By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor
Westfield Group has launched the first phase of a $1 billion renovation project of the Westfield UTC mall. Signon San Diego reports the project intends to increase the current one million square feet of retail space to around 1.75 million by the end of 2013. The mall, previously known as University Towne Centre, opened in 1977 and the last major restoration was in 1984.
Bought in 1998 by Westfield, the shopping complex is expected to reach $500 million in annual taxable sales following the first phase of the renovation. This would mean an increase of $127.5 million, mainly attained through the opening of the county’s first cinema from the ArcLight chain and a 24-Hour Fitness Super Sport Club which will be three times the size of the current gym. Tom Tierney, a senior vice president for Westfield, said the choice of concentrating on the cinemas and the fitness elements first was a logical one bearing in mind they have been some of the commercial uses which have had the strongest performance in the past years.
The first phase of the project will also include a rejuvenation of the mall’s look with various elements inspired from the recently opened Westfield mall in London, such as a “High Street” look featuring taller store facades.
A timeline has not been laid out for the future phases, but plans envision three new anchor stores, 150 shops; up to 300 condominiums; around 5,000 square feet in office space; 3,000 new parking spaces; and new dining opportunities for the customers.