2017 Newsmaker: The Wraps Come Off Westfield’s $1 Billion Revamp of Century City

An Italian food hall that is packed with customers. A slate of unique stores. Furniture that looks like it should be in an interior designer’s living room.

Those are all the new elements that the Westfield Corp. incorporated in its $1 billion renovation of the Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles, which debuted in October.

The mall-development and management company hoped the revamp with a Tiffany price tag would take a property that was already functioning as an A-level mall and turn it into something spectacular. While mall companies traditionally commit to major renovations, the current era bought more urgency to this project. Mall traffic has been declining in the past few years, and competition from e-commerce has made many doubt the traditional mall model.

For William Hecht, chief operating officer of Westfield’s American operations, the massive renovation of Westfield Century City is a rethinking of the purpose of retail centers and what attracts people to them.

“We’re going to give people a reason to come to the center at least two to three times a week,” he told the California Apparel News.

The traditional mall mix was reshuffled. At Westfield Century City, there’s a UCLA medical office, which offers urgent-care services. There’s also an emphasis on tapping into Los Angeles’ current obsession with hip eateries. Lines for the Eataly Italian market and restaurant, which officially debuted on Nov. 3, reportedly took more than an hour.

Westfield sought to dazzle with experiences. The mall devotes space to the Atrium performance area for bands, Broadway-style reviews and brand events such as the M.A.C. Snowball premiere in early December. Also at the mall, star designer Kelly Wearstler crafted looks at the shopping center such as lounge areas with teak furniture and Moroccan tiles.

For apparel shoppers, Westfield Century City offers a mix of high-end department stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and a redesigned Macy’s. It also offers stores not open at many U.S. malls such as Canadian-headquartered retailers Aritzia and Oak + Fort. Westfield Century City also is the address for new looks for stores such as jeweler Loree Rodkin’s design of the Sama Eyewear boutique, which was unveiled Dec. 5.

Bernard G. Jacobs, a stylist, likes how Westfield Century City is open relatively late. “It stays open later than Rodeo, which is key for me,” he said. “When [Rodeo] stores close at 6 p.m., I can run out of there and have three more hours of shopping.”