WOODLAND HILLS—On September 10, Yossi Kviatkovsky, the owner of the Woodland Hills sports bar, The Rack, filed a breach-of-contract suit against the Westfield Corporation for allowing the Promenade Mall to fall into what Kviatkovsky calls “a state of chaotic disrepair.”
Canyon News reached out to Kviatkovsky to describe the state of the mall: “It’s dilapidated, it’s a blight…even Westfield took their name off it.” Westfield is one of the largest owners of shopping malls in the country, with 38 malls worldwide, and 18 malls in California alone. “Being associated with Westfield used to be a desirable venue. What we signed up for [ten years ago] was a mall that carried the Westfield name, was 100 percent occupied, was well taken care of [with] security, parking management, everything that we pay for…If you come here now, there are bums, vagrants, homeless everywhere. Pot holes everywhere. The plants in the planters have not been taken care of for a couple of years now,” said Kviatkovsky.
Over the past few years, Westfield has been focusing their efforts on improving their other Warner Center properties. The Westfield Topanga, which was renovated in 2008 and doubled in size, will be adding a “vibrant entertainment district integrating an upscale cinema experience and chic new restaurants” where the newly-closed Sears used to be, according to a March press release. In addition, The Village, a major open-air extension of the Westfield Topanga, is set to open this weekend. As far as future plans for the Promenade, Westfield has largely been silent.
The 42-year-old Promenade Mall is only 30 percent occupied, according to the LA Daily News. Two of the mall’s anchor tenants, a pair of Macy’s stores, closed earlier this year. Since then, Kviatkovsky says that “it’s a million degrees different…the blight multiplied.” Westfield has also purchased the AMC movie theater at the Promenade Mall, which used to be owned by EPR Properties. The aforementioned press release mentioned that Westfield has acquired the site of the Macy’s stores and regarding their future, it says they will “consider a range of prospects and alternatives over time.”
Kviatkovsky can’t wait for those prospects and alternatives to be considered, which is why he filed the lawsuit. “I need to relocate. They put me in a position where I can’t sell the place. I’ve [made] offers, but nobody will take it,” he explains. “I have 10 years left on my lease, and in the condition that the mall is in, they’re preventing me from selling it. I’ve invested an awful lot of money and I can’t get a dime out of it, because nobody’s interested. Nobody would be interested. It would be crazy.”