It may be hard to believe, but retailers are still exceedingly bullish on the greater-Valley region, with construction underway on more than 1 million square feet of new and expanded shopping spots from Camarillo to Lancaster and Burbank. When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping could be the region’s motto, or at least that’s what Macerich, Westfield, Developers Diversified, Chelsea Property Group and Champion Development seem to be thinking. Of course, they had no way of knowing when they first permitted these soon-to-open mega-expansions back in the economic heyday three years or so ago that the words sub-prime lending would have any meaning. But everyone involved in retail, from the developers to the retailers to the brokers maintains that the gloom-and-doom pronouncements in the national media are far from accurate, especially as relates to our region. “Even today, Linens ‘n Things announced that although they are in Chapter 11, they are not going to close as many stores as anticipated,” said Lior Regenstreif, director of the national retail group for Marcus & Millichap. “People are pulling through the dark times.” His confidence is also bolstered by new concepts being introduced in the big box arena, such as the Fresh ‘n Easy grocery and the new BevMo competitor, Total Wine & More, both of which will be debuting in Northridge soon. And though it seems like we could hardly use another shopping area, Christine Deschaine with Lee & Associates tells us, “The developers continue to build because people don’t want to leave their areas We have enough density in these smaller markets to put several stores of the same type.” For those who still have disposable income after paying higher prices for gas and groceries, here’s what’s going to be available to shoppers in the next 12 months or so. Camarillo The Camarillo Premium Outlets mall is in the midst of a major expansion, essentially creating an entire second center adjacent to the existing property. Construction started in January on what is being called The Promenade. Approximately 40 stores are planned with a total of 220,000 gross leasable area being added. Surface parking will be expanded to support the new center. A spokeperson with Chelsea Property Group, a division of Simon Property Group, said they have worked closely with the city and community to create a project that meets the needs of the local population. “They wanted to see something that had a public plaza where there could be events, like a nice public square,” said Michele Rothstein, senior vice president of marketing. Woodland Hills Neiman Marcus will also be opening its first Valley store on Sept. 5. The 120,000 square foot paean to luxury will debut at Westfield Topanga (that’s the northernmost Westfield mall in Woodland Hills, not to be confused with the Promenade.) Also under construction at the site is a 36,000-square-foot freestanding Crate & Barrel which, along with the NM store, are the final jewels in the crown of the mall’s $350 million renovation program. Burbank Not exactly a mall, The Burbank Collection is a “lifestyle center,” combining residences with a 40,000-square-foot retail component. The shell should be ready to deliver to individual tenants like Skechers and Barney’s Beanery within the next month or so. Valencia Construction of an 184,500-square-foot expansion is underway at Westfield’s Valencia property. The Patios at Westfield Town Center is scheduled to open in the second half of 2009, with 40 specialty stores and an open-air dining area. A 50,000-square-foot expansion of the center’s Macy’s is also planned. Lancaster The 610,396-square-foot Valley Central Shopping Center is not expanding but has been getting a major makeover. A Wal-Mart Supercenter recently opened and a Michaels arts and crafts store is scheduled to open in early fall on the site of the former Wal-Mart garden center. Another 32,000 square feet are planned but representatives of property owner Developers Diversified Realty declined to elaborate on potential tenants. Thousand Oaks The Oaks shopping center is adding 235,000 square feet of new retail to its 1.1 million-square-foot property. This month, a multi-level parking structure with 1,320 parking spaces opened, as did a new outdoor food court patio. On Sept. 5, Conejo Valley residents will be able to start shopping at the area’s first Nordstrom, and later in the year an upscale 14-screen, 74,000-square-foot movie theater with its own restaurant will open. “Nordstrom was the number one request from customer surveys,” said Rebecca Stenholm, senior manager of public relations for center owner Macerich. Staff Reporter Linda Coburn can be reached at (818) 316-3123 or at email@example.com .