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Meow Wolf Coming To Cannon TTM's HHLA in Westchester

The immersive art experience Meow Wolf is moving into a Cinemark theater at Cannon TTM's HHLA mall on the Westside, the company's CEO and founder Tyler Mateen told Bisnow. 

Meow Wolf made a May 3 announcement on its Instagram that it was coming to Los Angeles but did not disclose a site. 

The HHLA shopping center at Sepulveda Blvd and Centinela Ave in Westchester.

As a fan of Meow Wolf's immersive art exhibits, Mateen has had his eye on securing the organization as a tenant for a while. 

The operator's installations are "a walk-through floor-to-ceiling collection of psychedelic art with a sci-fi bent and an anything-goes, punk rock spirit," as the Los Angeles Times described it. This will be the sixth Meow Wolf location, following sites in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Denver and Las Vegas. 

"I bought the [HHLA retail] center with the vision of bringing that type of use ... a top-tier immersive operator to the space," Mateen said.   

It took multiple cold emails to the "once-in-a-generation type of tenant" before he connected with the operator's real estate team, but it paid off. Construction is underway now to prepare the space for Meow Wolf, including adding new elevators, increasing power supply and doing structural reinforcement to accommodate the traffic and the art itself. 

Work is expected to wrap up in about four months. After that, Meow Wolf will spend about 12 to 18 months making the space its own. 

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The Cinemark occupied 150K SF across three floors, but its square footage has now been split roughly in half to accommodate the new experiential arrival, according to Mateen. 

The movie theater will continue to operate 12 screens on the first floor, and Meow Wolf will move in upstairs. 

The theater business has struggled to rebound in the wake of the pandemic and the writers and actors strikes last year. Foot traffic at some of the largest operators in the industry has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. 

Cinemark reported in its most recent earnings call that attendance was down 7.5% year-over-year and expects it might take two years for those numbers to recover. The chain has closed some locations but is also looking for new ones, Bisnow reported last year.

Meow Wolf has also been expanding and contracting simultaneously. Its announcement of the new LA location came shortly after news of layoffs of 165 workers. 

Mateen's company bought the HHLA retail center, formerly The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, for about $80M in 2023.

Mateen declined to share vacancy numbers for the center now but is in talks with a number of potential new tenants for existing empty space. JLL handles leasing at HHLA.

Mateen expects to spend $120M to $150M over the next five years to upgrade the retail center. That money will go to tenant improvements, such as the work it's doing to prepare Meow Wolf's space, as well as capital improvements to common areas and parking facilities.