Westfield UTC
Westfield UTC logo
Panorama of the center square of Westfield UTC
LocationUniversity City, San Diego, California
Address4545 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92122
Opening date1977
DeveloperThe Hahn Company
No. of stores and services199 (as of 2024)
No. of anchor tenants9[1]
Total retail floor area1,066,842 ft²[1]
No. of floors2 (3 in Macy's)
Public transit accessUTC Transit Center

Westfield UTC (formerly known as University Towne Centre) is an open-air shopping mall located in the University City community of San Diego, California built in 1977. It lies just east of La Jolla, near the University of California, San Diego campus. It is owned – except for the ex-Sears parcel – by the Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. Its anchors include Macy's, Nordstrom and a 14-screen AMC Theatres.

The mall is served by the UTC Transit Center, which is the northern terminus of the Blue Line of the San Diego Trolley.


Ernest W. Hahn first proposed building UTC in 1972. Upon opening in 1977, the anchor stores were Robinson's (later Robinsons-May), The Broadway (now Macy's), and Sears. In 1984, Nordstrom, 31 new stores, and new parking structures opened.

In 1989, UTC was the site of an international incident when a minivan belonging to William C. Rogers III, who had been implicated in the shootdown of Iran Air Flight 655, was bombed there.[2]

In 1998, Westfield bought UTC, except for the parcel owned by Sears. That same year, the Macy's and Robinsons-May locations expanded. J.P. Morgan Investment bought a 50% interest in UTC.

A $12 million remodel in 2007 added grassy areas, trellises with flowering vines, palm trees and fountains, according to UTC in a park-like or "European village" atmosphere, with carts, flowers, fruits and an al fresco food pavilion.”[3]

2010s phased expansion

In 2008, a one-billion-dollar revitalization plan for UTC was approved by the San Diego City Council. However, due to the Late-2000s recession, the revitalization project was put on hold for several years and later reduced to $500 million,[4] but later again revised up to $600 million.

Northwest side

In 2011, the first, $180 million phase of the revitalization commenced: the mall's food court was transformed into an indoor/outdoor Dining Terrace while the former Robinsons-May building was subdivided to house three new retailers: a large-scale Forever 21, a relocated 24 Hour Fitness, a 14-screen AMC Theatres (formerly ArcLight Cinema),[5] plus Tiffany, J.Crew, and Lululemon stores.[6]

In 2016, construction began on a 400,000-square-foot expansion on the northwest section, including:[7][8]

In April of 2016 the two story Sports Chalet which opened in 1999, closed its UTC location due to Chapter 7 bankruptcy.[10] Room & Board later took over the vacant space in 2017.[11]

In 2019 Forever 21, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced that they would be closing 3 San Diego locations to restructure the company including its UTC location which later closed late January 2024.[12]

Culinary emphasis

Many new restaurants were added during this period including a Shake Shack and a Javier's. Michele Parente, restaurant critic at the San Diego Union-Tribune, called UTC her favorite area for restaurants in San Diego County, noting the presence of Din Tai Fung, Sweetfin Poké, Paranà Empanadas, Napizza, The Winery, Smokehouse BBQ, True Food Kitchen, and La Colombe Coffee Roasters, stating: "eating is what they're selling there now".[13]

Northeast side/former Sears

While construction continued at the northwest of UTC, on the northeast side, Sears closed in July 2017.[14] The Sears parcel is owned by Seritage Growth Properties, a spinoff of Sears.[15] Portions of the space have become Corner Bakery Cafe, Williams Sonoma/Pottery Barn Kids, and Equinox Fitness, with Crate & Barrel on an outparcel.[16] The Sears building was demolished and the site is now a 2 story building called The Collection. Parts of the project have been opened to the public, while the main building is still under construction.


Palisades at UTC, a 23-story, 300-unit luxury apartment building located at the southeast corner of the site, opened in 2019.[17]

See also


  1. ^ a b Westfield Group - UTC Portfolio
  2. ^ Reinhold, Robert; Times, Special To the New York (1989-03-11). "Blast Wrecks Van of Skipper Who Downed Iran Jet". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-01-08.
  3. ^ "The Call of the Mall". www.sandiegomagazine.com.
  4. ^ "UTC launches $500M expansion". San Diego Union-Tribune. July 14, 2015.
  5. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (2022-02-08). "AMC Entertainment In Lease Deals For Former ArcLight Theaters In San Diego, D.C. Markets". Deadline. Retrieved 2022-02-08.
  6. ^ Tanya Mannes for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Sept. 7, 2011 Westfield UTC kicks off $1b renovation project
  7. ^ "Nordstrom opening kicks off Westfield UTC expanded offerings". San Diego Union-Tribune. October 14, 2017.
  8. ^ "Westfield - United States". www.westfield.com.
  9. ^ San Diego Association of Governments. Mid-Coast Trolley
  10. ^ Jennewein, Chris (2016-04-17). "Sports Chalet Closing All Stores, Including 3 in San Diego". Times of San Diego. Retrieved 2023-09-21.
  11. ^ "San Diego - Retail Careers - Teams & Locations - Room & Board". www.roomandboard.com. Retrieved 2023-09-21.
  12. ^ Twitter; Email (2019-10-02). "Forever 21 closures: three San Diego stores on the chopping block amid bankruptcy". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2024-01-31. ((cite web)): |last= has generic name (help)
  13. ^ Woo, Candice (December 27, 2018). "Industry Experts Name San Diego's Best Dining Neighborhoods". Eater San Diego.
  14. ^ Peterson, Hayley (2017-06-22). "Struggling retailer is closing 20 additional stores -- Here's the full list of shuttered locations". AOL.com. Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  15. ^ "At Westfield UTC | Seritage". seritage.com.
  16. ^ "The Sears at UTC is being replaced by a fancy new development (with an Equinox)". San Diego Union-Tribune. October 16, 2018.
  17. ^ "One of San Diego's most expensive apartment complexes open".

32°52′11″N 117°12′43″W / 32.8698°N 117.212°W / 32.8698; -117.212