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Boulevard Mall carves out new niche catering to Hispanics, Filipinos

The Boulevard Mall is finding new life through repositioning itself as a community center for Hispanics and Filipinos in the Las Vegas Valley.

Open since 1968, the regional mall has gone through a few identities, with this last one focused on attracting a Hispanic and Filipino demographic through targeted programming and nontraditional mall tenants. Owned by Rouse Properties, the mall’s repositioning began with the change in ownership from General Growth Properties in 2011.

Rouse Properties was formed in August 2011 for the purpose of holding certain assets and assuming certain liabilities of General Growth Properties. Following the distribution of those in January 2012, Rouse began operating as a stand-alone owner and operator of regional malls. Rouse owns 32 malls across the U.S., but The Boulevard is its only Nevada location.

Since Rouse took over, The Boulevard has slowly but surely been adding new tenants and building its community event roster with a targeted focus.

In August, for example, the mall will become home to television station KMCC, an affiliate of Spanish language network MundoFOX. The station signed an agreement to lease 4,722 square feet in the center’s east court that will house 20 employees, a control room, television station and administrative offices. Oversize TV monitors will broadcast MundoFOX programming to mall shoppers.

On June 1, the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations of Nevada hosted the fifth annual Fiesta Filipino to celebrate Philippine Independence Day inside and outside the Boulevard Mall.

In mid-May, the Pinoy Pride Celebration was held at the shopping center. Las Vegas-based Darna Productions produced the event, which attracted about 9,000 people over a two-day period. And on May 5, a Cinco de Mayo celebration also was held at the mall, with the event sponsored by Volaris Airline, Mundo Fox Channel 34 and La Buena 101.9.

According to information from the U.S. Census Bureau, 223,167 people lived in the Paradise neighborhood around the Boulevard Mall in 2010. Of that, 9.5 percent were Asian and 31.2 percent were Hispanic or Latino.

In recent years, a slew of Hispanic-targeted tenants have moved into the mall: the Hispanic Museum of Nevada, Centro Cultural de Las Artes de Mexico Vivo and the Mexican Patriotic Committee.

Since opening in The Boulevard last January, the museum has seen over 10,000 visitors, including international tourists hailing from countries such as New Zealand and India.

“We’ve had many events that have drawn in new customers to the mall. Then we’ve had the opportunity to benefit from the clients and customers of the other tenants in the mall,” executive director Lynnette Sawyer said.

Other tenants including the new Viva Cafe, a Colombian and Mexican coffee shop. Sawyer said the strategy seems to be working, as the mall has been getting busier.

“I get a lot of these type of comments: ‘I haven’t been to the mall in years. And I’m happy to see cultural institutions in a mall,’ ” she said.

President of Darna Productions, Liza Ochiai, has been in town since 1984. Her May event was the first time that the Filipino event company hosted anything at The Boulevard, but it has worked with Town Square and the Galleria at Sunset in the past.

“The Boulevard is pretty much the hub for the Filipino community,” Ochiai said.

Ochiai also owns the four Aloha Kitchen locations in Las Vegas, with one of them 1.5 miles down Maryland Parkway from The Boulevard, which sits at 3528 S. Maryland Parkway.

“I am a big supporter of the Maryland Parkway corridor,” she said.

In October, the new Greenbelt Plaza is expected to be finished next to the Marshall’s just south of The Boulevard Mall. Inside the center will be an 18,000-square-foot Island Pacific Supermarket, a Filipino grocer, and Goldilocks, a Filipino bakery.

The Filipino grocer used to have a store on East Sahara Avenue, but it closed five years ago. Spokeswoman Charina Carrera said the brand is coming back to Las Vegas because there are a large number of Filipinos in the area surrounding Maryland Parkway.

“We’d love to cater to those Filipinos there,” she said.

Ochiai agreed the area around The Boulevard attracts a large Filipino contingent, from Filipino nurses who work at Sunrise Hospital to groups who shop at Seafood City, one of the biggest brands for the Filipino community located just down from where Greenbelt Plaza is being built.

“I was really sad to see how the other malls have grown and The Boulevard Mall really hasn’t. I’m hoping it will get revived again,” Ochiai said.

A request to speak with the Boulevard’s General Manager Ric Jimenez was declined and a request for comment from Rouse Properties went unanswered.

Contact reporter Laura Carroll at lcarroll@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.

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