Monday, May 20

Empty Macy’s building to house retail stores again


Village will be home to Ralphs, EXPO Design Center next year

  BRIDGET O’BRIEN/Daily Bruin Senior Staff The vacant
Macy’s building on Weyburn Avenue will be used for new stores such
as Ralphs Fresh Fare and EXPO Design Center.

By Kimberley Ma

Daily Bruin Contributor


Since Macy’s Westwood closed its doors in 1999, the
building on Weyburn Avenue has remained vacant, but will soon house
new retailers.

The announcement that Ralphs Fresh Fare grocery store and EXPO
Design Center will be moving into the village next year was made
Thursday morning in front of the empty Macy’s building.
Councilman Michael Feuer and several Westwood homeowners and
businessmen attended the presentation.

“Both Ralphs and EXPO will be instructive to the future of
Westwood. It will revitalize Westwood the right way and turn the
village into a neighborhood-serving oriented place,” Feuer
said.

Madison Marquette, a Cincinnati-based developer and retail
property manager, gained control of the building earlier this March
from Federated Department Stores, Inc.

The company expects to open a 55,000 square-foot Ralphs Fresh
Fare on the second floor and EXPO Design Center, which will occupy
93,000 square feet, on the first floor in October 2001.

Ralphs Fresh Fare is a specialized format of the Ralphs Grocery
Store, with a wider selection of gourmet products, fresh meats and
produce.

But some students are concerned prices may be too high, since
the grocery store will cater to consumers who shop for gourmet
foods.

“I’d rather have a regular Ralphs because students
are already on a tight budget,” said Quan Phuong, a
fourth-year biochemistry student.

Since Westwood’s birth in 1929, five grocery stores have
opened in the village. Ralphs was the first grocery store that
opened in 1929 and closed in 1962 because it was too small and
didn’t meet the needs of the community, according to UCLA
alumnus and Westwood historian Steve Sann.

The other four grocery stores eventually closed as well. Out of
the five closed stores in Westwood, three were replaced by movie
theaters.

“This will be the first full-service supermarket in
Westwood in over a quarter of a century,” Sann said.
“Not having a full-service market was really a burden to the
community.”

“We are thrilled to be coming back to the village,”
said Patrick Barber, senior vice president of real estate for
Ralphs Fresh Fare. “It has been a long time, but well worth
the wait. It was the village who really cared and who let the
developers know that they wanted us here.”

EXPO Design Center, a division of The Home Depot, is a
full-service interior design store.

“EXPO is highly talked about,” said Dennis Cornwell,
president of the Westwood Business Improvement District, an
organization aimed at promoting businesses in the village.

“I’ve heard about people who have driven all the way
to Monrovia to go there,” he continued.

Barber said sales of the new stores are projected to triple the
income Macy’s brought in before it closed. Members of the
Westwood community expect the stores to attract new tenants into
vacant spaces as well.

Ralphs Fresh Fare and EXPO are aimed at three principal targets:
neighbors that live in the Westwood area, UCLA students and faculty
and office workers around the area.

“I think it’s going to be wonderful,” said
Eileen Sage, a Westwood resident. “It’ll be more
convenient and we won’t have to go such a long way to
shop.”

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