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Tenancy up at Town Center

Local Westfield mall sits at 5 percent uncommitted vacancy

Posted: August 15, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 15, 2013 2:00 a.m.
The Shops at the Patios at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.  The Shops at the Patios at the Westfield Valencia Town Center. 
The Shops at the Patios at the Westfield Valencia Town Center. 

An improving economy has helped drive more leases to shopping malls such as Santa Clarita’s Westfield Valencia Town center.

The average vacancy rate at U.S. malls by the end of the second quarter was 8.3 percent, down from 8.9 percent a year ago, and the lowest level in more than four years, according to research firm Reis Inc.

The local Westfield mall, however, “sits at 5 percent uncommitted vacancy,” said a spokesperson for the retail center.
The lower vacancy rate comes despite the fact that Westfield opened an additional 250,000 square feet of space at The Patios in 2010, bringing the total square footage of the mall to 1.1 million square feet of retail space.

The mall has also attracted a large number of new tenants this year: Art of Shaving, Keene LA, Bella Pierre, Divine Boutique, Cathy Jean, Charming Charlie, Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill, Thelma & Luis Café, Icing and El Caballero.

And more are coming.

“We also have Lorna Jane, Tornado Fries, Pink, Free People, Hawaiian Pacific Grill, Gold Elements, Lyfe Kitchen and Project Pie coming soon,” said the spokesperson.

The average vacancy rate at all types of retail centers in the second quarter fell to its lowest level in more than three years to 10.5 percent, down from 10.6 percent in the first quarter, reported Reis.

Second-quarter average asking rent increased 0.3 percent to $19.19 a square foot from $19.13 in the first quarter, the firm said.

While Westfield declined to state what its average lease rates are, “terms have definitely lengthened,” said the spokesperson.

The shopping mall has also ceased offering “short term, test pop up stores” like it did earlier.

In September 2012 retailer Unique Vintage opened on Town Center Drive, next to the Pottery Barn, with only a 10-month lease, as a test of the local market for the vintage women’s clothing line.

At the time, owner Katie Echeverry, with stores in Burbank and Huntington Beach, said she had been able to negotiate a great lease, resulting in minimal risk if the business failed to take off locally.

The top nine markets ranked by lowest vacancy rate are in California or the New York area suburbs, Reis reported.




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