Plaza Carolina, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean’s second-largest mall, unveiled Thursday its new look and expanded store offering in preparation for this year’s holiday season. Reopening activities will take place all weekend and include the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree, musical presentations and special promotional events, mall officials said.
“Our remodeling project was carefully thought out with our customer in mind. The comfort, ambiance, security, and relaxation achieved will make every visit a delightful experience,” said Tomas Sifontes, general manager for Plaza Carolina, a part of the Simon Property Group Inc. portfolio of properties.
Structural changes include a new central atrium and fountain area, new flooring and ceiling finishes, modernized bathrooms, as well as a remodeled Food Court — which will usher in new tenants in coming weeks — and Information and Customer Service Center.
Company executives refrained from disclosing how much has been invested in the property, except to say that it has been a “multi-million project that is not yet finished.”
Other renovations that are still in progress include the incorporation of sustainable technologies like energy-efficient lights for both interior and exterior, new landscaping designs, and a new color palette. That phase should be completed by early next year, Sifontes said.
Plaza Carolina’s new store offering includes the second Victoria’s Secret store to open in Puerto Rico; popular stateside footwear store DSW Shoes; apparel retailer Express; jeweler Tous; casual and sports footwear brand Robert Wayne Shoes; TJ Maxx; Forever 21; and new food court choices Charley’s Subs Grill and Asian bistro Basil Thai.
“Our demographics are evolving. We began to see the transformation as soon as we started finalizing the renovations and with the arrival of Forever 21 and TJ Maxx, and the fact that existing tenants upgraded their spaces and made changes in their inventories,” said Rafael Álvarez, director of marketing and business development Simon Property Group. “It has to do with the look and feel of the mall, the total experience. That’s what we’re looking for and that’s what we wanted.”
Aside from the aesthetic changes, Simon Property Group also plans to improve the parking area facing Fragoso Avenue, to add vehicle capacity and make it easier to find spaces, Sifontes said.
Plaza Carolina’s improvements are in line with what other retailers throughout the island are doing to revamp their shopping malls to grab customers and remain competitive. That is especially true in the San Juan metropolitan area, where at least two malls are in the pipeline: the Mall of San Juan adjacent to the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and another shopping center in Guaynabo.
To mark its new look and tenant mix, Plaza Carolina will host a number of activities this weekend, including the traditional Christmas tree lighting, among other events.