Macerich, the company that owns Santa Monica Place, has completed the entitlement process for its planned redevelopment of the indoor mall after receiving approval for the project from the California Coastal Commission and the Santa Monica Architectural Review Board.

Macerich plans to transform the enclosed traditional mall into a modern open-air retail and dining destination in the heart of downtown Santa Monica, according to company officials.

Current plans are to close Santa Monica Place Thursday, January 31st, and start construction in the spring. The Macy’s department store in the mall will remain open during the construction.

The approval by the California Coastal Commission and the Architectural Review Board came after Santa Monica City Council unanimously approved the mall redevelopment earlier this fall. Macerich officials said the approvals have paved the way for a planned fall 2009 opening for the new Santa Monica Place.

“Next door to the Third Street Promenade and two blocks from the ocean, Santa Monica Place is the best new retail location coming on line in Southern California,” said Randy Brant, executive vice president of real estate for Macerich. “With top retailers, extraordinary design and detail, plus a signature rooftop dining deck with incredible views, the new Santa Monica Place will rival the region’s most successful shopping destinations.

“Bringing a dynamic new shopping environment to Santa Monica is particularly important to our company, which has been headquartered right here in Santa Monica for nearly 30 years.”

The redevelopment project will connect the 550,000-square-foot center with the urban districts that surround it, Macerich officials said. As part of the project, the roof of the existing mall will be removed in an adaptive reuse to make the center a pedestrian-oriented three-level streetscape.

Macerich officials said they expect the Santa Monica Place redevelopment to draw shoppers from other affluent areas such as Marina del Rey and Beverly Hills.