P.F. Chang’s in Thousand Oaks’ Lakes shopping center closing after 17 years
Correction: The P.F. Chang’s in the The Lakes shopping center in Thousand Oaks opened in 2005.
The P.F. Chang’s restaurant in the long-struggling Lakes shopping center in downtown Thousand Oaks is closing after 17 years.
Serving Asian and Chinese fare, it will shutter Aug. 28, according to Jessica Wong, a spokeswoman for billionaire developer Rick Caruso, who has leased the center from the city since 2004.
The Lakes and the P.F. Chang’s opened in 2005.
Art Kilmer, chief operating officer of the Scottsdale, Arizona-based chain, said in a statement that the restaurant’s closing is timed with the expiration of its lease.
He said P.F. Chang’s in neighboring Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills remain open “at this time.”
In a statement, Wong didn’t address why the restaurant was closing, but said, “In keeping with tradition, Caruso properties are ever changing, bringing our communities the newest and most coveted in shopping and dining.”
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Thousand Oaks resident Leilani Smith, who has frequently dined at the P.F. Chang’s, on Tuesday lamented its closing.
“I think it’s a loss for its patrons and the city of Thousand Oaks,” said Smith, 59, a former biology teacher.
She said she felt the same way when an Outback Steakhouse at 137 Thousand Oaks Blvd., about 2 miles from the P.F. Chang’s, closed a few years ago.
Smith, who was diagnosed as being gluten intolerant more than 20 years ago, said in those days, it was tough finding any restaurants that offered gluten-free fare.
“And I think P.F. Chang’s was the first major restaurant chain that had a gluten-free menu,” she said. “It was so nice being able to eat some place and not be afraid of getting sick.”
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Kathleen Rossi, of Malibu, had lunch at the P.F. Chang’s Monday.
She said she was disappointed to learn that it was closing.
“I love P.F. Chang’s,” she said. “But I notice that the service has gone down, and they don’t know what they’re doing.
“The waitress tells you both salads are the same, when one is clearly an Asian salad and one is clearly a Caesar salad,” Rossi said. “So what are you going to do?”
The restaurant will be the latest of several vacancies at the small, underperforming outdoor mall at 2200 Thousand Oaks Blvd. next to the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.
Caruso hopes that a six-story, 165-unit apartment complex he plans to build behind the shopping center will rejuvenate it with more foot traffic.
“We are very much looking forward to the future of The Lakes,” Wong said.
The Thousand Oaks City Council approved the development in December.
In return, the city will receive up to $15 million from Caruso over nearly four decades.
That will include the $2 million purchase of The Lakes from the city, which says it hasn’t made money from leasing the property to the developer for the last two decades.
That’s because under the lease, Caruso can lease the property for free in the years he does not make at least a 12% return on it primarily through rents from tenants.
And he’s never made that level of return, according to Thousand Oaks Finance Director Jaimie Boscarino. Thus, the city has never been paid rent. Without the deal with Caruso, the city would be locked into the lease for another 35 or so years.
Mike Harris covers the East County cities of Moorpark, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, as well as transportation countywide. You can contact him at [email protected] or 805-437-0323.
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