Jul 29, 2014

Mall to Expand Facility Use

The mall hopes to mitigate the effects of a flailing economy on its tenants.

Mall to Expand Facility Use

You'll soon be able to get your car detailed, indulge in a quick chair massage and take a ballroom dancing class the Santa Anita Mall.

The Arcadia City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to expand the list of permitted uses for the mall.

The mall, like many others across the country, has taken a hit in the economic downturn, experiencing high tenant turnover rates and extended vacancies.

Westfield officials say they hope expanding Santa Anita's uses will attract more customers, who will come to the mall on a frequent, regular basis.

Senior Vice President Larry Green said the expanded uses will also help Westfield keep up with current trends in mall operations.

"I'm all about getting more uses out of the mall," Green said. "Retail is constantly changing." 

And Santa Anita Mall, which opened in 1974 as Santa Anita Fashion Park, has evolved quite a bit over the years. In 2000, the mall added 600,000 square-feet of retail space, along with with two restaurant pads on the northwest side.

Next year, a Gold's Gym and Haidilao — a Hong Kong-based chain of Sichuan-style hot pot restaurants — will open.

Still, the city has not expanded the mall's uses since the 2000 expansion.

Aside from auto detailing and ballroom dancing, the expanded uses list also allows for vehicle displays employed by dealerships to obtain contact information from prospective buyers. Tenants could also rent kiosks for sample displays and other marketing purposes.

Chamber of Commerce President Scott Hettrick praised the expanded uses, calling them "innovative."

"We don't see a downside," he said, noting the prospective tenants on the expanded uses list would complement, rather than compete with, Santa Anita's traditional retail and restaurant tenants.

Green said it won't be long before Westfield secures tenants for its expanded uses. A ballroom dance studio has already contacted the mall operation company about leasing a 3,350 square-foot space.

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