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Mall giant Macerich gets Paseo Nuevo role

By   /   Sunday, May 3rd, 2009  /   Comments Off on Mall giant Macerich gets Paseo Nuevo role

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The Paseo Nuevo shopping center, which draws shoppers, tourists and retailers alike to downtown Santa Barbara, is under new management after investors agreed to a contract with Macerich to oversee the 438,000-square-foot property.

Santa Monica-based Macerich, which also operates the nearby La Cumbre Plaza, The Oaks in Thousand Oaks and the Pacific View Mall in Ventura, said its previous experience in Santa Barbara and knowledge of iconic California communities will benefit Paseo Nuevo.

“This new contract stems from a recognition of our company’s expertise in maximizing the appeal of properties that blend a strong tourism market with a vibrant local trade area, as Paseo Nuevo does,” Michael Busenhart, senior vice president of acquisitions for Macerich, said in a release.

Phil Vise, vice president of marketing for Macerich, told the Business Times that the third-party management contract is expected to take effect May 1 and does not affect mall ownership. It will, however, allow the management company to give the 19-year-old shopping center a bit of a facelift — La Cumbre style.

“There may be some changes in the near-term, but for the long run, we’re working closely with our team to enhance the retailer mix and bring more leasing opportunities,” Vise said. “From our perspective, it’s a wonderful complement to the [La Cumbre Plaza] and we want to cultivate that. We see great synergy there.”

Vise would not divulge details as to exactly what changes Paseo Nuevo may undergo now that Macerich is managing the property.

The 492,000-square-foot La Cumbre Plaza, located several miles up State Street from Paseo Nuevo, has landed upscale retailers such as Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Coach and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, all in the past two years. Macerich officials are continually working to update and upgrade La Cumbre Plaza, turning it from a shopping afterthought to a chic destination.

“If you look at the stores in La Cumbre Plaza, they’re not entirely upscale,” said Alice Love, senior marketing manager for both the La Cumbre Plaza and the Pacific View Mall. “We do feel that we’re bringing a well-balanced retail mix.”

The 438,000-square-foot Paseo Nuevo offers nearly 50 shops and restaurants to visitors, including anchors Nordstrom and Macy’s, as well as the Paseo Nuevo Cinemas, the Contemporary Arts Forum and Center Stage Theater.

“Merchandising both properties provides us with a larger canvas and an even better opportunity to help retailers connect with their brands’ targeted shoppers in the highly desirable Santa Barbara market,” Michael Guerin, assistant vice president of leasing, said in the release.

The management contract at Paseo Nuevo was previously held by Los Angeles-based Madison Marquette, a joint owner in the property with J.P. Morgan. Institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management Global Real Assets selected Macerich to manage the shopping center.

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