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VANCOUVER, WA-Westfield Group is planning to add an open-air lifestyle district to its 940,000-sf enclosed mall here. The Australia-based shopping mall owner tells GlobeSt.com it plans to demolish the former Mervyn’s building on the northeast side of the mall and add the new development to the south side of the mall, which faces State Route 500. Westfield also will give the rest of the mall a makeover as well.

Callison Architecture is designing the improvements. The project will result in a new entrance, new restaurants with outdoor seating and a new movie theatre. Among the upgrades to the existing enclosed mall will be additional escalators and a new Westfield Family Lounge with private family-style restrooms, mother’s nursing area and plasma screen televisions with child-friendly programming.

The goal is, of course, to enhance the center’s appeal and, thereby, increase sales. In its mid-year report, Westfield cited strong sales growth led by a 3.1% increase at its West Coast assets. Specialty retail sales at its properties averaged $470 per sf through the first half of the year while average rent was up 5.2% to $44.24 per sf.

A source with Westfield tells GlobeSt.com that the company is in the design phase and has yet to submit plans to the city for approval. The company does not expect any problems obtaining approvals, however, because the addition will not result in more square footage.

Westfield, which has interest in 120 shopping centers worldwide, also is repositioning its Southcenter property in Tukwila, WA, near Seattle. The $250-million project will add 400,000 sf of retail space to the 1.3-million-sf mall.

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