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THOUSAND OAKS, CA-The Macerich Co. has slated Oct. 17 as the opening date for the opening of a new two-level, 103,000-sf open-air lifestyle expansion of the one-million-sf Oaks shopping center in this Ventura County community. The Santa Monica, CA-based shopping center REIT is transforming the 30-year-old shopping center from an enclosed mall into a retail and entertainment destination where 23 new stores and restaurants will open this fall.

The new stores and restaurants are expected to open in two phases this fall, followed additional openings of new retailers in 2009. The lower level of the new lifestyle expansion will feature fashion and accessory stores for juniors and young adults, as well as several options for fast-casual dining, while the upper level will feature women’s lifestyle and fashion retailers.

Macerich calls its repositioning of the Oaks property “the first significant changes in the center’s 30-year history.” The openings this fall will follow the Sept. 5 opening of Ventura County’s first Nordstrom, a 138,000-sf store at the Oaks, where Macerich earlier this year opened a new food court and restrooms, an outdoor dining patio and a multi-level parking deck.

Construction on the multi-phase expansion and redevelopment project began in the spring of 2007 at the Oaks, which is located off the Ventura Freeway (Highway 101). Including the new lifestyle expansion, approximately 130,000 sf of new retail space will be added to the center, including the first Muvico Theatres venue on the West Coast. The reconfigured property will feature more than 180 speciality stores upon completion of the project. Its major retailers include Macy’s Women’s, Macy’s Men’s, Home & Children’s, JCPenney and Nordstrom.

Since Macerich began construction on the renovation, 40 retailers have expanded, renovated or opened new stores inside the Oaks. Of those 27 are new stores, including five that are their first Ventura County locations.

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