For decades, the 1980’s era Santa Monica Place performed well below its potential despite its phenomenal location adjacent to the famous Third Street Promenade within the thriving downtown of Santa Monica, Calif. When Macerich acquired the center in 1999, its redevelopment progressed to revitalize urban connections and restore the city fabric while advancing concepts of sustainable retail development.
Designed by The Jerde Partnership, the new Santa Monica Place has transformed into an “urban living room”—a hub of commercial and social activity connected to the people and its surroundings while reactivating downtown Santa Monica.
In a coastal city best experienced outside, the project takes the mall out of the mall and keeps with the city’s outdoor orientation and intimate scale. By removing the roof and gutting its interior, the project extends the vibrancy of Third Street and maximizes the site’s potential with an open-air footprint that seamlessly integrates all four sides with the surrounding community.
The project’s streetscapes reflect each particular context—intimate Third Street Promenade to the north, the serenity of the ocean to the west, the formality of the Civic Center the south, and urban Los Angeles to the east—and are enhanced with terra cotta, glass, stone, brick, and stainless steel elements integrated with unique patterns, varying dimensional openings, and lighting.
Pedestrian paths merge at a central public court plaza created as a signature element of Santa Monica Place, acting as the project’s heart on the main level while providing a vibrant gathering space for performances, art installations and other local events. Its elliptical shape and offset orientation of the two upper retail and dining floors, maximizes sunlight through all levels.
In addition to the grand plaza and pedestrian paths, on the third level lies another community attraction known as the Dining Deck—a space featuring trees, an outdoor fireplace, cabana-style lounging cubes, and indoor/outdoor common area seating. Throughout the Dining Deck, visitors can relax and enjoy views from the ocean to the mountains without having to enter any private or stand-alone facility.
The new Santa Monica Place is being considered for LEED Gold certification for adapting the enclosed center to an open-air facility with solar panels for energy efficiency; increasing pedestrian connectivity and connections to public transportation; using reflective roofing materials to reduce the heat island effect; and incorporating water-efficient landscaping and other conservation measures.
When the property re-opened in August 2010, the new complex—consisting of approximately 524,000 square feet of gross leasable space across three levels—was 92 percent leased and 97 percent committed, attracting an estimated 200,000 people on grand opening weekend alone. Designed as a complementary extension of Third Street Promenade, businesses along Third Street have reported a positive ripple effect including record sales on the day of the center’s grand opening, and increased real estate property values. As economically and socially evident, the new Santa Monica Place highlights a successful retail repositioning, delivering a dynamic urban experience and communal space for gathering and interaction.
Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica, Calif.
The Jerde Partnership