Byline: Kristi Ellis

GLENDALE, Calif. — Glendale Galleria, a leading Southern California shopping center, wants to be a home for hipness.
The 1.47 million-square-foot center has begun construction on a new section named “The Zone,” aimed at attracting fickle Generation Y shoppers. It is slated to open in June.
“We woke up at the same time the rest of the country woke up and recognized how powerful this consumer group is,” said Annette Bethers, senior marketing director of Donahue Schriber, the center’s property management company.
“Born between 1979 and 1994, Generation Y consists of 60 million kids throughout the United States who are changing the face of marketing and retailing,” Bethers added.
While the junior market is definitely a fertile one, management knows that The Zone is a calculated risk.
“We realize that if we misstep, it could backfire,” Bethers conceded. “You only have one chance to make a good first impression. If you don’t, they will tune you out.”
The Galleria is banking on offering the right mix of stores and entertainment in the $1.5 million remodeling, according to Bethers. Featuring 15,000 square feet of space, The Zone is located on the second floor of the center, sandwiched between Nordstrom and Mervyn’s.
Six youth-oriented apparel stores will be located within the area, including Juxtapose, Vans, Catwalk, Boarders and Premium. The sixth store has not been determined.
Hot Topic, the popular music-influenced chain, will open a 1,000-square-foot store in an adjacent location, and others outside The Zone include Planet X, a software-video game store, Limited Too and Quake Sportswear.
“We wanted to bring in more uniqueness,” said Bethers.
To that end, management has brought in a few lesser-known specialty boutiques, both within The Zone and outside it, to support the better-known retailers.
For direction on the architecture and design of the area, Galleria management went directly to the targeted teens via focus groups.
“We found that they liked stores like Vans and Juxtapose, but they also asked for more Melrose-type stores,” Bethers said, referring to the street in Hollywood that contains funky and eclectic stores.
There will also be signage in The Zone, leading to other teen-oriented stores located throughout the center, like Rampage, Charlotte Russe and Pacific Sunwear.
The Zone’s central focus is an “E station,” which features a D.J. booth with live broadcasts, radio promotions, contests and celebrity appearances. There is also a lounge area with sofas, an Internet kiosk and flat screen television monitors, which will broadcast The Zone’s own Channel Z. The channel will broadcast customized programming, featuring news from local schools, trend updates, music videos, movie trailers and live footage of extreme sports and segments geared to the interests of the Gen Y market.
“The area is not heavily themed,” Bethers said, noting that it will still be visually dynamic. Banners displaying “cutting-edge images” will hang from six skylights and will be changed on a quarterly basis.

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