Contact Us

DJM Planning To Add 300 Apartments To Huntington Beach's Bella Terra Shopping Center

A Huntington Beach retail center could soon be adding some housing.

DJM, the co-owner of what is now called the Bella Terra shopping center, has filed plans with the city of Huntington Beach to demolish a 210K SF Burlington Coat Factory building and 30K SF of adjacent retail space and construct a six-story building with retail and apartments in its place. It’s the latest transformation of the retail center, which was formerly called the Huntington Beach Mall.

DJM was looking at a lot of different options for the space including distribution or office uses, but it found that the highest and best use would be housing.

“There’s an argument in the United States that we’re over-retailed and under-housed,” DJM President Lindsay Parton said. As big-box tenants close or shrink, “it makes more sense to replace some of this empty square footage with housing than trying to find [new large tenants].”

A rendering of the proposed project in Huntington Beach.

The project as proposed would have 300 apartments, with 15%, or 45 units, designated as income-restricted affordable housing.

Huntington Beach is one of many Orange County cities that is pushing back against state housing goals that would require the entire county to adjust zoning rules by 2029 to allow for the creation of more than 180,000 homes throughout the county and 13,000 in Huntington Beach, Voice of OC reported. In Huntington Beach, more than 5,800 of those homes would have to be available to low-income families, the publication noted.

“There have been questions about why we need more affordable housing and more multifamily housing,” Parton said. “But our evaluation of what people want and what’s needed in a shopping center like this … is housing and other uses.”

The new housing would be spread across five floors that sit above 25K SF of retail space. Parton said he expects the retail in the development to be service-oriented tenants that would be convenient for the residents of the apartments.

As part of the project, DJM will also add parking for mall customers and apartment residents. The added parking in the development would go far toward reducing vehicular traffic at the site as it will not only create additional parking space but will link up to an existing parking structure making access to all the parking much easier, Parton said.

The SoCal-based private equity real estate developer acquired the retail center in 2005. Since then, it built out the portion of the mall that’s known as Bella Terra and redeveloped a 30-acre section of the property with 400 apartments and added a Costco. DJM now co-owns the Bella Terra shopping center with Prudential Real Estate Investors.

DJM anticipates that it will take a year to 18 months to move the project through the approvals process with the city of Huntington Beach, Parton said.