Monthly Archives: November 2019

Santa comes to town today, with (fake) snow also returning to Paseo Nuevo

Only days removed from the sounds of sirens rushing to the scene of the Cave Fire, locals and tourists alike will welcome the sounds of something more festive starting tonight.

The sleigh bells will officially return to Paseo Nuevo, as Santa will finally open his doors to children and adults alike, looking to grant every wish this holiday season.

And he won’t have to use any temporary walkways or avoid loose bricks, as the shopping center has halted its renovation and put the place back together—just in time for the holiday shopping season.

“All according to plan,” said Paseo Nuevo’s Mary Lynn Harms-Romo, the center’s senior marketing director. “We’ve been looking forward to having Santa back, and had to get the place in shape for his return.”

Santa will hold hours from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday until Dec. 13, with Sundays running from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

From Dec. 14 – Dec. 23, the big guy will be available daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. to make sure all kids can get those last-second requests in.

On Christmas Eve, Santa has to get on the road a bit earlier, closing up his annual appearance with a 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift.

“Every kid receives a gift from Santa, it’s a great tradition here,” Ms. Harms-Romo said.

And while Santa Barbara County received a good dose of the real stuff—with potential for more this morning—the shopping center is bringing back its popular night snowfall shows, “Let It Snow,” starting at 6 p.m. nightly. They’ll run every night through New Year’s Eve, excluding Christmas Day.

The holiday festivities are only an interlude for the renovation project at Paseo Nuevo, as the center had decided early on that it wanted to give all of its shops the best opportunity for sales this holiday season.

Ms. Harms-Romo explained that the shopping center will remain mostly construction-free, with only touch-up work being done through the end of the year. “It was always our goal to have this done for the holidays,” Ms. Harms-Romo said. “A few things were offtrack, so we are just going to take a break, going to stop and have a great holiday season.”

Beginning in January, the renovation will reconvene, with hopes of a grand reopening in May. The project has been fairly smooth, with only a pair of obstacles to date, including finding a second, smaller sinkhole near Nordstrom. It has now been repaired.

There will be minor work being done in December, mostly cosmetic and not likely to interrupt foot traffic. “It’ll mostly be holes that we have in walls, landscaping and some speakers,” Ms. Harms-Romo said.

Paseo Nuevo is without its seasonal Night Market this year after issues over a potential ice rink in the Ortega Building caused Glen Broomberg, the owner of the market, to decide to cease operations ahead of the holiday season.

A handful of the businesses that partook in the market last year have found different areas of Paseo Nuevo to utilize instead.

“It’s great to be able to accommodate them,” Ms. Harms-Romo said. The Ortega Building—which housed Macy’s in recent years—is a topic of discussion for the shopping center, with the focus squarely on having multiple tenants move into the building at some point in 2020.

The shopping center has been meeting with various city groups to discuss what they’d like to do with the building, with Ms. Harms-Romo indicating that it would likely house restaurants, entertainment and retailers alike.

“The plan is to repurpose the building with more than one tenant,” Ms. Harms-Romo said. But, for now, the shopping center will embrace its biggest tenant — Santa.

— Nick Masuda for Santa Barbara News-Press.

In Time of Few Mall Developments, New Mall Debuts, Another Major Mall Remodels

A new retail center has opened in Long Beach, Calif., as another mall is scheduled to wrap up the first phase of a $20 million remodel in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The Oct. 14 debut of the 2nd & PCH retail center in Long Beach and the Nov. 15 unveiling of a remodel of the main section of the Paseo Nuevo center in Santa Barbara, are two of a small group of mall-development hot spots in California, which was once one of the hubs of mall development in the world.

Only a couple of new malls were built from the ground up in California this year, and 2nd & PCH was one of them. Another was the One Paseo retail center in Del Mar, Calif. It opened in March. Only a couple of new malls were opened because there is less of the raw material that new projects need to get developed.

