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A made-over Santa Monica Place will reopen in August

June 8, 2010 |  5:31 pm

http://la.curbed.com/uploads/2007-11-smplace4thst.jpgSanta Monica Place, which closed in January 2008 for a mood-altering overhaul, is in the final stages of construction and is gearing up for its Aug. 6 reopening.

As newly configured, the 550,000-square-foot mall, owned by Santa Monica-based Macerich, will feature three levels of open-air shopping and dining at the southern end of the Third Street Promenade.

A 100,000-square-foot Bloomingdale’s, described by Macerich officials as a “highly edited mix with design very much of this market,” will be one of two anchors. It will open along with dozens of smaller shops on Aug. 6, with the Nordstrom’s launch planned for Aug. 27.

During a site tour Tuesday, Macerich Executive Vice President Randy Brant said the mall would open with occupancy of 75% to 80%. “We’re holding back a few key spaces,” he said. “We’re so well leased we want to make sure we have the right tenants.”

The third-floor dining deck will feature six “chef-driven” restaurants, including Ozumo, a San Francisco concept offering Japanese fare; XINO Restaurant + Lounge, chef Chris Yeo’s modern take on classic Chinese cuisine; and Sonoma Wine Garden, serving wine, beer and small plates of edibles. Nine other restaurants will provide “fast-casual” dining. The dining deck will also feature The Market, with purveyors of gourmet chocolates, olive oils, artisanal cheeses and other items.

The open-air concept, with views of Santa Monica Bay and the Santa Monica Mountains, is an about-face for the 1980s center, designed by Frank Gehry.

At that time, “the concept was downtowns were getting killed by enclosed suburban malls,” Brant said. The idea was to create a suburban-style mall near the beach in Santa Monica. Third Street at the time was unsavory and “wasn’t where you wanted to be,” Brant added.

Now the aim is to take advantage of the proximity to the beach and the bustling promenade. Among those whose job it will be to maintain the center, Brant said, will be a crew charged with nothing but cleaning the abundant glass walls and windows.

-- Martha Groves