Santa Monica Place celebrates grand opening

SANTA MONICA, Calif. Instead of a ribbon-cutting ceremony, since Santa Monica is a coastal community, beach balls were thrown out to the crowd.

The old Santa Monica Place was closed in 2008. The mall was rebuilt into an open-air mall, with high-end stores including /*Bloomingdale's*/, Barneys Co-op, Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Kitson.

A Nordstrom store is scheduled to open in the three-level shopping center Aug. 27. Tiffany & Co. will open in September.

"Santa Monica is a no brainer. It always needed high-end, it deserved it, and it was time that it came on, no matter what the economy is," Intiaz Tar, owner of Bernini.

The cost to renovate the 524,000-square-foot mall was $265 million. According to mall management, around 2,000 jobs have been created.

The mall, located at Third Street and Broadway Street, also features a food court on the third floor with a beautiful ocean view.

"It exceeded our expectations. It looks fantastic," said Jallen Theil of Santa Monica. "We think it's great for the neighborhood, and for all the other business on the promenade as well."

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