Fresh store transforms shopping center

NEWPORT BEACH — Thursday's grand opening of the Pavilions on the Balboa Peninsula marked the return of customer spending at a nearly all-new shopping center.

The somewhat-shabby shopping plaza at 32nd Street and Newport Boulevard underwent a transformation when major leases, including the long-standing Albertson's and community favorites Rice Land restaurant and Let It Roll bike shop, ran out in late summer.

The owner and developer of the property, Catellus, used the opportunity to reinvent the plaza as an upscale shopping center and redubbed it The Landing, said company spokesman Sean Whiskeman.

The 27,598 square-foot Pavilions, which features a full service deli, bakery, expanded produce, grocery, meat and seafood departments, alcohol, ATM and general merchandise, will be he center's anchor tenant. The Pavilions is the second full-service grocer on the Peninsula; the other, also a Pavilions in nearby Lido Village, is slated to close sometime this summer.

"Going into this, we were very focused on making sure that the tenant line-up serves the community," Whiskeman said. "We did a lot of research to understand the area, and we feel that it does a good job accomplishing that."

The exterior of the buildings were remodeled with wood and stone elements and fresh landscaping was added. The former Albertsons space was also expanded by 2,100 square-feet to add additional tenant space to be filled by a pizzeria at the end of this month, he said. In addition to the grocery store, multiple new tenants were brought in as a part of the center's remodeling.

A whole new 4,000 square-foot building was added where the center meets the corner of West Balboa Boulevard. Chase Bank will open in the space in July. The center will also welcome in Chipotle, Crow Burger and a dry cleaners, women's apparel boutique and a gelato shop.

Other tenants are being evaluated for the three remaining vacant spaces, including one restaurant, Whiskeman said.

The overall layout of the center has not changed much, however most of the tenants are new. The only remaining tenant to sign a new lease agreement, which included a hike in rent, is Newport Nails.

While it is not known how much rent went increased, Whiskeman said the "rent increased as much as could expected with new shopping center," and added that the developer had chosen to go in a new direction with the center by renovating it.

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