Developers hoping to renovate the Huntington Center have scrapped plans to turn the troubled shopping area into an upscale Italian village motif to rival the Block at Orange or Irvine Spectrum.
Ezralow Retail Properties LLC announced Tuesday it no longer plans to redevelop the 63-acre parcel to include a cobblestone plaza, specialty shops, restaurants and a multiplex theater that would be called the Crossings at Huntington Beach.
The developer, unable to get the Burlington Coat Factory to leave the center, plans to build a cluster of large block retail stores similar to the Tustin Marketplace instead.
"If Burlington stays, the Crossings concept is dead," said Ezralow President Douglas Gray. Ezralow asked the city last month to order Burlington and Wards out through eminent domain, but the City Council lacked the votes to do so. Wards has since announced plans to close the national retail chain.
City officials deny the upscale Crossings project is over, even with Burlington still in the picture.
"There's a specific plan that the developers promoted, and it was approved by the City Council," said Gus Duran, Huntington Beach redevelopment manager. "That specific plan for the Italian motif is what governs the redevelopment of that specific site. If they want to change it, they'll have to work their way back through the system, and the Planning Commission and City Council would have to agree on that."
As much as $17 million in city redevelopment money has been tagged to help pay for the project.