Bloomingdale’s hits Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica Place is well under way remodeling, giving their mall a new life this August. Sitting on the corner of 4th and Colorado, the former Broadway was designed by architect Frank Gehry in the 1980s, and has stayed stagnant while the surrounding shopping areas have been spruced up in the years since. Well, until now. Just announced this spring, Bloomingdale’s will replace the space on August 6.
In March, Santa Monica City Council approved the plans to transform the Macy’s into a Bloomingdale’s and just this week the renderings were finally released. Although the building looks like your typical department store, the city believes it could generate a big shift in foot traffic, calling the new center “a gateway to the city” that will enhance the downtown experience.
The building will emulate Bloomingdale’s other recent remodels, such as their store at South Coast Plaza, with attention to glass, lighting, and tile on the exterior. They also plan to open up street entrances to the building, versus the current Macy’s entrance, which requires going inside the mall.
However, the 101,000-square-foot-space is no flagship. Half the size of a traditional store, Michael Gould, Bloomingdale’s chairman and chief executive, believes the small store will give the chain a chance to focus on their specific Santa Monica clientele. He told WWD, “There has to be a sensitivity about how we marry the Bloomingdale’s brand and DNA to the community… It has to relate to the community.”
Although Gould contended there are similarities with the Soho store, he said the New York store only served as a template. “I want them to know this is a store for Santa Monica,” said Gould. There are many indicators that Bloomingdale’s is taking Santa Monica’s “DNA” into consideration, such as the beautiful mural decorating the first floor wall – a glittering mosaic of the Santa Monica Pier. The beach is also brought into the dressing areas, which are designed to look like seaside shacks. Cabanas will serve as a way to designate brands, and Bloomingdale’s hasn’t forgotten about one California classic – surfwear. Brands such as Quicksilver and Volcom will be on display, allowing locals and travelers to pick up the perfect apparel for their day in the beach city.
Jack Hruska, executive vice president of creative services and store design, encountered some obstacles during the redesign. He said, “The challenge was to create a contemporary California aesthetic while still maintaining a very Bloomingdale’s iconic look.” Hruska called the building “a box with no windows” due to the heavy cement concept.
Definitely not your typical Bloomies, the store will be pushing the envelope with their B-Style lab, which keeps shopping experts on call for all their customers. On top of that, everything from fashion shows to yoga classes can be held in their dressing room areas. How so? The dressing rooms are tracked on pulleys, which can be pulled up into the ceiling, thus creating an open 1500-square-foot area. The complete redesign of Santa Monica Place (it'll be sustainable!), which includes this modern twist on an iconic department store, are two great reasons to pull out the debit card and hit LA for the day.