Residential/business complex proposed to replace shopping center in Newport

A mixed-use development containing 384 rental housing units and 5,677 square feet of business space is proposed to replace Newport Beach’s MacArthur Square shopping center near John Wayne Airport.

Irvine-based Newport Place Residential LLC is proposing The Residences at Newport Place, which would consist of four four-story buildings with retail or restaurant space on the first floor and residences on the top three floors.

The development is planned for the corner of Dove Street and Scott Drive, just west of MacArthur Boulevard. The area is surrounded by low- to midrise office buildings, commercial centers, restaurants, a car wash and the Radisson Hotel.

The Newport Beach Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the proposal in June.

The housing aspect of the development would consist of 54 studio units averaging about 616 square feet, plus 173 one-bedroom units averaging 804 square feet, 136 two-bedroom units averaging about 1,178 square feet and 21 three-bedroom units averaging 1,422 square feet.

Of the 384 units, 86 would be considered low-income housing but would have the same amenities as market-rate units, according to the proposal.

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Project plans show a street-level parking area and two subterranean parking levels totaling 715 spaces.

Newport Place Residential is proposing to raze the 5.7-acre MacArthur Square center, built in 1974. It includes retail stores, professional and medical offices, a dance studio and several restaurants, including Arnie’s Manhattan Deli, which has been there for more than a decade.

A project description prepared in 2014 by KHR Associates, a consultant for Newport Place Residential, calls the now-42-year-old shopping center “aging, underutilized and underperforming.”

“The shopping center’s economic survival relies primarily on the weekday influx of workers to the area, as there are no residential developments within a mile of the site,” the report states.

The Residences at Newport Place also would include amenities such as a swimming pool, two spas, private cabanas, a community clubhouse, a business center, a recreation and fitness center, courtyards, two children’s play areas, barbecue areas and a rooftop gathering space, or “sky deck.”

Plans also show a 59-foot-wide, half-acre linear open space along the southern part of the property, with a pedestrian walkway between Dove Street and Martingale Way. Newport Place Residential has proposed that the area be gated but available to the public during daytime.

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City land-use policies require that the project dedicate a half-acre as a public park, but Newport Place Residential has asked that the requirement be waived so it can maintain the project’s requested density, according to a city staff report.

Dozens of Newport Beach residents, along with professionals who work in the area, wrote letters to planning commissioners urging them to preserve the shopping center. Several letter writers specifically want Arnie’s Manhattan Deli to remain.

“Newport Beach doesn’t need more housing — it’s overpopulated as it is,” resident Stacey Cleveland wrote. “I have been eating at Arnie’s for years and it is a staple in the community. … I beg you, please leave the shopping center alone.”

The development proposal originally was going to be considered by the Planning Commission on Thursday, but the meeting has been canceled. It instead is expected to be heard June 9.


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