The new plan to revamp Montclair Plaza after first fizzles

MONTCLAIR >> After years of declining traffic at Montclair Place, its owner will make a second stab at coming up with a way to attract people back after a 2015 announced reboot stalled.

The new plan will focus less on shopping and more on eating and entertainment, and even housing and offices, said Montclair City Manager Ed Starr, who broke the news last week. He also said a deal to bring a movie multiplex is near.

The aging and highly visible mall off the 10 Freeway was built in 1968 as a single-story shopping center. The second floor was added in 1985, and the center underwent interior renovations in 2008, just as the Great Recession was ramping up.

It was the combination of the economic downturn, the rise in online shopping and the lure of outdoor shopping mecca Victoria Gardens, which opened in 2004, that plotted against any unassisted comeback, Starr said.

“It’s dying here,” said Darlene Gonzales, 46, of Ontario, who was visiting the mall Tuesday with her daughter.

The old plan

CIM Group, which owns and manages the Hollywood and Highland shopping center, bought the mall for a reported $170 million in 2014. A year later, the notoriously private company changed the name ever-so-slightly, from Montclair Plaza to Montclair Place, and developed a strategy to make it more like regional favorite Victoria Gardens, eyeing a late 2017 grand reopening.

The scrapped plan called for outdoor “lifestyle” shopping on the south side of the mall, city officials said at the time….

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