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YOU ARE HERE: LAT Home → Collections → Remodeling ADS BY GOOGLE

Big Expansion Is Proposed for The Block

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Shopping: Owners of Orange entertainment center plan to increase size about 40% , adding upscale stores and live theater. Submit

July 02, 1999 | ALLISON COHEN and LESLIE EARNEST | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES With the competition increasing between Orange County's shopping and entertainment centers, the Block at Orange plans to grow by about 40%, adding more upscale stores and a live theater complex. The center's owner, Virginia-based Mills Corp., submitted plans to the city of Orange on Wednesday for a proposed 250,000- to 300,000-square-foot expansion on the west side of the center. It would add two levels of shops, entertainment and restaurants on what is now a parking lot. ADS BY GOOGLE ADVERTISEMENT

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The expansion of what is already the largest entertainment complex ever built in Orange County stems from its successful opening last November, said Giancarlo Filartiga, Mills' development director. The goal is to reach "a different kind of audience" by installing higher-end stores, he said. FROM THE ARCHIVES Southland Expansions, Relocations Surge February 20, 1997

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He declined to elaborate on the plans or reveal possible tenants. Mills hopes to have city approval by the end of the year, and have the new addition open by Thanksgiving of 2000, city planner Chris Carnes said. So far, the Block has been a youth-oriented complex, with the popular Van's Skate Park as its most highprofile tenant. The center also has a Ron Jon Surf Shop, two game centers, a 30-screen theater and a variety of stores and restaurants. Not everyone is persuaded that the center will attract big spenders, even if it adds more upscale stores. "I don't think that would work," said Linda Crowley, owner of Urban Street Advisors, an Irvine retail consultant. "The demographics are not high-end."

Remodeling Orange (ca) -- Development And Redevelopment

The center would have stiff competition from upscale stores at nearby malls, such as MainPlace/Santa Ana, South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa and the Brea Mall, she said.

Block (shopping Center) Shipping Centers

Live entertainment also is shaping up as a hotly competitive niche. In April, the Crazy Horse Steak House in Santa Ana and Irvine Improv comedy club announced that they will move to the Irvine Spectrum Center off the San Diego and Santa Ana freeways in South County.

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Disneyland's expansion and the planned Pointe Anaheim project across the street from the big Anaheim theme park also plan to have live theater. "We're reaching a point of over-saturation," said Zev Buffman, chief executive of Musiclive LLC, which plans to operate three live theaters at Pointe Anaheim. The parking spaces consumed by the Block's addition would be replaced with either one large parking structure on the west side of the center, or two smaller structures, one on the east and the other on the west. An environmental impact report still must still be submitted for city review, Carnes said. The 811,000-square-foot center recently reported an average of 245,000 weekly visitors, and expects to draw more than 13 million visitors this year. ADS BY GOOGLE

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