Story written by Jennifer Van Grove
Photo Courtesy of Simon Property Group and San Diego Union Tribune
Fashion Valley is getting a face lift that its long-time operator hopes will entice shoppers to spend more time — and money — at the upscale mall.
Tuesday, Simon Property Group, which holds a 50 percent stake in the property and is responsible for operations, announced a multi-million dollar investment in the outdoor mall famous for its wide selection of luxury fashion boutiques. The goal is to give the 50 year-old facility a resort-like feel, the company said.
First opened in 1969, Fashion Valley was renovated in 1997 with the addition of a second level. The current mall operator, who took over in 2001, is framing the project as the most significant change to the property since the ‘90s, however it did not provide much detail on the scope and scale of its current efforts.
Specifically, the changes will result in more dining options, and should offer shoppers a multitude of ways to lounge in a more inviting environment. Simon will enhance the grounds with better landscaping, water features and seating options. It will also offer new and improved valet areas, along with more personal shopping services.
The project appears to be relatively minor compared to some of the real estate investment trust’s more substantial expenditures elsewhere around the world. In its most recent earnings report, Simon said that its share of costs associated with 30 development projects already in construction totaled $1.8 billion. The company is, for instance, adding an eight-story AC Hotel by Marriott hotel to its Sawgrass Mills outlet mall in Florida.
And, for comparison, Simon rival Westfield has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into major renovations at its UTC mall near La Jolla. The company this summer opened a high-end apartment building, Palisade UTC, in the mall’s parking lot at a cost of $200 million. It also recently completed a $600 million expansion project that introduced new retail and restaurant concepts, kid-friendly amenities and a plethora of lounge spaces.