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The Westside Pavilion Caters to Pure Shopper

The most architecturally striking of the Westside malls, this John Jerde-designed shopping center scored a major coup when it nabbed Los Angeles’ first Nordstrom, the undisputed king of customer service, as one of its anchor stores.

And while Nordstrom is the big attraction in the eyes of many shoppers, the benefits seem to flow in both directions. The Westside Pavilion store boasts the highest sales per square foot of any store in the Nordstrom chain, according to Iris J. Callie, vice president for leasing for the mall’s owner, Westfield Inc.

Pavilion management officials recently strove to make it the mall of choice among young couples with children by adding numerous toy and children’s clothing stores. For many customers it’s a one-stop shopping center, because it also has a Vons supermarket next to the May Co., its other anchor.

The center also boasts several popular fast-food restaurants and three movie theaters, although mall spokesmen say that the center places less emphasis on entertainment than competitors such as the Beverly Center and Century City Shopping Center.

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“Ours is more for the pure shopper,” said Robert J. Murray, executive vice president of Westfield Inc. “We’re not an entertainment center. Our emphasis is on servicing basic needs.”

Although Westside Pavilion wins praise for its bright facade and atrium (Jerde was the design director of the 1984 Summer Olympics), customers bemoan the heavy traffic they must often fight to get there and the poorly designed labyrinthine parking structure that awaits them when they do.

“Parking is a horrible problem,” said Karen Parker, a 32-year-old Nordstrom devotee who lives in Pacific Palisades. “It makes me not come sometimes. In fact, I’ve come here and then left because there’s no place to park.”

The parking dilemma is made worse by the prevalence of parking by permit only in the surrounding neighborhood.

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A well-publicized mall expansion plan will add 1,000 new parking spaces and 91,000 square feet of shopping across Westwood Boulevard, connected to the existing complex by a 43-foot-wide, two-tier bridge for cars and pedestrians. This should ease the parking crunch, but the project has also fanned complaints by residents and environmentalists. They contend that the expansion is driven more by marketing than by architecture and that the expansion will only put a Band-Aid on the parking ailment.

This year for the first time, complimentary valet parking was offered during the holiday shopping season.

In 1989, the Westside Pavilion ranked ninth in total sales among Los Angeles County’s 45 largest shopping malls. On a sales-per-square-foot basis, it is one of the region’s top performers.

WESTSIDE PAVILION, WEST LOS ANGELES

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Year opened: 1985

Retail square footage: 664,000

Anchor stores: Nordstrom, May Co.

Number of stores: 153

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Memorable feature: Central atrium


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