SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Move over, Rodeo Drive! Scottsdale Fashion Square opens, what they're calling, its "Luxury Wing" to attract high-end consumers. And, they are nowhere near finished.
This new section of the mall opened about one year ago, anchored by Neiman Marcus. But, within the next few years, this place is expanding even more, to include some of the most expensive name brands in the world. And, just when you thought malls were dying! Scottsdale Fashion Square comes to life with a whole new remodel. "It's pretty impressive how big this place is. It's almost 2-million sq. feet of retail space," says mall vlogger and Valley resident Erik Pierson.
"Good malls are not dying, bad malls are," says Assistant Vice President of Macerich Property Management Christina Lanoue. "This is a good mall, this is the best address in Scottsdale."
Renovations in this upscale zip code began last year. "We're going to touch every aspect of this mall, we'll go into every wing of this mall to renovate," she explains, which adds to the local economy in a variety of ways, through sales and local jobs.
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For instance, what does it take to run an operation like this? They have about 3,000 employees right now and they're growing; adding more valet, concierge, and of course, construction crews through the next three to five years she tells us.
Just in the past year, ceilings were raised, high-end finishes added, and the plan is for new shops to reinvent luxury. "You're going to find Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Jo Malone of London just joined us, [and] St. Laurent," she tells us.
The remodel does seem to be the talk of the town, even the focus of a popular YouTube channel, called "Retail Archaeology," run by Erik Pierson.
"There's also a lot of beautiful, amazing, skylights," Erik describes on his YouTube channel. "This is really something interesting to see, it is high-end shopping in a construction zone, it's pretty insane."
Pierson, who became fascinated with the rise and fall of American malls, has documented dying malls all around the Valley, and much of Fashion Square's transformation. You might remember that iconic circular ramp in front of Neiman Marcus. He videotaped the make-over progress back in August, and how it looks today. The changes are contemporary and modern.
And, for a touch of elegance? New luxury brands will attract luxury shoppers to this new luxury wing. "We need to bring our collection of designer stores together, and create one wing, so that, the shopper who shops luxury designer can find it all in one place," says Christina.
That idea goes for men's designer timepieces as well. Breitling, Hubolt, and IWC are all connected under one roof with a walk-through in-between all three brands.
"All three appeal to different clients," says Bill Eckles, general manager of Hyde Park Jewelers. "But at the same time, [they] can appeal to all of them." Bill has been in the luxury brand industry for 13 years, and says consumers are sophisticated and loyal. He explains when it comes to a statement piece, like men's watches, shoppers are looking for accessories "where mechanical meets artistic."
During construction, many shops, like Salvatore Ferragamo are either remodeling, or relocating. But, they're staying open for business in a creative way. "Without them having to go dark for three or four months, we created what we call a pop up shop," says Christina. You'll notice these "pop up shops" with their signature bright colors and fun graphics, are designed to attract its fan-base along with welcoming new buyers.
Also, expect to find a grand north valet entrance. And, within the next five years, 70-thousand square feet are in the works, a brand new fitness center, along with seven extravagant restaurants, including actor Robert Deniro's Nobu.
Inside the new luxury wing, an impressive blingy column will greet you at "The Crystal Court" in front of Dillard’s. Christina says, "it's a physical structure that couldn't be moved because it's lifting up the ceiling."
So, in keeping with the luxurious theme of this new area, this crystal tower turns into a work of art. "It's a lighted column, it looks like glass and it changes into about 15 different colors," she explains. Details like this can be seen through-out, in hopes of keeping that high-end shopper busy spending their high-end dollar.