How do you bring a dead mall back to life?

Santa Monica Place Santa Monica, California


  • Retail
  • Repositioning


537,112 SF
A Landmark Revival

Santa Monica Place is a large-scale urban retail center in a world-class location with enviable demographics. Known by consumers for its smart merchandising mix, chef-inspired restaurants and state-of-the-art-parking system, Santa Monica Place sets the standard as an innovative model for reviving malls in decline. Our team developed a design solution that connected Santa Monica Place with the 3rd Street Promenade while reinvigorating this once-popular mall. OMNIPLAN served as Executive Architect and collaborated with Design Architect, JERDE, out of Los Angeles.

Santa Monica Place Before Picture Santa Monica Place Before Picture

Breaking Through the Barrier

Well-situated between two celebrated downtown attractions, this 10-acre site neighbors the Third Street Promenade shopping district, and also the iconic Santa Monica Pier. Until 2010, the pedestrian experience from the Promenade to the Santa Monica Pier was interrupted by the Gehry-designed mall that reflected the completely enclosed retail style of its time. Particularly out of sync with Santa Monica’s lively outdoor culture, it created a dead-end effect that turned visitors away.

Santa Monica Place is a case study in bringing dead malls back to life.

Rethinking the Mall -- Redevelopment of Santa Monica Place Weaves Mall into Urban Fabric, Retail Remix
  • 92% Construction Waste Recycled
  • 3.6M lbs. of CO2 Greenhouse Gas Reductions
  • 202 Homes Powered
  • 3,864 Barrels of Oil Conserved
A Mall Outing

Shoppers can get anything online, except sunshine, fresh-air and the inspired energy from Santa Monica Beach. Experiences give shoppers a reason to leave the house, and the Santa Monica community quickly supported turning the Gehry-designed mall inside-out.

    Extending the Pedestrian Network

    Today’s Santa Monica Place is capitalistic in its station—using its hub-and-spoke design to extend the pedestrian network. Via four open-air entrances, Santa Monica Place facilitates an uninterrupted walkable experience throughout four full blocks of this intimate seaside community.

    Turning the Mall Inside-Out

    Santa Monica Place epitomizes thinking “outside the box”—removing its roof was the first step toward its radical transformation. On the ground level, an elliptical design shapes its signature element, the “Grand Plaza”. And above the Grand Plaza, two levels of retail have offset orientation to maximize sunlight throughout the property. Santa Monica Place now offers a lifestyle experience that reflects the culture and character of Santa Monica.

    Social Sustainability

    Broadening its urban horizons while lengthening its vertical design, the Dining Deck on the third level has pioneered social sustainability—offering views of the Pacific Ocean, Palisades Park and the Santa Monica Mountains, which have traditionally been reserved for limited-access hotels and restaurants. Against a backdrop of its regional landscape, the roof-top dining terrace offers plentiful seating options, cabana-style lounges and an outdoor fireplace, where visitors can enjoy a mix of chef-driven cuisines or grab-and-go food.


See how our projects live after we leave

A Green Anchor

Using green-building strategy to renovate the mall was a natural fit—aesthetically, functionally, and culturally. Especially given the context of its seaside community, the Santa Monica Place redevelopment invigorated an environmental consciousness that put becoming LEED Certified within reach. Becoming LEED Gold Certified is a top-of-mind achievement that distinguishes this property—underscoring its transformation from a bunker-like enclosed mall into an open-air commercial plaza.


  • 2013 VIVA Design & Development Award
    2013 VIVA Design & Development Award International Council of Shopping Centers
  • 2012 Best High-Street Retail Real Estate Development
    2012 Best High-Street Retail Real Estate Development MAPIC
  • 2012 Gold Sustainability Award
    2012 Gold Sustainability Award International Council of Shopping Centers
  • 2012 Gold Design & Development Award
    2012 Gold Design & Development Award International Council of Shopping Centers
  • 2011 Creative Vision Award
    2011 Creative Vision Award Otis College of Art & Design
  • 2010 Best Retail Project
    2010 Best Retail Project LA Business Journal
  • Site Plan, Santa Monica Place
    Site Plan, Santa Monica Place
  • Site Plan, Santa Monica Place
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