With little opposition, plans for a large outdoor shopping mall next to Interstate 5 were approved this week by the Planning Commission.
Only minor changes were made by commissioners Monday night to plans for the 289,950-square-foot mall.
“It’s a very attractive project,” said Commissioner Sherri Butterfield. “It’s aesthetically pleasing and located right next to the freeway, which should attract shoppers.”
At this point, estimating how much the mall will generate in sales tax revenue isn’t possible, but city officials say the project should be a financial windfall.
Called the Freeway Retail Center, the project will be built on 49 acres near Pacific Park Drive between Cabot Road and Interstate 5. Building sizes range from a few thousand square feet to about 40,000 square feet.
Project developer, the Mission Viejo Co., hopes to attract volume wholesale-retail stores to anchor the mall. Also in the plans are restaurants, an auto service center, a carwash and small retail shops.
Little opposition was seen on Monday, with only one member of the public raising questions about the project. Commissioners discussed small changes, such as requiring the use of reclaimed water by the proposed carwash.
Part of the reason for the lack of dissension was an agreement that Mission Viejo ironed out with Laguna Hills, which is adjacent to the mall site.
The two communities and the Mission Viejo Co. had filed lawsuits over the project, seeking to control what is built on the property. However, a compromise was reached earlier this year that gave Laguna Hills input on the project and limited building space to less than 290,000 square feet.