Santa Monica not so happenin' place

The Third Street Promenade is known as a one stop shop location; a place where customers can find anything from apparel to literature, for reasonable prices. Throughout the years, the promenade has drawn people from every demographic to Santa Monica, regardless of age.  It has also proved to be a great tourist hotspot while remaining equally as popular with the locals. Before its upgrade this October, the Santa Monica Place mall was routinely passed by patrons who would rather spend their time on the Third Street Promenade. As the promenade gained adoration, the majority of the stores inside the mall took the leap onto the promenade in order to keep their business' active, which left the mall as a waste of space. However, Santa Monica recently decided to refurbish and consequently elevate their mall with higher end stores and boutiques that would attract a different crowd to Santa Monica. They seem to be striving towards a new "clique", which became clear after reading the list of extravagant stores that are now available, such as Barney's Co-Op, Kitson, Nordstrom, and Louis Vuitton.

For a few patrons, the new plaza is quite the delectable treat. However, for the average student, it's just another place that they can "window shop." For Santa Monica College student Natasha Haddal, while the Santa Monica Mall stores balance well with the promenade stores, and the mall's indoor scenery compliments the promenades outdoor scenery, it doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. "For the average student, the mall won't be a regular hang-out but it is a nice balance to the promenade and attracts the much needed tourists and high-income dollars," said Haddal.

Another unfortunate aspect of the new mall is the constant congestion of the new tourists looking to spend more money. As much as Santa Monica profits from the extra dollars spent at the new mall, the once laid back relaxed beach town is becoming just another obscene, fast pace city like nearing locations Century City or Beverly Hills.

Because Santa Monica is home to many students, hard workers, and middle-income families, the newer shops seem to be out of the average citizens price range. Of course there are wealthy people living in the city of Santa Monica, but the city contains a broader demographic than many other stereotypically "rich" Los Angeles County cities.  True fact: at Nordstrom, a high end department store, a fox fur trim cashmere blend cape costs $998, not including tax, which still will not add up to what a full time student would pay in tuition for one semester.

When the new plaza was constructed with its high-end shops, it's only right that they would install a food court to match. The new food court seems to be modeling itself off of what you might find smack-dab in the middle of the Beverly Hills. As for SMC student Andres Castaneda, he feels that having a mall with high-end restaurants is an idiotic idea. "If someone wants good food, they would go to a restaurant, not a high-end food place in a mall.  Since the promenade and its bistro is right nearby,why the hell is there a food court with overpriced restaurants?" said Castaneda.

Although it generally seemed like smart idea to create the impression that Santa Monica is the next affluent city by integrating the new Santa Monica Place mall with the luxurious department stores and food court, unfortunately all it is doing is driving away the original clientele that started the trend in visiting the promenade; the locals of Santa Monica.  Only time will tell what lies in the future for the mall, and whether they'll create more reasonably priced stores or end up being just as outlandish as other shopping locations.