A 25-year-old shopping and dining complex near Marina del Rey is getting a modern makeover, complete with a new fitness center and dine-in movie theater, while retaining some longtime tenants.

Built in 1986, the Marina Marketplace portion on the north side of Maxella Avenue in Del Rey has been showing its age for some time, as other parts of the shopping complex across the street and nearby retail centers have since been modernized. The 210,000-square foot complex, which has had few structural changes since its construction, has also seen some long-term tenants relocate in recent years.

Hoping to give the aging center a much needed upgrade and attract some new retail concepts to the area, property owner RREEF Real Estate is in the midst of a renovation project at Marina Marketplace, along the north side of Maxella.

The remodel includes a 30,000-square foot Equinox health club, a new AMC “dine-in” theater and about 40,000 square feet of new restaurants, with Gelson’s supermarket and Sport Chalet remaining at the site. The property owner is in discussions with existing tenants for the retail space, but Laurie Stites, Marina Marketplace general manager, said the owner hopes to re-work the retail mix to better match the needs of the surrounding community.

“In the same way that the physical aspects of Marina Marketplace will undergo an upgrade, the future occupants of the center will form a critical mass of entertainment and lifestyle offerings that will make it the place to go in Marina del Rey for dining, health and entertainment,” Stites said. “Marina del Rey’s residents are increasingly urban, affluent and active, and this center will fit this lifestyle.”

Noting the property’s location in close proximity to Marina del Rey and the beach, project developers said the focus of the renovation is to create an entertainment and lifestyle hub for local residents, offering amenities within walking and biking distance.

“This center primarily draws visitors from its immediate surrounding area, so the vision is to create a retail center that reflects and supports an active and vibrant outdoor lifestyle,” Stites said.

The new additions come as a section of the marketplace along Glencoe Avenue, including businesses like Pavilions and CVS pharmacy, has seen a modern design touch-up, and a new 244-unit mixed-use development is being built on the south side of Maxella Avenue. The $110 million development known as “Stella” will consist of two modern mid-rise buildings above 9,000 square feet of retail space.

The proposed renovation of the Marina Marketplace has received the support of the Del Rey Neighborhood Council’s Planning, Land Use and Transportation Committee and the project is scheduled to be heard by the full board Thursday, Feb. 9. Some Del Rey residents have praised the remodel design, saying it will give the decades-old shopping center a more modern feel.

“Aesthetically, it’s going to be beautifully designed and it definitely needed that,” said Del Rey resident Marlene Savage, who lives close to the project site. “The area was becoming very run down and out of date, and this is going to definitely upgrade our area.”

Savage pointed out that several restaurants had left the center due to the new Stella development, but with new restaurants and stores coming in it can help create a more walkable community.

Stites said project managers are pleased to be receiving support from the community on the redesign.

“The center is not a regional draw, we are a local enterprise, and as such, we are very much a partner with the surrounding community, which means their support is essential to the success of our repositioning,” she said.

Among the key new features is the 34,318-square foot AMC dine-in theater, which will replace another movie theater and reduce the number of seats from 1,800 to 630. The concept combines restaurant cuisine and cocktails with the traditional movie experience. The new auditoriums will feature upgraded seating, advance reserved seating and seat-side service, according to AMC.

“We are excited to bring the first AMC dine-in theater to the Southern California area at Marina Marketplace,” said Mark McDonald, executive vice president of global development for AMC. “Our success with this concept in other markets is indicative of our ability to take the dinner and a movie idea to the next level.”

As part of the remodel, the escalators will be replaced and relocated to be more pedestrian friendly, and more common area open space will be created, primarily on the second level. In addition, the parking garage will get new lighting, bike lockers and a valet area will be installed on the ground level, and the entrance from the parking garage will be upgraded to allow for a more inviting arrival to the center, Stites said.

Equinox is scheduled to open in the first quarter of this year, while the AMC theater and remaining new tenants are slated to open in the fourth quarter of the year.

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