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Santa Monica Place Ready for Facelift:

Santa Monica Place (SMP), with the exception Macy’s Department Store, will close on January 31 for remodeling. The mall is expected to reopen sometime in the fall of 2009.

The remodel, according to Macerich officials, will include tearing off the mall’s roof and doors for an open-air extension of the Promenade, moving the food court to the third level, creating open public spaces, modifying mall entrances, and producing a more vibrant dining and shopping experience.

When reopened, the newly remodeled mall will offer such benefits as additional tax revenue for City programs, family rest rooms, a public art installation, a community gallery, and an improved community room.

In an interview with the Mirror, Santa Monica Planning Commissioner Jay Johnson noted that while the community anticipates the mall’s relaunch, some preferred the indoor experience of the current structure. There are concerns that the “rain, fog, moisture, and wind [experienced in Santa Monica] will make the [new open mall experience] uncomfortable.” He also noted that some in the community are worried that the “new businesses” that will lease space in the mall “will be too high-end.”

Macerich’s Senior Manager of Development Relations, Robyn Young, stressed that when the mall reopens it will have a “high- quality mix of stores that meets the needs [of the community] that are not met today” and “will complement the mix of retail currently in Santa Monica.” She also mentioned that the remodel will contain parking decks “that are aligned in cost with other City lots.” This change will make parking more available to mall customers.

Planning Commissioner Terry O’Day told the Mirror in his opinion the mall’s new design “represents a real improvement over what is currently there because it will re-enliven the parcel.” However, he is still concerned about the “construction’s impacts on cars, buses, and bikers.”

The mall’s marketing manager, Ashley Walkley, told the Mirror that Macerich would have management people on site who will be available for questions from the public during the construction process.

Walkley also mentioned that if you have a paper SMP gift certificate that you don’t anticipate using by January 31, you can send it to the address printed on the back to receive a check for its value or you can exchange it for a Visa gift card. The Visa gift card can be obtained from Macerich’s SMP marketing department. If you have a gift certificate from a specific mall retailer you need to communicate with them about its use.

Updates on construction and other information on the project can be found at santamonicaplace.com.

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