Jim Someck, owner of the local Natural food store chain, Jimbo’s Naturally, blames the deteriorating conditions at Horton Plaza for the loss of millions of dollars in business at his store.
Someck filed a lawsuit on May 22 again Horton Plaza and the company that manages it, Westfield, alleging that the company has breached their contract by failing to maintain the shopping center.
“I feel bad for our customers who come in and sometimes have to deal with situations that they shouldn’t have to deal with. Some of them don’t want to even come in, and that’s part of the problem,” Someck tells NBC 7.
“Through the years [Westfield] kept telling me that they are working on plans but nothing has ever materialized.”
Someck, who opened the Horton Plaza store in 2012, says he was left with few options other than to file a lawsuit.
“It’s not something I wanted to go down that road but I had no other alternative and they still haven’t responded.”
According to the complaint, filed in state court, Westfield has allowed Horton Plaza to turn into a “third-rate shopping mall that feels desolate and abandoned, where crime has flourished and shoppers and retailers alike are concerned for their personal safety."
Public records requests obtained by NBC 7 shows that police are called to and around Horton Plaza on a normal basis.
From October 2017 to the end of March, San Diego’s police department received over 200 calls for service. During that same time, officers wrote a total of 146 citations written and arrested 75 people. Among the offenses included burglary, possession of drugs, public drunkenness, arson, concealed weapons, and twelve people were taken in on warrants.
“I thought this was going to be the best performing store that we had in our company,” Someck said. “I am extremely frustrated.”
According to the complaint, Westfield had planned to spend $400 million to renovate the property. In December, however, a Paris-based real estate firm, Unibail-Rodamco acquired Westfield and its shopping malls for $16 billion dollars. That acquisition was made final on June 7.
A spokesperson for Westfield told NBC 7 that the company has declined to comment for the story.
The lawsuit will now make its way through state court.