Mall’s opening draws crowd

The City of Tukwila took a temporary population jump Friday, July 25.

The City of Tukwila took a temporary population jump Friday, July 25.

A grand-opening celebration at the Westfield Southcenter mall drew approximately 97,000 people for the day; 8,000 of whom were at the mall by its 10 a.m. opening time.

“It was a wonderful way to kick off the new Westfield Southcenter,” said Jason Hamilton, senior vice president for Richmond Public Relations, which is handling the renovated mall’s publicity.

“Everyone enjoyed the early-morning festivities, as well as being able to see the 75 new shops,” Hamilton said. “It was exactly what Westfield hoped it would be.”

The opening ceremony, which featured speeches by Gov. Christine Gregoire and Tukwila Mayor James Haggerton, as well as live entertainment and free scratch-off tickets for mall merchandise, was to celebrate a major expansion and facelift of the 40-year-old retail center.

A $240 million renovation project has expanded the mall by 400,000 square feet, and attracted another 75 shops to do business there, including five signature restaurants, 17 casual-dining eateries, a 16-screen AMC Theatre and a number of high-end retail outlets, including Swedish clothing company H&M, PINK, White House/Black Market and Sephora. That brings the grand total of space and stores to 1.7 million square feet and 200 stores - making it the largest shopping mall in the Pacific Northwest, according to Westfield officials.