Costco project to cut out gym, cinema

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
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Westfield Valencia Town Center officials’ plan to expand the mall with a 101,000-square-foot Costco and other amenities is expected to be significantly smaller as officials have proposed removing the gym and cinema features. 

Mall officials are proposing to cut out the 34,000-square-foot health and fitness center, the 32,000-square-foot luxury cinema and the Costco rooftop parking deck, as well as reduce the amount of retail space being added. 

That would leave the overall development, dubbed the “Patios Connection project,” at a size of about 35,000 square feet, according to a city agenda report. 

Despite the removal of the rooftop parking lot, which would have brought 275 additional parking spaces, parking demand “will be consistent with the number of on-site surplus parking spaces at peak-demand included in the original approval. Off-site parking options during the holiday season will also continue to be provided,” according to mall officials in a memo to the city. 

Removal of the gym and cinema were attributed to issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the current economic environment, and the related need to address its associated long-term effects, the applicant (Westfield Valencia Town Center) is proposing the reduction of the approved gym and cinema uses,” read the report. 

The project would still include the demolition of the former Sears building, which closed in 2018, the addition of Santa Clarita Valley’s second Costco with a gas station, new retail space and the expansion of the existing Canyon Santa Clarita music venue. 

Santa Clarita planning commissioners approved the project in late January, giving developers the green light to move forward with the plans as its conditional use permit status doesn’t require approval by the City Council. 

Council members are expected Tuesday to receive the revisions and direct city staff in moving forward with processing modifications for the project. 

Proposed revisions come after Tal Finney, a Los Angeles-based attorney, filed and later withdrew an appeal to block the Patios Connection project. Finney said he filed the appeal on behalf of a group of residents who lived near the mall who believed they “may be adversely affected by the potential traffic, air quality, soil quality, groundwater quality, noise, public health and safety hazards imposed by the project.”

The City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. 

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