Westfield Corporation expanding Escondido mall; to sell Carlsbad location

REGION — Expansion is coming to North County, although it also comes with the unloading of another property.

The Westfield Corporation announced it would sell its Westfield Carlsbad mall to Rouse Properties on Tuesday, and on Wednesday unveiled plans to add a 10-screen movie theater at its Escondido mall.

At the Escondido City Council meeting on Wednesday, city Assistant Planning Director Bill Martin and Westfield’s Vice President of Development Kim Brewer laid out the Australian-based company’s plans for the theater.

Martin said the theater will be constructed on the back end of the mall over the former “duck pond” and will include recliner seating, an outdoor plaza, a shade structure and fire table.

In addition, Westfield will remove its current main sign and replace it with a 28-foot pylon structure adding more visibility to the front of the mall. The theater, meanwhile, will include a 75-foot sign, although much of it is part of the architectural design of the building.

Brewer said discussions are ongoing with an operator of the theater, but declined to disclose the company as both sides are still in negotiations.

Another addition is also coming, as a 35,000 square-foot 24-Hour Fitness gym will be added to the mall by the middle of next year.

“We are happy to get them open,” Brewer said.

Martin, meanwhile, said Westfield has agreed to construct a sidewalk on Beethoven Drive.

As for parking, Martin added the mall would reduce its surplus of spaces by 202, although the center has a capacity for 6,252 after the reduction.

“We added the sidewalk as a condition (of the deal),” he said.

In Carlsbad, meanwhile, Westfield is selling to the New York-based company, which owns the Chula Vista Center, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Westfield’s Associate General Counsel Rory Packer sent a letter to the Carlsbad City Council notifying city officials of the impending sale.

Packer said the deal was expected to close on Oct. 30, although nothing has been finalized, the U-T reported.

The deal was disclosed in an agenda item approved on Tuesday.

The Carlsbad property, which is south of state Route 78, was the subject of an aggressive $300 million facelift, adding a 12-screen movie theater last year and 40,000 square-foot 24-Hour Fitness gym.

The 46-year-old mall also underwent interior and exterior renovations and additional plans were to draw in new businesses.

An email seeking comment from Westfield officials was not returned before press time.

A phone message left with Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall and Carlsbad’s interim City Manager Kathy Dodson were also not returned.

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