MainPlace/Santa Ana Plans to Grow, Add Anchor Store

Times Staff Writer

MainPlace/Santa Ana is planning a major expansion--including the likely addition of a May Co. department store--only 20 months after a complete renovation that transformed the mall into one of Orange County's most successful shopping centers.

The expansion plans, confirmed Friday by executives with JMB/Urban Development Co., call for the addition of a fourth anchor store encompassing about 150,000 square feet and about 20 smaller retail shops on two levels, totaling about 35,000 square feet.

Additional Parking Structure

The new stores are scheduled to open in the spring of 1991, said John Gabriel, vice president and regional director of leasing with JMB. At least one additional parking structure will also be built, Gabriel said.

In addition, a 30-story, 600,000-square-foot office tower--the first of three planned for the MainPlace project--could be added at the same time, JMB officials said.

The renovation plans were disclosed this week in Las Vegas at the Spring Convention of the International Council of Shopping Centers, a retail trade group. Brochures distributed by JMB Properties and JMB/Federated Realty Co. showed what Gabriel described as "preliminary design ideas."

The brochure included a map with a site designated as "future May Co." at the north end of the existing mall. It stated that the project will open in fall, 1990.

Gabriel confirmed that the renovation will include about 20 shops and a new anchor store, but he declined to discuss whether May Co. would be coming in.

But Edgar Magniafico, chairman of the May Co. California, confirmed that his company "has been working very closely" with JMB on negotiations to become the fourth anchor.

"It's true that we anticipate going into the center," Magniafico said, noting that a deal is likely. He added, however, that, "we haven't completed the details."

The proposed MainPlace store would be the chain's seventh in Orange County--joining outlets in Brea, Buena Park, Mission Viejo, Westminster, Orange and Costa Mesa. In the latter two cities, the May Co. stores are at The City Shopping Center and South Coast Plaza, respectively.

The Santa Ana site is only a few miles from the May Co. store at The City Shopping Center. Retail industry experts speculated that May Co. is likely to close the Orange store, an older outlet with only about 140,000 square feet of space.

Magniafico said that May Co. has made "absolutely no decision" about the store at The City Shopping Center. The store's manager, Janet Hausrath, declined to comment on potential plans to close the store.

For MainPlace, the May Co. would add a lower-priced merchandise mix now lacking from the mall. MainPlace's three existing anchors are Bullock's, Nordstrom and Robinson's--all upscale stores with merchandise generally priced higher than May Co. inventory.

For May Co., the Santa Ana site would serve shoppers from the Tustin area as well as capturing customers traveling on the Santa Ana freeway.

"If you head south, the first May Co. is in Mission Viejo," said one retailer. "There's a lot of growth between Santa Ana and Mission Viejo. . . . It's a really good move on their part."

The new store also would give May Department Stores Co.--the parent of both Robinson's and the May Co. stores--two outlets at the Santa Ana center. Magniafico said he does not believe the two stores would conflict because they appeal to different markets.

The mall's developers are Cincinnati-based JMB/Federated and Henry T. Segerstrom, managing partner and an owner of South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.

More Office Towers

Plans for the center include development by the same partnership of a $300-million office and hotel complex surrounding MainPlace. Over a 10-year period, the project eventually would include two 30-story office towers and a third 12-story office tower, according to the original plans.

In addition to the May Co. and the 20 smaller stores, the JMB brochure stated that 7,700 parking spaces and 600,000 square feet of office space would be added in the next expansion phase.

But it has not yet been decided if the 600,000-square-foot office building shown on the preliminary plans will be built at the same time as the new anchor and retail stores, according to a source close to the project. "That depends on major tenant commitments," he said.

At least one parking structure will also be built. Construction of a second proposed structure will depend on if and when the office buildings are added, the source said.

While news of the renovation surprised some local retailers, plans to further develop MainPlace have been discussed for some time.

Dramatic Remodeling

The original mall, which became Orange County's second shopping center when it opened in 1958, underwent a dramatic remodeling as well as a name change several years ago.

Much of the mall, which used to be known as Fashion Square, rose from what had been a parking lot south of the Bullock's store. Most of Fashion Square, which had 30 stores, was demolished to make room for a flashy new open-air shopping center.

The $90-million redesign took almost 2 years to complete and created a total of 170 enclosed shops, restaurants, a gourmet produce store and a food court, surrounded by waterfalls, marble hallways, arched windows and neon art.

Press materials distributed when the renovated mall opened in September, 1987, "conservatively" projected $200 million in sales for the first year of operation, according to Bob Little, a vice president with JMB's Los Angeles office.

In an interview Friday, David Longbine, western area manager for JMB, said 1988 gross sales at MainPlace were just under $200 million. "We've been registering increases over 20% each month," Longbine said.

For the third quarter of 1988, taxable retail sales at MainPlace/Santa Ana totaled $40.5 million, ranking the mall in fourth place among Orange County shopping centers, according to a report prepared by the State Board of Equalization.

MAIN PLACE

EXISTING CENTER

Major Stores: Nordstrom (150,000 square feet), Bullock's (225,000), Robinson's (142,500)

Small Stores: 170 (420,000)

RETAIL EXPANSION

Major Stores: May Company (150,000)

Small Stores: 20 (35,000)

TOTAL AFTER EXPANSION

Total Retail Area: 1,158,000 square feet

Parking: 7,700 spaces (5,081 current)

THIRD QUARTER TAXABLE SALES (In thousands of dollars)

%Change Rank from 1987 in 1987 1988 Rank 3rd Quarter 3rd Quarter South Coast Plaza $144,991 1 +4.1% 1 Brea Mall $42,146 2 -2.0 2 Westminster $40,696 3 -1.2 3 MainPlace/Santa Ana $40,560 4 +221.5 12 Fashion Island/ $38,345 5 -4.5 4 Newport Center Huntington Center $34,521 6 +7.8 5 Buena Park Mall $32,352 7 +6.6 6 Laguna Hills $31,314 8 +4.7 7 Mission Viejo $29,905 9 +6.6 8 Mall of Orange $27,102 10 +2.0 9 City Shopping Center $17,851 11 -3.3 11 Anaheim Plaza $14,467 12 -22.1 10 Honer Plaza $6,363 13 +0.7 13 La Habra $5,594 14 -5.2 14

Source: State Board of Equalization and Los Angeles Times Marketing Research Department.

Source: JMB Urban Development Co.

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