SAN JOSE – The Westfield Valley Fair Mall has reached an encouraging stage: the huge San Jose Mall has won 100 new retailers after a major renovation and expansion of billions of dollars two years ago.

The increase in traders – amid a number of economic problems and uncertainty in Silicon Valley and the United States in general – suggests that Valley Fair has recovered from coronavirus-related diseases.

“It would be monumental at any time,” said Sue Newsham, senior general manager of Westfield Valley Fair, about the mall’s achievements for 100 new retailers over the past few years. “We were able to find amazing retailers to join the property and open it during and immediately after the pandemic.”

Just before the outbreak of the deadly virus, Valley Fair put the finishing touches on the dramatic expansion and renovation of the mall for $ 1.1 billion.

Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose, interior, large court. The Westfield Valley Fair Mall has reached an encouraging stage: the huge San Jose Mall has won 100 new retailers after a major renovation and expansion of billions of dollars two years ago.

In early 2020, Valley Fair executives unveiled a brand new retail, restaurant and entertainment complex, featuring a large square that connects the mall’s interior with outdoor spaces and gathering places.

Shortly afterwards, the coronavirus broke out, and government and local officials imposed extensive business shutdowns to help fight the bug. And that included stopping personal visits to shops and restaurants.

But Valley Fair seems to have managed to overcome most of the economic pitfalls.

“We have cultivated a great mix of retailers. These include Eataly and Bowlero, “Newsham said. “The IKON cinema is a great attraction.”

Eataly is an Italian food hall and market that is expected to open in the next few months and will be the first in Northern California. Bowlero is a place for bowling, dining and nightlife, which includes an arcade.

The two-story iChina secures the western end of the Valley Fair's collection of restaurants, built around an open-air square in downtown Santa Clara.  (Photo by Renee Cascia for iChina / Westfield Valley Fair)
IChina restaurant at Westfield Valley Fair Mall in San Jose.

The valley fair after COVID-19 is no longer a traditional mall, including retailers’ paths and a restaurant, mostly indoors.

Valley Fair is now an experience-based center created for the new reality of the mall. And this is more than a mix of traders. The layout of the mall also reflects what is needed to thrive shopping malls in a world changed by COVID. Live music is available on weekends.

“It’s an indoor mall where you don’t feel indoors,” Newsham said. “By adding a square, we brought the discovery into the mall.”

Westfield Valley Fair sales are now above pre-coronavirus levels, mall executives say.

“We look forward to continuing this momentum with countless new and upcoming opportunities for shopping, dining and entertainment,” Newsham said.

Plaza, dining and shopping areas, exterior, at the Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose.  (Westfield Valley / Rene Kasha Fair)
Plaza, dining and shopping areas, exterior, at the Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose.

Eataly can be an example of this. The food market aims to create a unique experience that revolves around Italian cuisine, according to Rafaele Piaruli, head of Eataly in North America. Piaruli provided this view during April interview with this news organization.

“We will have two huge restaurants, a whole market, a fresh food counter, a seafood counter, a cheese selection, a pasta selection,” Piaruli said. “You will have this feeling that you are surrounded by a lot of food, both quantity and quality.”

The first floor of Eataly will offer customers dishes including salads, gelato and coffee.

COVID recovery: San Jose’s Valley Fair mall tops 100 new merchants

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