“Huge crowds” flocked to the renovated Santa Monica Place mall Friday, the mall's owner stated. The Frank Gehry designed structure, which was at one point slated for destruction, was closed down for two years and turned into a three-level, open-air, 524,000 square-foot mall with Bloomingdale's as its anchor. Nordstrom will open there at the end of the month, and a Tiffany & Co. will follow in September.

In this economy? Guess so.

People camped out overnight to be the first to get inside the mall, and its owner estimated that 3,000 to 4,000 people were on-hand when its doors opened.

The Santa Monica Daily Press even gave drivers tips on how to avoid the traffic and still get to the beach-side shopping center.

“Today's opening of the new Santa Monica Place, certainly the highest profile new retail opening this year, demonstrates the power of a world-class property in a world-class market,” said Arthur M. Coppola, CEO of Santa Monica Place's owner, Macerich. “Many of the world's best retail brands are here, drawn by the outstanding quality of this project and the rare opportunity to locate in the highly desirable community of Santa Monica.”

LA Weekly