Large tracts of open land are a rare find in crowded coastal California, said Larry Kosmont, president of Kosmont Companies, a Los Angeles–headquartered real-estate and economic-development-services firm. Also, consumers’ shopping preferences have changed, and digital commerce has taken market share away from malls, Kosmont said. The shift has cut into the demand for malls.

But opportunity remains for retail centers, said Jean Paul Wardy, president of CenterCal LLC, the El Segundo, Calif.–based company that developed 2nd & PCH. CenterCal also developed The Veranda mall in Concord, Calif. It was one of the few new malls to open in California in 2018. Another one was Palisades Village, the Caruso mall in Los Angeles’ Pacific Palisades neighborhood.

Residents of well-to-do areas of Long Beach such as the Belmont Shores and Naples neighborhoods have to make long drives to shop at traditional malls such as Lakewood Center. Shopping for much of these affluent Long Beach neighborhoods is served by boutique districts such as 2nd Street in Belmont Shores or retail centers with supermarkets, big boxes and cinemas, such as the Marina Pacifica Mall and Marketplace Long Beach.

Wardy said that the absence of traditional malls in that area attracted CenterCal.

“There was a lot of data that showed the customer was there. But there were no stores serving these customers,” he said. “There was a long list of retailers that had never landed in Long Beach for one reason or another.”

Fortunately, some property was becoming available. Raymond Lin and his family were seeking to redevelop the Seaport Marina Hotel in Long Beach, which happens to be located by the corner of 2nd Street and Pacific Coast Highway.

For four years, CenterCal was in talks with Lin on bringing a retail center to the space. Negotiations were successful. In 2017, the hotel was demolished, and the 215,000-square-foot retail center was constructed in its place. Wardy declined to state how much money it cost to develop the center, but a 2017 Los Angeles Times story said it was $100 million.

2nd & PCH is anchored by a Whole Foods supermarket, which opened on Oct. 23, but fashion will be a big deal at the space. Fashion retail is anchored by an Urban Outfitters and a Lululemon Athletica that also opened on Oct. 24.

Other fashion retailers include Johnny Was, Free People and a location for Linne’s, which is a Seal Beach, Calif., boutique. Surf brand Vissla is also scheduled to open a boutique, according to the retail center’s website.

Wardy said that 2nd & PCH is about 95 percent leased. He forecasted that the majority of the people going to the mall will be Long Beach residents. Other shoppers will be drawn from around the region. CenterCal is not taking customer traffic for granted.

Along with seeking out new retailers, 2nd & PCH will be producing events to draw in customers. “There will be movies in the park, concerts and art activities. We do a lot to create a place where customers can be with loved ones and enjoy themselves. We like to try a lot of things and see what resonates. There’s a lot of trial and error,” Wardy explained. “We’re being guided by what the customer wants.”

Owned by Pacific Retail Capital Partners, Paseo Nuevo will be completing the first phase of a $20 million remodel for a center that was introduced in 1990, said Mary Lynn Harms-Romo, Paseo Nuevo’s senior marketing manager.

A lot of the remodeling costs have paid for new brick pavers in the open-air mall as well as a new infrastructure for utilities such as cables that provide networking for the retail center in downtown Santa Barbara.

The remodel will also create common areas where shoppers can hang out. These lounges will feature a fire pit, outdoor seating as well as places to play games such as the traditional Italian bowling game of Bocce.

“Creating a nicer environment will attract better retailers,” Harms-Romo said. “Shopping centers are changing, and we’re trying to be ahead of the curve. It’s going to be more of a destination for multiple things, not just a shopping center.”

Paseo Nuevo is anchored by a Nordstrom. Other tenants include a Gap and a Pacific Sunwear. Much of the center has been leased, Harms-Romo said, because the center offers short-term leases. A couple of years ago, a puppet theater leased a storefront for 90 days. Santa Barbara–based Deckers Inc. also has produced pop-up shops at Paseo Nuevo.

Original Story HERE