Macerich, owner of Santa Monica Place, has announced that the new open-air retail and dining destination under construction in Santa Monica is slated to open in mid-2010.

Bob Aptaker, vice president of development for Macerich, gave a briefing Thursday, February 12th, regarding the status of the signature dining deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Pier’s Ferris wheel, which he says promises a spectacular view both day and night.

Santa Monica Place — a $265-million renovation project consisting of 550,000 square feet — is expected to open in mid-2010 with the completion of the anchor stores, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.

Bloomingdale’s, whose parent company is Macy’s, Inc., will replace the existing Macy’s.

The third-floor dining deck will include “chef-driven” restaurant concepts and casual service choices, as well as ample public spaces, according to Macerich officials.

An enclosed food court with an open-air outside dining deck — elevated three-and-a-half feet for enhanced views — will have a six-foot glass wall to shelter diners from Pacific Ocean breezes.

The open common area will have a community fireplace and landscaping that includes a specimen tree in a planter. An express elevator will allow patrons of the dining deck immediate access from the first floor to the third floor.

Ann Singleton, Macerich vice president for leasing, announced another set of retailers and dining establishments that plan to join those businesses that are already committed to the project.

“The 11 new retail and restaurants totaling more than 34,500 square feet include Ed Hardy, the tattoo-inspired fashion concept; LTJ Arthur, the first California location for the French concept focused on chic family homeware and beachwear; R.O.C. Republic of Couture, a South Beach-inspired boutique featuring designer brands; Ilori, offering luxury sunglasses; Love Culture, featuring on-trend fashions for young women; Shuz, a purveyor of high-comfort footwear brands; Michael Brandon, a Los Angeles-based men’s sportswear collection; and Artevo, an innovative, technology-driven art gallery,” said Singleton.

The three new restaurants for the third-level dining deck include two concepts from nationally recognized restaurateur Richard Sandoval — Zengo, which offers eclectic Latin-Asian cuisine, and La Sandia, an upscale modern Mexican concept; and Pizza Antica, a sophisticated concept from Northern California specializing in hand-made pizzas and other Italian fare, said Singleton.

“We’re so pleased that the merchandise mix we’re creating at Santa Monica Place reflects the balance we’ve always had in mind, and seems to be just right for shoppers in and around Santa Monica,” she said.

“From boutiques you won’t find anywhere else to terrific dining with a view on our dining deck, to the first Bloomingdale’s SoHo concept outside Manhattan, Santa Monica Place is emerging as a destination unlike any place else on the Westside.”

Doug Roscoe, senior property manager for Macerich, added, “The project has taken on great momentum. Santa Monica gets its identification from the beach, and there are few dining opportunities with this type of spectacular view.”

Santa Monica Place originally opened in 1980 and was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry.

The shopping center’s design architect is The Jerde Partnership, of Venice, and Dallas-based Omniplan is the executive architect.

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