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In for a Penney at Northridge Mall

When a department store company plans on opening only two new units in a given period, you know it’s picking its locations carefully. That’s why JCPenney opted to open one of those rare new stores at Northridge Mall in Salinas, California. Located in Monterey County, 1 million-square-foot, single-level enclosed mall draws from Santa Clara and Santa Cruz County – the largest population base between Los Angeles and San Jose. That’s why Starwood Retail is investing in a multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion to serve those living in and near the “Salad Bowl” of America. (The region produces nearly 80% of the world’s lettuce.)

The legendary retailer will shutter its existing store literally dead center in the mall to open a completely new 126,000-square-foot unit on an even more accessible location. The two-level existing space will be converted to specialty shops and an entertainment function on the second floor, and a new dining and entertainment component is planned. Other new tenants on out parcels include Ulta and DSW.

“Northridge is one of the few places JCPenney is investing in, opening a new unit that will house the largest Sephora in-store shop that side of the Mississippi,” says Naumann Edrees, Vice President of Leasing.

With a young (24% of the population is under age 14) trade area, and healthy healthcare, agribusiness and tourism industries, Salinas is the economic center of the county, attracting businesses relocating from Silicon Valley in search of more affordable housing for their employees.

The Penney relocation is also a perfect example of partnering with the landlord to create an outcome favorable to all: JCPenney will have a contemporary prototype, while Starwood Retail Partners, which acquired Northridge Mall in 2013, can now add a grand court and smaller shops while unifying a project that in effect had been bifurcated by JCPenney as it had expanded over the years. Exterior improvements including façade updates already have been completed.