Fashion Valley is getting a resort-style makeover

Fashion Valley rendering
Simon Property Group is investing in cosmetic changes to Fashion Valley, including better landscaping, new lounge areas and more valet areas.
(Courtesy, Simon Property Group)

Operator Simon Property Group will make a multi-million dollar investment in outdoor spaces and landscaping

Fashion Valley is getting a face lift that its long-time operator hopes will entice shoppers to spend more time — and money — at the upscale mall.

Tuesday, Simon Property Group, which holds a 50 percent stake in the property and is responsible for operations, announced a multi-million dollar investment in the outdoor mall famous for its wide selection of luxury fashion boutiques. The goal is to give the 50 year-old facility a resort-like feel, the company said.

First opened in 1969, Fashion Valley was renovated in 1997 with the addition of a second level. The current mall operator, who took over in 2001, is framing the project as the most significant change to the property since the ‘90s, however it did not provide much detail on the scope and scale of its current efforts.

Specifically, the changes will result in more dining options, and should offer shoppers a multitude of ways to lounge in a more inviting environment. Simon will enhance the grounds with better landscaping, water features and seating options. It will also offer new and improved valet areas, along with more personal shopping services.

The project appears to be relatively minor compared to some of the real estate investment trust’s more substantial expenditures elsewhere around the world. In its most recent earnings report, Simon said that its share of costs associated with 30 development projects already in construction totaled $1.8 billion. The company is, for instance, adding an eight-story AC Hotel by Marriott hotel to its Sawgrass Mills outlet mall in Florida.

And, for comparison, Simon rival Westfield has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into major renovations at its UTC mall near La Jolla. The company this summer opened a high-end apartment building, Palisade UTC, in the mall’s parking lot at a cost of $200 million. It also recently completed a $600 million expansion project that introduced new retail and restaurant concepts, kid-friendly amenities and a plethora of lounge spaces.

Simon’s Fashion Valley project could, however, pave the way for a new breed of retailer at the Mission Valley open-air destination. Simon has in recent years expanded its portfolio with investments in e-commerce brands, restaurant groups and even e-sports companies. Most recently, the company announced that it put money into luxury fitness and co-working company Life Time, the bowling and bocce ball restaurant concept Pinstripes and Italian eatery Parm.

Simon Property Group holds an ownership position in 233 properties around the world, including 100 percent stakes in Carlsbad Premium Outlets and Las Americas Premium Outlets. The firm said that occupancy across all its centers was nearly 95 percent at the end of September.

Fashion Valley’s upgrades are expected to be completed in 2021.