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$46-Million Mall Planned on Former O.C. Hughes Site

O.C. BUSINESS PLUS

Retail: Fullerton project, to be anchored by Target Greatland, could be completed by November.

January 20, 2001|MARC BALLON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Florida developer said Friday that it has bought a 41.5-acre site on the old Hughes Aircraft Co. property in Fullerton and will break ground next week on a $46-million shopping mall anchored by a Target Greatland store.

Regency Realty Corp., a real estate investment trust in Jacksonville, said it paid $23.4 million to acquire the property, at Malvern Avenue and Gilbert Street, from SunCal Cos. in Anaheim.

The construction cost excludes the 143,000-square-foot Target Greatland, a beefed-up version of the regular discount store. Regency sold 12 acres it had acquired to Target Corp. for $7 million.

The mall, called Amerige Heights Town Center, will have about 40 businesses, including Old Navy, Albertsons and Barnes & Noble outlets. Leases should be signed within 30 days, said Mark Harrigian, a Regency senior vice president. The project should be completed by November, he said.

Amerige Heights should fare well because it will be close to Fullerton's tony Sunny Hills neighborhood and several miles away from its nearest competition, the Brea Mall, said Ian Brown, senior vice president of Grubb & Ellis, a Newport Beach real estate brokerage.

A nearby development of 1,250 upscale houses called Amerige Heights, approved by the City Council four months ago, should boost sales at the mall, he said.

But real estate consultant Al Gobar questioned whether the mall would ever attract enough customers to become better than average. With some low-income neighborhoods and industrial parks also nearby, "it's not in a gangbusters location," he said.

Compared with other regional shopping centers, Amerige Heights is half the size of the Buena Park Mall, which has 80 stores in 1.2 million square feet of space, and a quarter the size of Brea Mall, with 180 stores in 1.3 million square feet.

Regency's purchase, completed last month, represents about 15% of the 270 acres that once housed a Hughes complex that had employed nearly 15,000 engineers and support staff in the mid-1980s. SunCal had purchased the property for $60 million in December 1998, from Raytheon Co., which had bought Hughes a year earlier.

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