Bloomingdale's Creative VP Jack Hruska doesn't mince words about the old Santa Monica Place: it was "an eyesore of a building." The fortress-like structure has been revamped (to the tune of $265 million), and Bloomingdale's has replaced Macy's as the center's anchor department store. Hruska, who completely designed the interior layout and aesthetic of the Santa Monica Bloomingdale's, spoke like a proud papa with the Huffington Post at the sneak preview of the new store:
There's an incredibly eclectic feel to the store. We used materials like cement, raw cement mixed with white, warm wood mixed with luxe materials - a combination of interesting textures that makes it feel unique. And I tried very hard to make it feel like Southern California, and very much like Santa Monica. There's incredibly unique things to this store that we've never done before.
Santa Monica Place sits at the south end of very successful 3rd St. Promenade (LA Times reported the Prom's retail sales at $1,000/square foot, while old Santa Monica Place sold $400/square foot). The shopping mall has been renovated to open up to the foot traffic that the Promenade generates. Hruska raved about the "pedestrian engagement" and the "urban setting" the new design encouraged, and we jokingly reminded him that Santa Monica shoppers sometimes like to bring their dogs along with them. Would canine customers also be allowed to enjoy Bloomingdale's lavish new digs? "Dogs are always welcome at Bloomingdale's, always. Any store we have. We love dogs. In fact, we should - that's a good point - probably put out a couple of dog watering bowls. And it's a cement floor, so what the heck?"