An outdoor shopping district in Anaheim that blends retail shops, restaurants and entertainment venues is going to have less retail and more restaurants, a change that reflects dismal retail sales in the district.

The Anaheim City Council Tuesday night approved the change to rejuvenate the mall, known as The Shops at Anaheim GardenWalk. Many retailers are gone, leaving much of the district’s core with vacant shops.

The mall, which is across from Disneyland, has had financial woes. In recent years mall owners defaulted on a $210-million loan, the Orange County Register reported.

Council members approved the request for change in a 4-0 vote, with Mayor Tom Tait abstaining because of a reported conflict of interest.

“Economic conditions have changed,” said Councilman Harry Sidhu. “We want to make sure this jewel is not going to rot in our backyard.”

Related Companies, the property manager, plans to devote more of the mall to nighttime dining and entertainment and attract a young demographic, according to Steve Eimer, Related’s executive vice president  The mall’s core would have new food and beverage venues, and the food court would take on a “beer garden environment,” Eimer said.

The council-approved mix reduces retail space by 140,000 square feet while increasing dining and entertainment space by 162,000 square feet, according to a city staff report.


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