UPDATED, May 1, 2:37 p.m.: One of the most valuable malls in the country is hoping it can entice people to live there.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey — considered one of the top 10 shopping malls in the U.S. based on sales — is slated for a major makeover, CNBC reported. That includes adding office space, a residential area, more food options, space for gyms, a hotel and open green space.
“What people are asking from the mall is much more,” than what it was just four years ago, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s U.S. president Jean-Marie Tritant said. “People want convenience … to be able to socialize.”
This mall sees more than 20 million visitors annually, the report said, making it among Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s most productive assets. The company has a portfolio of 92 centers, including Westfield Century City in Los Angeles, and Westfield World Trade Center in New York.
The Garden State renovation comes as mall owners across the country seek to cater to consumers’ changing preferences, which include shopping online and seeking more unique experiences when they shop in person. Amid the shift, retailers have closed hundreds of stores and mall owners have had to find creative uses for empty space. This year, more than 6,000 store closures have been announced — which outnumbers all of 2018.
At Garden State Plaza, renovations include repurposing the space that was formerly a J.C. Penney store and a freestanding Best Buy store on the property. The owner plans to add more chef-based eateries and entertainment options. The new residential space, office building, hotel, public park and open green space will be unveiled in 2022, the report said.
Garden State Plaza is currently anchored by Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Lord & Taylor. The mall includes luxury retailers like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany, it’s also attracted brands like glasses maker Warby Parker, shirt retailer Untuckit, athleisure company Fabletics and cosmetics chain Riley Rose.