Westfield Century City Mall in Los Angeles, CA: A Shopper’s Paradise

The Historical Evolution of Westfield Century City

Westfield Century City Mall opened its doors in 1964 under the Century Square Shopping Center. Anchored by The Broadway, it was a modest beginning for what would become a retail juggernaut. In 1976, the mall expanded its footprint by converting its parking lot into additional retail space, adding a Bullock’s department store and several other shops.

Fast forward to 1987, and the mall introduced an AMC cinema and a new food court known as “The Marketplace.” These additions marked a significant shift in the mall’s offerings, making it a shopping destination and an entertainment hub.

In 1996, both The Broadway and Bullock’s closed their doors, making way for Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, as Federated Department Stores acquired the struggling parent company, Carter Hawley Hale.

In 2002, the Australian shopping center developer Westfield Group acquired a 50% stake in the mall and renamed it “Westfield Shoppingtown Century City.” However, the “Shoppingtown” part was dropped in 2005, simplifying the name to what we know today. The mall underwent a $160 million renovation in 2004, which included a new alfresco Dining Terrace and a flagship 15-screen AMC cinema.

The Architectural Marvel

Designed by Welton Becket Associates, the architecture of Westfield Century City is a blend of modern design and functional space utilization. The mall is spread across two levels, boasting a total retail floor area of 1,300,000 square feet. This expansive space is meticulously planned to offer a seamless shopping experience to visitors.

The mall also features about 3,500 parking spaces, ensuring that visitors have ample room to park their vehicles. The parking facilities are strategically located to provide easy access to the mall’s main entrances. This thoughtful design makes the mall visually appealing and highly functional.

The architectural elements are not just confined to the building’s structure but extend to the mall’s interiors as well. The mall underwent a significant renovation in 2004, including a reskin of the existing Bloomingdale store and a restaurant row facing Santa Monica Boulevard. These changes were part of a broader effort to modernize the mall and make it more appealing to today’s consumers.

Expansion: The Journey of Westfield Century City’s Growth

In 2009, Westfield Century City set its sights on a transformative expansion that initially included a towering 49-story mixed-use building, a relocated Bloomingdale’s, and a substantial increase in retail and parking spaces. However, the journey to realize this vision was fraught with challenges, including legal obstacles, community pushback, and delays that led to a revised plan by 2013.

The towering skyscraper was scaled back due to community concerns, and the focus shifted more towards retail expansion, eventually leading to demolishing some of the mall’s oldest structures, including the Gateway West Building and Macy’s.

Construction finally finished in 2015, with the mall undergoing a phased transformation. The first significant milestone was unveiling a revamped Macy’s in April 2017, followed by the opening of Nordstrom in October of the same year.

These developments were part of a broader strategy to modernize the mall and diversify its retail offerings. The original plan for a residential tower was also scrapped, making room for more retail space and pushing the mall’s total retail area to an impressive 1.3 million square feet.

The final touch to this ambitious project was the introduction of the Italian marketplace, Eataly, in November 2017. This unique culinary destination enriched the mall’s dining options and was the last piece of the intricate expansion puzzle. Despite the hurdles and changes, Westfield Century City emerged as a more resilient and adaptable establishment, solidifying its role as a cornerstone in the Los Angeles community.

The Retail Landscape

Westfield Century City has various retail stores catering to multiple tastes and preferences. From fashion brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Adidas to tech giants like the Apple Store, the mall offers something for everyone. Anchor tenants like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale’s add to the mall’s allure, drawing in shoppers from all over the city.

For those interested in jewelry and accessories, stores like Bearfruit Jewelry and Gorjana offer many options. And if you’re in the mood for home improvement, stores like The Container Store and Herman Miller have you covered. The mall provides a one-stop shopping experience, making it a go-to destination for all your retail needs.

In addition to these well-known names, the mall has welcomed several new stores recently. Brands like ba&sh, ASTR The Label, and Marine Layer have set up shop, adding to the mall’s ever-evolving retail landscape. These new additions keep the mall fresh and exciting, ensuring that there’s always something new to discover.

Westfield Century City Interior
Westfield Century City Interior Baron Maddock, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Culinary Experience

Regarding dining, Westfield Century City offers a culinary experience that’s as diverse as its retail landscape. The mall has something to satisfy every palate: fast-food joints like Chick-fil-A to upscale restaurants like Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House. For those with a sweet tooth, dessert places like 85°C Bakery Cafe offer a range of delicious options.

One of the standout features of the mall’s dining scene is Eataly, an Italian marketplace concept that opened in November 2017. This unique culinary destination offers a range of Italian foods, wines, and even cooking classes. It’s a must-visit for anyone who appreciates fine Italian cuisine.

Coffee lovers are also in for a treat, with cafes like Blue Bottle Coffee offering the perfect place to relax and unwind. For those who prefer a more health-conscious diet, options like SunLife Organics and Sweetgreen provide a range of organic and healthy choices. In short, the mall’s dining options are as varied as they are delicious, making it a food lover’s paradise.

Entertainment and More

Westfield Century City is not just about shopping and dining; it’s also a hub for entertainment and other activities. The 15-screen AMC multiplex is a significant draw, offering the latest movies in a comfortable setting. But the entertainment options don’t end there. The mall also hosts special events and activities that add to its appeal as a go-to destination for things to do in Los Angeles, California.

For instance, art shows featuring artists and charity events hosted by the LA Rams are regular occurrences, adding a cultural dimension to the mall’s offerings. These events provide a break from the usual shopping and dining routine, offering something more enriching and engaging.

One unique offering that caught our attention is the Little Kitchen Academy. This establishment teaches cooking skills to young chefs, blending education with entertainment. It’s a fantastic way for kids to learn something new while having fun, making it a win-win for parents and children alike.

The Future of Westfield Century City

Westfield Century City faces challenges and opportunities as we look to the future. In April 2022, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield announced plans to sell all 24 malls in the United States within two years. This development has led to speculation about the mall’s future ownership and direction.

Despite these uncertainties, the mall continues to evolve and adapt to changing consumer behavior. The surge in online commerce and the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic have certainly presented obstacles. However, these developments have also paved the way for novel possibilities. The mall has enhanced its digital footprint and implemented curbside pickup options to adapt to evolving consumer preferences.

As for what the mall might look like in the coming years, it’s hard to say. However, one thing is clear: Westfield Century City will remain a significant part of the Century City commercial district and the broader Los Angeles community. Its retail, dining, and entertainment blend ensures it remains a vibrant and appealing destination for years.

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