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Santa, Sledgehammers Kick Off Pentagon City Mall Renovation Preview

Officials from Simon Property Group on Thursday previewed the big changes coming to the company’s Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.

The holiday-themed event featured Santa Claus, taking a break from photos with children to read a renovation “wish list,” and a tile-smashing photo opportunity dubbed “wreck the halls,” complete with candy cane-wrapped sledgehammers.

Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey was among those to ceremonially smash the mall’s surprisingly-difficult-to-break tiles.

The $70+ million renovation and expansion project is already underway and is expected to run through 2016. Among the changes coming to the mall:

  • An additional 52,000 square feet of space for five stores and restaurants, located at what is now the mall’s main entrance off S. Hayes Street (estimated completion: spring 2016)
  • Outdoor seating for the restaurants in the expansion (new retailers and restaurants to be announced spring 2015)
  • Two new glass-enclosed elevators, replacing the existing single elevator (estimated completion: January 2015)
  • Additional escalator banks from the Metro level to the ground level (estimated completion: July 2015)
  • New lighting, tile, handrails, columns and interior details (estimated completion: July 2015)
  • A new valet parking area

The mall’s popular food court — said to be the most successful food court company-wide thanks to its status as an “international tourist destination,” frequented by literal busloads of meal-seeking tourists — will be getting new seating, designed to make it feel less like a “cafeteria.”

The newly-configured food court will seat 750. Its chairs will include padded seats.

Also coming to the mall will be a new burger restaurant and a new chicken restaurant. Simon officials would not reveal the names of the restaurants.

There were, however, two retail announcements made on Thursday. The high-end women’s shoe company Stuart Weitzman is planning to open at the mall this coming spring, and high-end watch retailer Tourneau, which suffered a high-profile robbery last year, is expanding to a 3,000 square foot location on the ground floor in the spring.

The announcements are in keeping with the Fashion Centre’s goal of attracting more higher-end, fashion-forward retailers.

The mall is also adding some technological flare, with a new public WiFi system expected to be switched on around the turn of the new year, and cell phone charging stations planned.

The mall received its last round of major renovations in 1989.

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