Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Santa Monica Place

I ventured over to the newly re-designed Santa Monica Place at lunchtime today just to see how it all turned out. When the first incarnation of this mall opening almost 20 years ago, it was the opposite of the outdoor SM Promenade, meaning it was entirely inside. Subsequently, the stores on the open-air 3rd Street Promenade gained in popularity while the stores under -over started closing. During the last years of it's life, the original SM Place was a lumbering ghost town. A change was in order.
They did not change the footprint or parking structure at the SM Mall. You still enter through these long and winding tunnels...rather depressing.

I must say, the new and improved SM Place is beautiful. The designers removed the roof of the mall and It's mostly open-air. The center of the mall walkway connects with the SM Promenade for a seamless transition.

Looking north toward the SM Promenade

The restaurant deck on the top level of the mall looks toward the ocean. It is four blocks from the beach, so the ocean is quite distant, but at least the breeze is evident. There are many restaurant choices.

Outdoor Dining Deck
View to the Pacific Ocean
Hopefully, the new construction across the street won't block the view!

The big anchor stores at Santa Monica Place are Nordstrom's and Bloomingdale's. I can see myself frequenting Bertini Shoes and L'Occitane too. The rest of the shop offerings are out of my demographic. Since I live in the Mid-City area of Los Angeles, if I need to go to a mall, on the weekends, I like The Grove, The Westside Pavillion and Century City.
The SM mall was packed on this sunny Wednesday afternoon. I'm sure many of the hordes were tourists and kids out of school for the summer. I'm glad I ate lunch at my office. There would have been no way to park, eat and get back to 26th and Broadway within one hour!There is still lots of construction surrounding the mall, so traffic is dense. I will not return until the dead of winter when possible rain will send shoppers scurrying indoors at this outdoor destination!

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At 4:25 PM PDT, Anonymous Jo Anne said...

Thanks for your assessment. I have yet to venture over there....I hear it is quite crowded.

At 10:43 PM PDT, Blogger aracne said...

How exciting, I always wondered what that ghost buidling was.
Planning a visit by the end of October...

At 12:32 PM PDT, Blogger woolanthropy said...

Cool. Now with your pics I don't even have to go down there to check it out. Good work, scouting it out.

At 4:32 AM PDT, Anonymous LisaNewton said...

I'm so glad you went. I haven't ventured out there yet, and really don't plan to until the crowds die down.

It looks pretty cool, but I also heard many of the stores aren't open yet.

At 1:50 PM PDT, Blogger Aunt Snow said...

We went yesterday. I admire the efforts of the architect to connect it to the Promenade. You got the same shot that I did of the view toward the clock tower. The dining deck is pretty amazing, and how nice it connects you to the ocean, where the older mall excluded the rest of the world.

That said, I wonder whether the stores will do well. Do we really need more Louis Vuitton or other high-end stores? I think the food stands and restaurants will do well, and probably Nordies and Bloomies. But me, personally, I'm just bored to tears with chain stores, fancy or not.


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