Since the closing of the original Santa Monica Place in 2008, passers-by near the south end of Third Street Promenade have been wondering at the dark and mysterious tarp-covered space. The first week of August, the tarp will be lifted to reveal a newly constructed Santa Monica Place featuring a rooftop market, dining deck and views of the ocean, Promenade, Santa Monica Mountains, and skyline. During a sunny and breezy mid-February it seems the perfect location for such a concept. With its wide open spaces and glass walls throughout, the 555,000 square foot shopping center and dining destination is well on its way, as development company Macerich continues to sign on independent, farm-to-table type gourmet purveyors for the Market.
After shopping at the new Bloomingdales, you can ride up to the Market, which accommodates about 22 units of retail space with vendors selling freshly made breads, artisanal cheeses, meats, fish, flowers, chocolates, peanuts, charcuterie and additional items you might find in a farmers market. Local restaurant Kings Road Café is signed on, as well as San Francisco based Coco-Luxe Confections. And, the developers are still in serious talks with Culver City based market, kitchen and cafe, Curious Palate. Unlike the old mall, where you had to walk up a set of stairs and enter through large doors, the new Santa Monica Place is "all connected now," said Michael Guerin, assistant vice president of leasing for Macerich.
If you spent any time at the original mall, you might recognize it from scenes in Terminator 2 or Fast Times at Ridgemont High. But unlike the old mall, which housed The Gap and Burger King, which can now be found on the Promenade, the new complex will feature more locally owned stores and fast-casual restaurants such as Charlie Kabob, Fatburger, Pinches Tacos, and Stefano's Pizza.
Guerin, who has been heeding advice from community members on which purveyors to bring in, said a big part of the decision making is based on the consumer. Chef-driven restaurants include XINO Restaurant+Lounge, Ozumo, Pizza Antica, and Richard Sandoval restaurants Zengo and La Sandia. Think San Francisco's Ferry Building and NYC's Chelsea Market. "This is a celebration of food," Guerin said. "The Market is icing on the cake." As any dedicated fan of cupcakes knows, icing is the best part.
Santa Monica Place: 1453 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica; (310) 394-5451.