. Props to them for that.

      Personally I never noticed the Mt. Diablo view from that location previously; that being said if you were used to that view I can see how that would be disappointing. However, it could have been far, far worse with a rectangular box of a department store plopped down instead. So based on the eclectic design I am happy with how it turned out, but I think it’s good for people with differing views to chime in as well. Keeps things interesting.

      Thanks for participating. I need to get a new header photo up there of the finished building. This is proving harder than I anticipated due to sun flare issues etc. In the long term though if I could find a nice panoramic shot of downtown buildings with Mt. Diablo in the background I’d definitely consider using that.

  • obiwan

    Here’s an interesting excerpt from the Walnut Creek Municipal code:

    Section 10-8.104, paragraph 1e. “Notwithstanding the above limitations, no ground floor business shall be restricted to less than twenty (20) square feet of sign area, and the total permanent sign area for one ground floor business shall not exceed two hundred (200) square feet.”

    • http://beyondthecreek.com Beyond the Creek

      Ah, nice catch. I’ll to bring this up with my contact there and post an update after I get a response.