Westminster poised to redevelop 100-acre mall

Plan for the 1972-built indoor shopping center includes 3K homes

Westminster Mayor Mayor Tri Ta with Westminster Mall (Tri Ta for Assembly, Google Maps, Getty)
Westminster Mayor Mayor Tri Ta with Westminster Mall (Tri Ta for Assembly, Google Maps, Getty)

Westminster has hatched a plan to turn its 100-acre shopping mall into 3,000 homes and 1.2 million square feet of shops and restaurants.

The City Council voted to support a specific plan to guide a makeover of the 48-year-old mall at 1025 Westminster Mall, the Orange County Register reported.

The plan will guide proposals from four unidentified property owners for the 1.2 million-square-foot indoor mall along the 405 Freeway at Bolsa Avenue and Edwards Street..

The north Orange County city aims to build 3,000 apartments in mixed-use complexes across the mall’s vast parking lot, of which 10 percent would be affordable.

The revamped mall would include a minimum of 600,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, and up to 1.2 million square feet of retail.

Building heights would be limited to three or four stories near the local streets, which are next to single-family neighborhoods, and could rise up to 10 stories near the 405 Freeway.

The middle of the development would include housing, hotels, office buildings, medical offices and nearly 10 acres of parks, as well as promenades and biking and walking paths.

“We have housing, hotel, retail – I don’t know what else that we need,” Mayor Tri Ta said. “I think this is a great opportunity.”

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“We all have dreamed of having a downtown,” Councilman Carlos Manzo added. “This can be our downtown.”

The Westminster Mall opened in 1974 on what had once been the world’s largest goldfish farm, with a May Co., Sears and Buffums, followed by a J.W. Robinsons. The mall, remodeled in 2008, now includes a JCPenny, Macy’s and Target.

In July, Irvine-based Shopoff Investments paid $46.3 million to buy the former Sears at the Westminster Mall, which includes a now-vacant store and 14.1-acres of the retail center.

The city began to outline a plan for a mall makeover in 2018, but was slowed by the onset of the pandemic.

A revamp of the mall would follow the redevelopment of malls across Southern California and the nation, as the retail market shifts to e-commerce. Experts estimate that one in five of the more than 1,000 U.S. malls will remain as malls, with many converted into retail-housing villages.

Across Southern California, developers are eying mall makeovers in Redlands, San Bernardino, Woodland Hills, Northridge, Panorama City, Whittier and Baldwin Hills.

— Dana Bartholomew

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