Talks about mall changes create ‘confusion’ 

A flier from the city of Santa Clarita's outreach effort in April 2023, when officials were looking for input on the Town Center Specific Plan, an area that includes Valencia Town Center. Courtesy city of Santa Clarita
The Town Center Specific Plan covers an area that includes Valencia Town Center. Courtesy city of Santa Clarita

After hearing a report on its possible demise, a representative from JCPenney’s corporate office reached out Thursday to state its Valencia store — an anchor since the Valencia mall opened in 1992 — has no plans to go anywhere. 

The issue began after an article on the Town Center Specific Plan, or TCSP, mentioning a “hypothetical demolition” of the store, Marina M. Zecy, director of media relations and communications for the 122-year-old retail chain, wrote Wednesday in an email. 

The TCSP, according to city officials, is meant as a framework for how a potential developer, in the case of the Valencia mall property, Dallas-based Centennial, could create a “place-making” atmosphere out of the area, which is more than 100 centrally located acres. 

“We’ve had customers and associates that are concerned, and we want them to know we are operating as usual,” Zecy said in a phone conversation Thursday.  

The plans are going to change the makeup of the current property significantly — that much seems certain from the outline the city is creating. 

But there’s been no official discussion of how, or when, just yet. 

Centennial, which purchased the mall property from Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield for $195 million last year, is planning changes, and company officials have said they support the city’s plan to create a framework for the property. 

The city announced an outline that it hopes could be used to create a shopping spot like the Irvine Spectrum Center that “lets you forget that you’re a few hundred feet from an Interstate,” Dave Peterson, the city’s senior planner on the project, said previously. 

But the city is still in the approval phases for its framework, and Centennial officials have said they’re not announcing any timeline or plans until city officials finish theirs. 

Last year, a representative for Centennial said the company wants to create less of a “retail island” and more of a balanced mixed-used development.  

In creating the plans, Peterson said, the city looked at a number of potential alternatives for the land, including a 2,200-home buildout, which looked at the possible demolition of a few areas. 

“We analyzed the demolition of what would be the food court, the JCPenney, the Sears box, a very small portion of (current outdoor mall shopping area) The Patios, which would largely remain intact, and then some portions of the wing of the mall The Canyon is located,” he said during a Planning Commission discussion of the plan.  

City planners intend to answer questions brought up during the April discussion of the plan at a May meeting. 

The TCSP could get approved then, or the discussion could be continued to a future date. Ultimately, the Santa Clarita City Council also would then have to approve the plan. 

Zecy also said Thursday any questions about JCPenney’s long-term plans for the area regarding the potential changes to the Valencia Town Center would be a discussion for the corporation’s real estate team.  

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