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Call it a sign of the times - a shopping mall being converted into offices for a technology company.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Google has decided to lease almost all of the Westside Pavilion, “once one of the city’s premier shopping venues and a cultural touchstone for generations of Angelenos, appearing in movies, television shows and music videos.”

Google, the story says, “will lease nearly all of the mall, which fell on hard times and is being made over, as it further expands its presence in Los Angeles. The company will occupy 584,000 square feet of the prominent Pico Boulevard center, which owner Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. announced it is renovating into a stylish office complex with street-to-rooftop windows.

“The property has been renamed One Westside as part of its radical renovation, which has been budgeted for as much as $360 million before Google starts adding its own improvements … Planned improvements by architecture firm Gensler announced Tuesday include exterior terraces and patios with 15-foot-wide folding glass walls intended to create an indoor-outdoor environment for Google’s workers. It will have a rooftop garden deck and a bridge to the mall’s surviving movie theater.

“The 12-screen Landmark Theatres complex will remain in the reconfigured complex, as will the Westside Tavern restaurant and other shops mostly on the ground floor along Pico and Westwood boulevards.

“The outdoor parking lot on the south side of One Westside will be converted to landscaped park-like space where Google employees can work or relax outside of the office.”

It is not the first iconic piece of property that Google has taken over in the area - last year, in Playa Vista, Google transformed an airplane hangar built by Howard Hughes for the Spruce Goose “into a high-tech outpost to serve its ambitions to become a leading producer of Hollywood content on its YouTube platform.”
KC's View:
It won’t be every mall in every community, but this certainly illustrates a broader trend - that legacy business models are fading away, sometimes fast and sometimes slow, but often inevitably as consumer interests and desires change.

There’s a new mall being built a few miles from my house that going to have a Nordstrom and a Bloomingdales and heaven knows what else, but it seems like a fairly traditional use of shopping space that strikes me as being almost obsolete even before a store has been opened (which may not happen for another year). I think there is room for new commercial development - there’s a mixed use development that will be built in my town that is innovative in vision, creating a kind of small, almost urban center in a suburban locale that I think will be extremely attractive and successful. But it strikes me as a tomorrow approach, not a yesterday approach.

The Google-Westside Pavilion story tells that yesterday is pretty much over.