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Major renovations at The Shoppes at Carlsbad are underway as part of Rouse Properties’ plan to revitalize and ignite the North County shopping community. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Rouse Properties begins renovations on mall

CARLSBAD — The purge has begun.

Major renovations at The Shoppes at Carlsbad commenced recently as part of Rouse Properties’ plan to revitalize and ignite the North County shopping community.

Although details of the cost were not disclosed, Rouse CEO Brian Harper said the company is investing “several, several, several millions” into the dilapidated building. Rouse was bought by Brookfield Asset Management earlier this year, but operates independently. Rouse is based in New York City.

The project is a multi-phased upgrade and will include streetscaping, new skylights, and updated exterior and interior, floors, ceilings and lighting and gathering spaces inside and outdoors. Renovations are expected to end in fall 2017.

The previous owner, Westfield, announced several years ago a $300 million upgrade to the mall. However, after extending the facility to include a Regal movie theater and 24-Hour Fitness center, the Australian-based company sold the property to Rouse.

Harper, though, was delighted to land the mall, which he said will become a “diamond” in North County.

“The beauty of this is … we bought A-plus real estate with a building already on top of it,” says Rouse CEO Brian Harper.
“The beauty of this is … we bought A-plus real estate with a building already on top of it,” says Rouse CEO Brian Harper.


“We did a lot of consumer intercept studies and what the citizens of Carlsbad wanted to see,” he explained. “We studied the market, looked up and down the coast … and spent a lot of time in San Diego. We really let the beautiful city of Carlsbad inspire us and that’s when the vision popped in to transpire the end result.”

And while construction just began, Harper said Pizza Press opens next month, while Dave & Buster’s opens in January 2017.

Construction efforts, meanwhile, are being performed during off hours as to avoid conflicting stores in operation during business hours. Currently, crews are working on the east interior portion on the south side of the mall.

“The beauty of this is … we bought A-plus real estate with a building already on top of it,” Harper said. “We thought it was just a tremendous opportunity to take something that was neglected into something that creates a lot of value.”

Harper, though, knows the reputation of The Shoppes and it’s why Rouse spent the past 11 months surveying Carlsbad to align its redesign and upgrades to fit with the feel of the city.

“It was a total team effort,” Harper said. “We bought this from them a year ago. In under a year to create new plans and start construction is a monumental feat.”

In addition to the exterior and interior improvements, Harper said Rouse already has more than dozen new tenants lined up and is adding more restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating.

“We are going to embrace the San Diego weather, but the roof will stay on,” he added. “The modern new design aesthetic will really capture the Carlsbad beach-centric lifestyle.”

Included in those plans are native plants, woven textiles, natural stones and a soft color scheme with light white, mitted grays and soft earth tones complimented by sea blue.

Kyle Godat, general manager of The Shoppes, said the new ceiling will be metal with wood-style coloring, while LED lights will be installed to brighten inside. Hard ceilings will replace the old paneling, while the new skylights will introduce much more natural light.

As for the new businesses coming in, Harper declined to specify due to ongoing lease and contract negotiations.

He did say, however, the failure of Measure A did help in landing numerous retailers to The Shoppes and has landed another 10 businesses not associated with the Caruso Affiliated project.

“A lot of retailers that were thinking of going there have signed leases or are about to sign leases with us,” Harper added. “I think it’s a win-win, obviously for us and the community. In my humble opinion, obviously I’m biased, we didn’t need another center. You can make this truly special with a significant investment and a blue-chip sponsored landlord such as ourselves.”

As for attracting consumers, Harper said renovations are centered on creating a family-friendly atmosphere including a water-inspired play surface near JC Penny.

The biggest asset, though, is the Regal movie theater, which he said is the top performing luxury theater in the state. With such a strong draw, Harper said the goal is capitalize with the upgrades to retain those customers.

“I’m really proud of it,” he said. “I think the community and the residents, I hope, are going to be extremely pleased with the result. We wanted to listen to the consumers and our retail partners and give them what they want.”

CORRECTION: A previous edition of this story said the completion date was in 2018. The Shoppes at Carlsbad will be finished in fall 2017.


Tania Peeva October 25, 2016 at 6:38 pm

So happy that finally someone will start renovations on that mall and I don’t need to drive to Fashion Valley.
Thank you

Al Manzano October 25, 2016 at 4:31 pm

What degraded this mall was the introduction of kiosks and kiddie rides, something that has also lowered the style of the outdoor company stores outlet which once had a giant christmas tree and a fine dining restaurant. It was allowed to get drab and tired looking, grim, not a bright and lively place to shop.. It was depressing to watch the once main focus of shopping in the area go into decline. It continued to serve the community as parking for village fairs and marathons that did not bring it business.

The new theater and gym lack any real sense of style and are shut off from the old mall a disconnect that means the eastern part of the enclosed mall feels dead and abandoned. Design can do a lot to change the spirit of the place and efforts by Penney’s and Macy’s have kept what ever class it had going but they too suffer from the decline in overall quality of the stores that remain open. Keeping it enclosed is a public service as it is the only large open space available anywhere in the area . Much more can be done with skylights and refocusing the two open areas as vibrant centers with quality restaurants and greenery. Let’s hope it works.

Addie October 22, 2016 at 5:58 pm

What is it with Nordstrom’s already? Just so much overpriced crap if you ask me and you can shop online. We already went down that road with the fight over Caruso’s mall. Let’s not start it all over again!

Jen Masine October 21, 2016 at 8:51 pm

I’m glad to keep the roof on, otherwise it’s a “sunglasses and hat on, sunglasses and hat off” like UTC. That’s okay when your kids are little and you want to mix fresh air and sunshine with shopping, but as an adult with young, adult children, it isn’t necessary. I am hoping for a Nordstrom or other upscale store like many other malls have. Carlsbad is a premier coastal town and it certainly deserves an upscale department store. Yes, we are lucky to have The Forum, but we need a store like Nordstrom, etc., as well.

Daniel Ojeda October 21, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Leaving the roof on the mall is a non-starter. Who did they talk with in Carlsbad. Sounds like it will remain a 1970’s outdated mall. I wont be going there.

Ronee October 21, 2016 at 8:58 am

So glad it is being redone finally and am happy you left the roof on and are just adding skylights. We used to spend more time there when it had sit down restaurants. Still hoping Bonefish Grill comes in.

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