The Westfield Gateway redevelopment project will feature 350 permanent wall tiles leading to the family lounge. The tiles raised $3,000 for United Way with $2,200 of the total going to Hurricane Katrina relief. (Robert Becker)

Westfield Gateway unveiled more of its plans Monday to make the mall more family-friendly.

While announcing the food court lineup, the mall also revealed some changes to serve its littlest patrons.

When families sit down to eat in the mall’s food court, they’ll find a wide variety of seating options, including tables and chairs meant just for children.

Restrooms near the food court will also cater to the little ones.

A new family restroom will have toilets and sinks at just the right height for children.

The family restroom also will have nursing stations for moms, changing stations with heated baby wipes and a play area with movies to occupy kids while mom and dad use the restroom or tend to younger siblings.

On a wall outside the restroom will be 350 tiles that were hand-painted by children as a charity fundraiser for the United Way.

“We want to be more family friendly,” said Scot Vallee of Westfield Group.

Patrons to the food court will find a lineup of restaurants that includes old favorites and new choices.

Coming back are Amigos, Subway, Dairy Queen, Runza and Sbarro. The new additions are Blue Moon Coffee Company, Charlie’s Steakery, Hibachi-San, (a Japanese restaurant,) and Panda Express.

The food court also will have a new entrance, on the west side of the mall where Ben Simon’s and the old Bishop’s Buffet used to be.

Other new tenants to the mall that were previously unannounced are a Verizon Wireless store and San Francisco Music Box Company, which sells music boxes, musical figurines, waterglobes, jewelry boxes, and other items.

They join about 30 new stores, including some already open, such as David’s Bridal and Steve & Barry’s, and stores that are still negotiating leases.

“I think we’ll be 100 percent leased at grand opening with 90 percent occupancy,” Vallee said.

That grand opening will be Friday, Nov. 4, Westfield officials said, with festivities continuing through the weekend.

Westfield officials also showed off the mall’s new center court area, which will house the handmade Italian Carousel.

Vallee said the carousel will be delivered in the next couple of weeks and assembled in time for the grand opening.

All of the additions and improvements are part of an almost-complete $45 million renovation of the mall.

And Westfield, which bought the mall in 2001, has plans to do more.

Vallee said there could be another project at the mall in as little as two years.

“We don’t ever see this as being done,” he said.

Reach Matt Olberding at 473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.






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