The Westfield Valencia Town Center mall in Santa Clarita may be heading for a zombie gate.

The city is preparing for the possibility that the 31-year-old indoor mall at 24201 West Valencia Boulevard may be nearing the end of its life cycle, The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reports.

Anticipating the imminent sale of the mall property by Paris-based Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, the city of Santa Clarita placed an ad in a newspaper calling for a public meeting next month to solicit comments on the Valencia city center website.

It asked the public to “help us develop a long-term vision for our city’s reimagined downtown” on May 4.

The one-million-square-foot mall opened in 1992 as Valencia Town Center and has 114 stores, according to its website. The 53-acre mall has six anchor tenants, including Macy’s, JCPenney, Forever 21, Cinemacenter Cinema, H&M and Gold’s Gym.

In April 2021, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield canceled a $100 million plan to replace its defunct Sears anchors with Costcos, gyms and luxury movie theaters.

In January, The Signal reported that the French mall operator defaulted on a $195 million loan related to its Santa Clarita property. The company said it was working with lenders.

Santa Clarita officials pointed to the company’s divestiture of its U.S. mall assets from New York to Woodland Hills as a precursor to the sale of Westfield Valencia Town Centre. In January, URW sold its 1.5 million-square-foot mall in Arcadia for $538 million.

“So, I expect the mall will have a new owner, and that could happen soon,” Jason Crawford, director of community development for the city of Santa Clarita, told Signal. “Probably within the next month or two.”

Referring to the public meeting, Crawford said the city wants to give the next developer who might take over the property an understanding of what the city needs based on input from residents.

The city’s so-called downtown is the area around Magic Mountain and McBean Parkways and Valencia Avenue, which includes a mall, the former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Station, a library, a courthouse and a Regal movie theater. It is zoned for a mixed-use residential and commercial development.

— Dana Bartholomew

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