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MainPlace Mall Will Quietly Open New Wing

November 01, 1990|CHRIS WOODYARD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — In keeping with its low profile, MainPlace/Santa Ana plans to open a $10-million wing today without the ribbon-cutting, speeches and brass bands that often accompany such events.

That's because, mall officials say, there won't be too much to see for the next few days, aside from a splashy 20-foot-high neon light sculpture, an upscale stationery and gift shop, a shoe store and a men's clothier.

The new wing will eventually have 20 new stores, boosting the mall's total number of stores to 195.

Today, construction workers will tear down a partition that will reveal the new 32,000-square-foot wing. But visitors to the mall will mostly see a lot of blank white walls where retailers eventually will be, including a May Co. department store that is to open in May, 1991.

Judith Bijlani, the mall's marketing director, said the new wing will be opened in phases. A Wherehouse videotape and music store will open in about a week, followed later this month by several other stores.

"We're taking the wall down, but we're not going to advertise until next week," Bijlani said.

MainPlace/Santa Ana opened in 1987 at the former site of the 1950s-era Santa Ana Fashion Square.

Situated on North Main Street near the Santa Ana and Garden Grove freeways, the mall is close to several other malls.

The mall's many skylights give it an open, airy feeling during the day. It has three major department stores: Bullock's, Nordstrom and Robinson's.

The center ranked third in sales in Orange County during the third quarter of 1989, behind South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa and Brea Mall. Bijlani said Main Place should move into second place when fourth-quarter figures are released.

"They are doing better than I thought they would," said Alfred Gobar, a Brea real estate consultant. "They are close to the Mall of Orange, close to The City (in Orange) and South Coast Plaza."

Gobar said the mall appears to be luring away shoppers from the Mall of Orange and the Anaheim Plaza. He said MainPlace is "well designed and fairly efficient."

While having such features as a large food court, the mall also has unusual touches such as an outdoor plant nursery and a minibus shuttle service to major tourist hotels in Anaheim. Bijlani said tourists account for about 20% of the mall's business.

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