Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Westfield Solano Mall Considers Expansion

Westfield Solano Mall Considers Expansion
By Nathan Halverson

FAIRFIELD - Westfield Solano mall may soon begin a growth spurt on par with many of its teenage patrons.

Developers with parent company, Westfield Corp., submitted plans to the city of Fairfield to increase the mall's size by roughly 150,000 square feet - about the area of three football fields.

The expansion would add about 10 percent more leaseable space to the mall's current one million square feet. The proposed addition would occur between Sears and Macy's on both floors of that wing. It would also include a one-level parking structure.

In addition, 24-Hour Fitness is considering building a new club on the site of the former Solano Mall Cinema 6, which is now vacant. The club would be about 21,000 square feet and includes a swimming pool, according to plans filed with the city.

Under this proposal, the former cinema would be torn down.

Also proposed is a full-service car wash, which would be about a 9,000-square-foot facility. Entry to the car wash would be from the mall's internal road system.

Brian Miller, with the city's planning and development department, stressed the projects were not finalized.

"It's likely this may change a lot," he said.

As previously reported, the Westfield developers plan on refurbishing the interior of the mall, including new flooring, added skylights and signs, and a new sound system.

Keith Kaplan, development director with Los Angeles-based Westfield Corp., has been working with the city to re-brand the mall, adding new signs outside and creating a mall theme.

The proposed theme consists of four parts: Flight, winery, market and fair. Each quadrant of the mall will have one of the themes and a correlating color scheme.

Westfield Solano general manager Monty Stephens referred calls to Kaplan, who didn't return calls seeking comment.

Patrice Duker, a spokeswoman with New York-based International Council of Shopping Centers, said stronger branding and redevelopments are a growing trend in malls.

"If there is one trend we've seen in 2005, it's seeing reinvestment by owners and developers in their existing malls," she said.

Increased competition is the driving factor behind the renovations, she said.

Malls are adding amenities and services that attract potential customers to the area. A fitness center would be such a draw, Duker said.

"Say someone who is going into a gym, the hope is they will shop at the mall," she added.

Reach Nathan Halverson at 425-4646 ext. 267 or

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