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Originally published Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Southcenter expansion adds retailers, views

Westfield Southcenter's $240 million expansion will open Friday with a nearly full tenant roster that includes eight retailers new to the Seattle area and a more upscale feel than the mall's current lineup.

Seattle Times business reporter

Westfield Southcenter's $240 million expansion will open Friday with a nearly full tenant roster that includes eight retailers new to the Seattle area and a more upscale feel than the mall's current lineup.

Westfield representatives took local media on a tour of the 400,000-square-foot expansion this morning to publicize Friday's opening celebrations featuring an appearance by Gov. Christine Gregoire, live music and aerial acrobatics.

People "are going to walk into the atrium on Friday and say 'Is this Southcenter?'" General Manager Andrew Ciarrocchi said. "This is just so different than what they have seen ... just in terms of the design and retail mix."

Swedish retailer H&M enters the local retail scene with a 25,000-square-foot store on two floors in the new part of the mall. Other newcomers include Crazy 8 by Gymboree, Gilly Hicks by Abercrombie & Fitch, Pink by Victoria's Secret, Escape Outdoors by Helly Hansen and Aerie by American Eagle Outfitters.

The expansion makes room for 75 specialty shops, a food court looking out toward Mt. Rainier, five new sit-down restaurants opening onto a tree-lined sidewalk, and a 16-screen, all-digital movie theater.

Also, there's a rainforest-themed play area near child-focused retailers including Stride Rite, Sanrio and Pumpkin Patch, as well as two family lounges where parents can nurse babies or change diapers while older siblings watch kid-friendly programming on a flat-screen TV.

At 1.7 million square feet, Southcenter now is Washington state's largest shopping center, surpassing Bellevue Square and Alderwood.

Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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