Simon Property Group aims to replace a former Sears complex at the Brea Mall with a 380-unit urban-retail village.
The Indiana-based mall developer has filed plans to build a fitness center, 380 apartments and outdoor shops and restaurants at the mall at 1065 Brea Mall, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
A vacant 162,000-square-foot wing formerly occupied by Sears, an associated auto center and a 7.5-acre parking lot would be demolished.
Plans call for redeveloping a 15.5-acre portion of the 74-acre Brea Mall, with upgrades to State College Boulevard between Imperial Highway and Brea Mall South, along the east side of the property.
“The Sears store has sat vacant for years now, so taking that square footage and repurposing it and modernizing it is going to be a win because right now it’s doing nothing for the city, the community and our residents,” Brea Community Development Director Jason Killebrew told the newspaper.
The project was unanimously approved by the Brea Planning Commission in December and will be presented to the City Council at an upcoming meeting for final approval, he said.
If the City Council approves the project, it’s hard to predict when construction would get underway, due to “a lot of external conditions,” City Planner Joanne Hwang said. Construction could potentially take two years.
The Orange County mall opened in 1977, with May Co. and Sears as the two anchors. Nordstrom and The Broadway opened a few years later. By 1990, a larger Nordstrom and JW Robinson’s were added.
The mall featured ice skating in the 1970s and ’80s, but the rink was removed to make way for the food court and a Y-shaped addition.
In 1996, The Broadway converted to Macy’s after the purchase of its parent company, Carter Hawley Hale Stores, by Federated Department Stores.
The Brea Mall is now home to one of the top-performing Nordstrom stores in Southern California and all retail and dining establishments in the mall combine for about $700 million in annual sales, according to Simon’s website.
With occupancy and rental income up last summer, the head of the nation’s largest mall owner wants to put an end to “the so-called negative mall narrative.” Malls are doing well, Simon says.
— Dana Bartholomew
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