Remodeled Southcenter To Open July 25th

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Come July 25th, shoppers and diners will be able to admire Mt. Rainier through a 90-foot glass facade while eating inside the $240 million remodeled Westfield Southcenter mall.

The addition brings the mall to 1.7 million square feet, making Tukwila the home of the largest indoor shopping center in Washington and Oregon, according to the Westfield Group, the company that bought the property in 2002.

The 400,000-square-foot upgrade is the most dramatic change to Southcenter since it opened in July 1968.

Among the mall’s new features will be an AMC Theatre with IMAX capabilities, 75 additional retail stores and five restaurants with outdoor seating:

  • Joeys
  • Duke’s Chowder House
  • Blue C Sushi
  • Racha Thai & Asian Bistro
  • BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse

New retailers include:

  • H&M
  • Coach
  • Banana Republic
  • Sephora
  • White House | Black Market

“Retail is what it’s all about,” said Larry Green, Westfield’s senior vice president of West Coast development, adding that Southcenter is “taking the level of fashion up another level.”

Other additions include parking garages, rooftop parking and family lounge play areas for kids and parents.

On Thursday, Westfield passed out hard hats and safety goggles to a group of reporters who toured the construction site, including the B-Town Blog’s own Mark Neuman, who said it was “very impressive.”

Construction crew members operated two cranes within the atrium. The air inside was dusty, the floor was mostly unfinished and unadorned signs hung where stores will be: Kay Jewelers, Hot Topic, Limited Too.

The mall’s new layout will resemble a racetrack, with three connecting walkways into the existing section. The addition sits in front of the older section, giving the building an entire new front.

Andrew Ciarrocchi, Westfield senior general manager, noted that more than 1,000 pilings driven 180 feet into the ground support the new shopping structure. The old section will be spruced up with better lighting, new storefronts and fresh paint.

The Westfield executives’ statements Thursday didn’t match what retailers seem to be feeling nationwide.

In a recent survey by American Express, for example, business owners in the retail industry had the most negative outlook on the economy, compared with other industries. Retail business owners cited a downturn in the housing market, rising energy and gas costs, and the U.S. tax system as the main causes for their woes, according to American Express OPEN’s Small Business Monitor, a semiannual survey of business owners. The nationwide survey was conducted in March.

Green said that Westfield is concerned about what is going on nationally, but that the Seattle region has a healthy level of demand for new retail.

But “we’d like to see gas prices drop,” he said.

Westfield Southcenter is one of several regional retail centers that are expanding. Other developers have said the Puget Sound retail market is not yet saturated.

Retailers were lining up to be a part of Southcenter, but the center didn’t have the space to accommodate them previously, Ciarrocchi said. The center wouldn’t have expanded if it wasn’t sure that it could lease the space, he added, when asked whether the economy has affected leasing.

Westfield’s new space is 100 percent leased, but all the new tenants have not yet been announced.


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