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Thousand Oaks mall upgrade gets started

February 16, 2007|Gregory W. Griggs | Times Staff Writer

The wrecking ball is in full swing this week on the eastern end of The Oaks shopping center in Thousand Oaks, which is undergoing a $100-million expansion.

Contractors demolished a former Robinsons-May store to make way for a new outdoor retail, dining and entertainment section of the Ventura County shopping center.

But the main attraction for the refurbished mall will be a full-service Nordstrom department store -- the first in the county -- along with a 14-screen movie theater, an open-air marketplace for fashion retailers, and a food court with indoor and outdoor seating.

Among the upcoming tenants that have been announced are Abercrombie Kids, a Guess jeans outlet, J. Crew and Planet Funk, an upscale denim store. The Oaks, now at 1.1 million square feet, is currently anchored by Macy's Women, also set for an expansion, and a JCPenney.

Mall owner Macerich Co. of Santa Monica intends to add nearly 231,000 square feet extending into the current parking lot of The Oaks. The project, which includes upgrades of the shopping center's interior that began Thursday, is scheduled for completion by fall 2008.

"We'll be open sooner than you think," said Randy Brant, the company's senior vice president of development leasing, who spoke at last week's groundbreaking ceremony, which included a gold-painted wrecking ball, music and fireworks.

Thousand Oaks City Manager Scott Mitnick said during the ceremony that the city was pleased to see the renovation and expansion of its shopping center to retain its position as a leading regional retail center.

"We will be looking at how to pay for two more police officers," Mitnick said. "So I turn to Randy and say, 'Make it happen.' "

During the multiyear approval process, city officials estimated that the expansion could produce $900,000 in additional annual sales tax revenue and at least $300,000 in added property taxes. The Oaks currently provides about $2.5 million in annual sales taxes.

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greg.griggs@latimes.com

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