Panorama of the center square of Westfield UTC
|Location||University City, San Diego, California|
|Address||4545 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92122|
|Developer||The Hahn Company|
|No. of stores and services||199 (as of 2020)|
|No. of anchor tenants||9 (8 open, 1 vacant)|
|Total retail floor area||1,066,842 ft²|
Westfield UTC (formerly known as University Towne Centre) is an open-air shopping mall located in the University City community of San Diego, California built in 1977. It lies just east of La Jolla, near the University of California, San Diego campus. It is owned – except for the ex-Sears parcel – by the Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. Its anchors include Macy's, Nordstrom and a 14-screen Arclight Cinema.
Ernest W. Hahn first proposed building UTC in 1972. Upon opening in 1977, the anchor stores were Robinson's (later Robinsons-May), The Broadway (now Macy's), and Sears. In 1984, Nordstrom, 31 new stores, and new parking structures opened.
In 1998, Westfield bought UTC, except for the parcel owned by Sears. That same year, the Macy's and Robinsons-May locations expanded. J.P. Morgan Investment bought a 50% interest in UTC.
A $12 million remodel in 2007 added grassy areas, trellises with flowering vines, palm trees and fountains, according to UTC in a park-like or "European village" atmosphere, with carts, flowers, fruits and an al fresco food pavilion.”
2010s phased expansion
In 2008, a one-billion-dollar revitalization plan for UTC was approved by the San Diego City Council. However, due to the Late-2000s recession, the revitalization project was put on hold for several years and later reduced to $500 million, but later again revised up to $600 million.
In 2011, the first, $180 million phase of the revitalization commenced: the mall's food court was transformed into an indoor/outdoor Dining Terrace while the former Robinsons-May building was subdivided to house three new retailers: a large-scale Forever 21, a relocated 24 Hour Fitness, a 14-screen ArcLight Cinema, plus Tiffany, J.Crew, and Lululemon stores.
- a new 144,000-square-foot Nordstrom, which opened in October 2017, with the old Nordstrom building to be repurposed or replaced.
- a new parking garage on the west-central side. The UTC Transit Center trolley station will go in at its south end, which will be the northern terminus of the San Diego Trolley's Blue Line extension, scheduled to open in 2021.
- 90 new shops, restaurants and services, of which about a third were open by the end of 2017.
Many new restaurants were added during this period including a Shake Shack and a Javier's. Michele Parente, restaurant critic at the San Diego Union-Tribune, called UTC her favorite area for restaurants in San Diego County, noting the presence of Din Tai Fung, Sweetfin Poké, Paranà Empanadas, Napizza, The Winery, Smokehouse BBQ, True Food Kitchen, and La Colombe Coffee Roasters, stating: "eating is what they're selling there now".
Northeast side/former Sears
While construction continued at the northwest of UTC, on the northeast side, Sears closed in July 2017. The Sears parcel is owned by Seritage Growth Properties, a spinoff of Sears. Portions of the space have become Corner Bakery Cafe, Williams Sonoma/Pottery Barn Kids, and Equinox Fitness, with Crate & Barrel on an outparcel.
Palisades at UTC, a 23-story, 300-unit luxury apartment building located at the southeast corner of the site, opened in 2019.
- Westfield Group - UTC Portfolio
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- San Diego Association of Governments. Mid-Coast Trolley
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