DOWNTOWN — Mark the calendars. The new and improved Santa Monica Place will open on Aug. 6, 2010.
Officials for mall operator Macerich on Tuesday announced the grand opening date of the 550,000 square-foot shopping center, placing it just about a year from when it was originally scheduled to be completed.
Both the main shopping center and Bloomingdale’s, which is one of two anchor tenants, will open in early August while Nordstrom will wait to go live until the 27th of the month.
“I think that will be a really perfect scenario because we’re going to have a grand event on Aug. 6 and have sort of like a one-two punch where we’re able to come back a couple of weeks later and have a real exciting event on that day (for Nordstrom),” Bob Aptaker, the vice president of development for Macerich, said during a press conference on the rooftop dining deck.
The announcement came just several months after Macerich officials decided to push the mall’s grand opening from this fall to next spring, better aligning the timing with the completion of the two department stores, which are both slated to open in 2010.
Unlike the press conference in February when the delay of the opening was publicly confirmed, officials did not have any new signed restaurants or retailers to share, hinting that more announcements could come later this year. About 11 businesses that had recently signed leases were named during that event, including Pizza Antica, La Sandia and Ed Hardy.
“We’re looking for things that are special and obviously complement the two anchor stores we have as well as complement the Third Street Promenade and the retail that is around us,” Anne Singleton, the vice president of leasing for Macerich, said.
More restaurants could be added to the mix, she said.
The Frank Gehry-designed mall opened in the 1980s and at its prime served as a thriving partner to the promenade. Vibrancy however went away in the past few years as tenants were put on shorter-term leases while Macerich, which purchased the mall in 1999, made plans to give the enclosed shopping center some new life, adopting the tag line, “a star is reborn.”
One of the largest developers of shopping centers in the country, Macerich originally proposed building three, 21-story office towers that included retail spaces and residential units. Those plans were nixed after residents opposed the proposal, calling it out of character with the neighborhood.
After holding a series of community workshops, Macerich presented a redesigned mall that included tearing off the roof of the building’s central spine.
The Redevelopment Agency recently approved architectural designs for Bloomingdale’s, which will move into the northwest corner of Fourth Street and Colorado Avenue, formerly occupied by Macy’s. Several members of the agency, which is made up of the City Council, expressed some concerns about the design, suggesting more landscaping at the base of the building and asking that the wide expanses of white walls be reconsidered.
The proposed design for Bloomingdale’s shows a three-story modern and sleek structure, covered in a transparent glass facade with display windows and a sequin-like layer on the exterior. The remodel of the building, which is owned by Macerich, will be paid for by Macy’s Inc.
“I’m not exactly sure what they will do to respond to some of those issues but I know they did have some word from staff on the design,” Aptaker said.
City Hall is also planning on hosting a community meeting this Thursday night at the Ken Edwards Center about the proposed designs for Nordstrom, which will be located at the corner of Broadway and Second Street, the one-time home of Robinsons-May. The project will go before the Architectural Review Board later this month but will not require approval by either the Planning Commission or City Council.
Aptaker said that the opening date for the mall is firm.
“It’s now a matter of completing construction and working with Bloomingdale’s and completing their construction and bringing everything together,” he said.