When is the gift box itself the gift? Not often--but it will happen Friday with the opening of Montebello Town Center at the juncture of Paramount Boulevard and the Pomona Freeway.
The $95-million, 850,000-square-foot center will be wrapped gift-style with four-foot-wide ribbons adorned with 7-by-10-foot bows around its entire circumference, according to the developers, who said the center's opening will give an entire new dimension to the phrase "ribbon cutting."
The developers are Donahue Schriber, Costa Mesa-based retail and commercial development firm among whose recent projects is the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, and Sepulveda Properties Inc., working with the Montebello Community Redevelopment Agency.
The two-level enclosed mall will open with three anchor stores, a 139,000-square-foot J C Penney, an 84,000-square-foot Mervyn's and a 122,000-square-foot May Co., and an expected 70 specialty shops, including The Limited, Kinney's, Mrs. Fields Cookies and Miller's Outpost. Mervyn's and May Co. will open with the mall Thursday and Penney will open Oct. 2.
The center is 90% committed for lease. The developers said a fourth major department store of about 100,000 square feet is planned and the full development will include 168 specialty stores and restaurants on the 54-acre site, with surface parking for 3,900 cars.
An 8,043-square-foot Marie Callender restaurant will be joined by 15 other eating establishments in the mall's international food court.
The center's architect, Gruen Associates of Los Angeles, designed a color scheme of warm shades of terra cotta and sand. The exterior is made of rough-textured split-faced block with reflective glass vaults enclosed by masonry arches accenting each of the mall's four main entrances. Barrel-vaulted skylights run the entire length of the mall to provide natural light for the extensive landscaping.
The general contractor is Charles Pankow Inc., Altadena, and financing was provided through Wells Fargo Bank.
Donahue Schriber, which also serves as exclusive leasing agent for the center, said the retail mix will stress men's, women's and children's apparel appealing to the diverse ethnic population--about 60% Latino and the balance largely Asian--through local, regional and national clothing merchants.
The firm estimated that more than 1 million people live in the Montebello Town Center's primary area, a seven-mile radius touching the communities of Rosemead, El Monte, South El Monte, Whittier, Alhambra, San Gabriel, Pico Rivera, City of Commerce and Monterey Park.
"As the area's first enclosed regional mall," Donald Donahue, chairman of Donahue Schriber, said, "Montebello Town Center obviously will be offering extensive retail services, but will also serve as an entertainment and social outlet for the local community.
"The center's focus is on the family, on becoming a place the entire family can enjoy together."