Most developers are hesitant to build a two-story retail center unless it is a regional mall, according to Frank Harlem of Coldwell Banker, but Pacific Development Group of Newport Beach has built one in Santa Ana with the help of Collins General Contractors of San Diego that is not a regional mall.
The $2.4-million center, on the northwest corner of Bristol Street and Sunflower Avenue, was designed by Herbert Nadel AIA & Partners of Santa Monica to make the second level more accessible to shoppers by dropping the first floor four feet below ground level.
Merchants are often wary of locating on a second level because they fear that customers will be reluctant to venture upstairs, Harlem said, but Nadel's design has already helped to alleviate that. The project is just being completed and is 60% leased through the efforts of Harlem's office.
Another factor is location, he said. Situated across the street from South Coast Plaza, which may become the largest regional mall when its planned additions are completed, the smaller center is expected to gain some of the mall's overflow shoppers.
Known as the Bristol/Sunflower Plaza, the center consists of three buildings totaling 40,000 square feet.