SANDY — Starting next month, one of the south valley’s largest shopping centers will undergo a major renovation.
Managers of South Towne Center announced a $20 million, 18-month redesign project scheduled to get underway in a few weeks.
Beginning in August, the 1.3 million-square-foot shopping center will go through a significant overhaul that will include improvements to landscaping, lighting and the parking lot to accommodate a new off-ramp from northbound I-15 that will exit directly onto mall property, among other upgrades.
“We’re expanding our food court, we’re adding some outdoor seating, adding new entrances, just lightening and brightening everything,” explained Alicia Rutledge, marketing manager for South Towne Center.
The renovation will take place in stages, Rutledge said, and the center will remain open throughout the process. The project is expected to bring in new local and national retailers, and is slated for completion by fall of next year, she added.
Last November, the mall was purchased by a partnership between El Segundo, California-based Pacific Retail Capital Partners, along with Goldman Sachs and Silverpeak Real Estate Partners. Pacific Retail is an owner and manager of regional shopping centers nationwide, including Broadway Mall in Hicksville, New York; Colonie Center in Albany, New York; West Oaks Mall in Houston; Yorktown Center in Lombard, Illinois; and Queen Ka’Ahumanu Center in Kahului, Hawaii.
Located at 10450 S. State, South Towne Center includes a 966,000-square-foot, two-story indoor shopping mall with about 150 stores and restaurants, as well as an adjacent 312,000-square-foot outdoor retail property called Marketplace.
As one of Utah’s largest shopping centers, South Towne is anchored by Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Forever 21 and Dillard’s, while the adjacent Marketplace also includes retailers such as Target and Barnes & Noble.
Over the past few years, the Salt Lake Valley has seen City Creek Center built in downtown Salt Lake City, as well as a major overhaul and expansion of Fashion Place Mall in Murray. In the wake of those developments and in an effort to remain competitive, the company said the new project has been in the works for a while.
“This renovation will create a vibrant, contemporary, outdoor-inspired shopping experience with more entertainment and dining options to serve customers of all ages,” said Gary Karl, Pacific Retail Capital Partners executive vice president. “As South Towne Center enters its 30th year serving the Sandy community, it is the perfect time to enhance the customer experience.“
Though the center’s tenants generally welcome the redesign, some also expressed concerns about the yearslong trend in the declining number of shoppers visiting the property.
“I want to see how the mall is going to bring in more brand-name (tenants) into the mall,” said Tony Luu, owner of Fast Fix Jewelry and Watch Repair. “More (shopper) traffic; that’s what we need.”
Rutledge said management is aware of those concerns and is already in the process of addressing them.
“We’re in negotiations with a lot of different retailers, (and) we have a lot of things in the works,” she said. “We have great plans and a lot of exciting things coming.”
Announcements of new tenants could be on the horizon over the next several months, she said.
The South Towne Center redevelopment is part of The Cairns, Sandy’s 1,100-acre city center “mountain meets urban” project. A cairn is a man-made pile of stones indicating someone is headed in the right direction.
The project from 9000 South to 11400 South and I-15 to near State Street will connect mountain adventures with urban living, explained Sandy communications director Nicole Martin.
The Cairns will feature new apartments and condominiums, restaurants, office space and new retail space, in addition to the multimillion-dollar South Towne Center renovation, she added.
“It plays right into the ‘mountain meets urban’ concept of our overall city center,” Martin said. The environment elevates the mixed-use elements of office, retail and residential with the amenities expected of an active urban lifestyle, she said.
“The mall renovation is huge for Sandy city and for the state of Utah,” Martin said. “They will be creating a shopping experience that is unlike any other here in the state.”