By Ashley Mackin
A remodeled and revamped Westfield UTC shopping center reopened Nov. 15 with a fashion event designed to showcase the outdoor mall’s new offerings. It included a fashion show hosted by E! News Correspondent and Fashion Police panelist Giuliana Rancic and a concert by Natasha Bedingfield.
As an introduction to the festivities, several speakers addressed the crowd to talk about the center’s $180 million makeover.
“We could not be more proud of the project that we’re delivering here to La Jolla and the San Diego community,” said CEO Greg Miles. “It’s a resort-inspired fashion and lifestyle destination.”
Outgoing Mayor Jerry Sanders told guests, “This is a great remake of an old shopping center and we’re really happy with Westfield for giving us this deluxe shopping center in San Diego.”
Sanders added that the 35-year-old mall, which originally opened in 1977, is expected to bring in $3 million in revenue per year. He said the renovation project created 2,400 jobs, of which 1,000 were construction-related. In addition to the renovations, 40,000 square feet of new space was developed at the center.
Before the fashion show, Rancic praised the mall’s management for “all the amazing things they’ve added here.” She said she specifically liked the family area and “bark park.” The mall is dog friendly and has drinking fountains of varying heights for pets.
Of the clothing retailers, Rancic said, “You guys are really on the forefront of fashion.”
When Grammy-nominated singer Natasha Bedingfield took the stage, she performed some of her hits along with a cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”
New retailers at Westfield UTC include Tiffany & Co., J. Crew, Vans, Rolex, Kiehl’s, The Art of Shaving, Deko Floral, Oakley, Splendid, Tesla Motors and ArcLight Cinemas.
The new restaurants at Westfield UTC include Tender Greens, Sarku Sushi, Bolillo Torta, Via Moto, Stone Oven Gourmet, Eureka Burger and Seasons 52 restaurant.
Miles said the center is seeking LEED Gold-Level certification. Sustainability features include high-efficiency plumbing, recycled water for landscape irrigation, and “cool roof” technology that reduces the need for air conditioning.
Aesthetic changes include the restored dolphin pools that include statues of dolphins in different stages of play, and the addition of the Palm Plaza, where the fashion show and concert occurred. Miles said he hopes to have entertainment events year round at the Plaza.
Festivities continued through the weekend, with an official grand opening at ArcLight Cinemas, a 12:01 a.m. Saturday showing of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2” and a tree-lighting ceremony and performance Saturday night by American Idol contestant Jessica Sanchez, as well as the San Diego Children’s Choir, the Body Poets as seen on America’s Got Talent and The San Diego Youth Ballet.
The Westfield UTC mall is located at 4545 La Jolla Village Drive. Hours vary by store. Valet parking is $8 for shoppers and free for those with validation from Seasons 52. Additional services include a concierge to help navigate the store and services, a lost and found, custom gift wrapping at Papyrus, family amenities, foreign language assistance and gift suggestions, among others. More information can be found at Westfield.com/utc