Westfield will tear down old Nordstrom building at UTC mall

The original Nordstrom at Westfield UTC is pictured in 2016 during construction of the mall's parking garage and new stores.
The original Nordstrom store at Westfield UTC is pictured in 2016 during construction of the mall’s parking garage and new storefronts.
(Eduardo Contreras / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Westfield UTC mall’s former Nordstrom store will be razed to make room for something new at the operator’s flagship property.

The demolition work is expected to start this month and includes neighboring storefronts that have been fenced off for years.

Westfield hasn’t revealed plans for the site, except to say that the parcel and adjacent structures will be cleared before year’s end.

However, the activity suggests that parent company Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is moving forward with a new phase of redevelopment — even as the French firm seeks to sell all 24 of its U.S. properties by 2023.

“At Westfield, we are passionate about creatively transforming former department store space into exciting and engaging experiences — including highly innovative, non-traditional mall offerings — for our customers and the wider community to enjoy,” said Kim Brewer, senior vice president of development for Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. “We look forward to clearing the former Nordstrom parcel at Westfield UTC and taking another step in the multiyear, resort-inspired evolution of the center which first began nearly a decade ago.”

Westfield UTC, which opened in 1977 at 4545 La Jolla Village Drive, has undergone a nearly $1 billion transformation over the past 10 years designed to refashion the outdoor shopping center as a premier dining destination, luxury home address and workplace of the future.

Yet just east of Westfield UTC’s palm-tree-lined valet drop-off area, the original Nordstrom building is still standing, visible from La Jolla Village Drive and the mall’s interior. The windowless building, which opened in 1984, closed in 2017 when a larger Nordstrom store with floor-to-ceiling windows debuted at the west end of the mall.

Meanwhile, also for sale is the separate-but-connected former Sears parcel, now known as The Collection at UTC. The development at 4575 La Jolla Village Drive, a joint venture from Seritage Growth Properties and Invesco Real Estate, is a 226,200-square-foot mixed-use center with ground-floor shops and second- and third-floor office space leased to Amazon. In July, Seritage said it will sell all of its assets and dissolve the company. ◆