Macerich, the owner of Santa Monica Place, has announced a slate of specialty retailers and “chef-driven” restaurants for the company’s new open-air retail and dining destination under construction in Santa Monica. Santa Monica Place, designed by Frank Gehry and built in 1980, is being completely transformed into a three-level open-air retail destination that will include a rooftop dining deck.

Adjacent to the Third Street Promenade, the 550,000-square-foot Santa Monica Place will comprise three city blocks of retail stores, restaurants and entertainment, said Ann Singleton, vice president of leasing for Macerich.

This is the first major announcement of retailers and restaurants since it was announced that Bloomingdale’s would replace its parent company Macy’s at the new center.

Singleton said the new retail establishments include Kitson, a Los Angeles-based fashion retailer; Coach, an American creator of accessories and gifts; BCBG Max Azria, a contemporary women’s clothing and accessories brand; Joe’s Jeans, known for its denim; True Religion, a denim, sportswear and accessories brand; and Lacoste, a French sportswear brand.

The first two restaurants designated for the project’s “signature” rooftop dining deck include XINO Restaurant + Lounge, classic cuisine created by chef Chris Yeo; and Ozumo, “a San Francisco concept” offering contemporary Japanese fare, noted Singleton.

“Santa Monica is a vibrant, stand-alone market that deserves this level of upscale retailing and fine dining to meet the needs of affluent local consumers, as well as an impressive set of international visitors,” said Singleton. “We know local shoppers appreciate thoughtful collections of great retail, from Montana to Robertson and even Rodeo Drive. We are creating a shopping and dining environment that will take its place alongside these established regional draws,” Singleton said.

Macerich, headquartered in Santa Monica for almost 30 years, wanted a design to complement both the Santa Monica area and the beach atmosphere. The $265 million renovation project is slated for completion by fall next year, with Bloomingdale’s expected to open in 2010.

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