Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza mall to reopen Thursday

The giant South Coast Plaza retail center will reopen Thursday, June 11 with at least 110 merchants participating.

The Costa Mesa center, which closed March 16 due to coronavirus concerns, had planned to reopen June 1 after California eased its stay-at-home orders, allowing indoor malls to open. The mall’s plans for a restart were postponed because of protests in Costa Mesa supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and George Floyd, a black man killed in police custody in Minnesota.

“South Coast Plaza is reopening with the highest standards for cleanliness in the industry based on advice from public health officials and top industrial hygienists,” said a statement from the mall released on Wednesday, June 10.

Those efforts include “installing a state-of-the-art air treatment system, implementing social distancing practices, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces frequently throughout the center.”

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The mall, known for its collection of high-end boutiques, will be a different place after reopening. Masks will be required to enter, following city and county guidelines. And there will be reduced operating hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday; noon to 7 p.m. on Sundays. The center also is asking that two hours at opening be reserved on Mondays and Saturdays for the at-risk community trying to avoid exposure to COVID-19.

Roughly half the stores will be open. South Coast Plaza says “over 110 boutiques” will initially reopen, including anchors such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Apple, according to a list created by the mall. SCP says it has 250 boutiques and 30 restaurants.

South Coast Plaza reopens in the middle of a harsh environment for big shopping centers. Many shoppers are skittish about their finances and are wary of being out in public. Numerous retailers are financially weak.

And mall giant Simon Properties today walked away from a $3.6 billion deal to buy smaller competitor Taubman.

Real estate analysts at Green Street Advisors recently noted that mall operators face rents falling by at least 20% with “retailer profitability and rent-paying ability impaired for years following the pandemic” and “more than half of all mall-based department stores will close by the end of ’21.”