Planning Commission, public to weigh in on proposed Costco, cinema project

The vacant anchor that was formerly Sears at the Westfield Valencia Town Center was set to house a Costco, before those plans were cancelled in April 2021.

The public will have an opportunity to weigh in at an upcoming hearing at City Hall on a $100-million investment at Westfield Valencia Town Center that proposes to bring a new Costco and several other new businesses.

The Santa Clarita Planning Commission is scheduled to conduct a public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m. at City Hall to hear from the community and vote on whether to approve, deny or amend the project known as “The Patios Connection.” 

In April, mall officials announced the multimillion-dollar redevelopment of the former Sears building, which is located on the eastern portion of the property, that would transform into the Santa Clarita Valley’s second Costco, a luxury cinema and a fitness center — additions Westfield officials said are part of “the future of shopping.” 

“The retail industry has evolved pretty significantly and malls have evolved, as well,” Chris Kitchen, vice president of development for Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, said Tuesday. “We’re offering shops, restaurants, fitness, entertainment that really belong in a center, and will bring people back to the mall for different reasons and at different times of the day.” 

Renderings show the Costco entrance, with a glimpse of the luxury cinema and fitness center on the top level. Courtesy of Westfield Valencia Town Center

The Patios Connection consists of demolishing the 128,500-square-foot Sears building and constructing a 153,900-square-foot Costco, which will have about 275 parking spaces on the roof. The 79-foot project also includes a 30-pump gas station, a 34,000-square-foot health and fitness center, a 32,000-square-foot cinema, 7,400 square feet of retail and restaurant space and a 2,100-square-foot expansion of the existing Canyon music venue. 

Once approved, the project also is expected to bring nearly 500 full-time jobs to the area.

Mall officials said they’re “ready to go” for construction this year, should the project receive approval from the Planning Commission. Thus far, the project has received “overwhelming support” from public feedback and project improvements successfully added as requested by the city, said Kitchen. 

Part of those changes stems from concerns over possible increased traffic congestion and parking issues that could arise from the project. 

“Studies identified some traffic concerns,” said Jason Crawford, planning and economic development manager for the city. “To address those, (the city) recommended making certain traffic improvements. In this case, a handful of traffic improvements were identified and the city requested additional improvements that Westfield has approved.”

Six intersections will get improvements to improve circulation into the property, including on Citrus Street, Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard, said Kitchen, adding that during the holiday season, employees will park offsite to offer customers approximately 300 more parking spaces. 

The existing surface parking lot will be reconfigured and rooftop parking on the proposed Costco building was decided based on feedback from the public, said Kitchen. 

“One of the biggest pinpoints we heard is that parking in the Patios today is very difficult so by putting (parking) on the roof, it really is to serve the Patios area. It will open the connection from Costco to the Patios to make circulation smoother.” 

After the public hearing, there will be a 15-day appeal period. “If the appeal period passes and no one appeals, the applicant will be able to submit structural drawings for their review prior to the construction,” said David Peterson, an associate planner with the city. 

The Patios Connection project would not need approval by the City Council because of its conditional use permit status, which only requires a Planning Commission vote. If approved, mall officials estimate construction to be completed by late 2022.

Signal Staff Writer Emily Alvarenga contributed to this story. 

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