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Santa Ana Planning Commission Approves MainPlace Mall Transformation

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Centennial Real Estate is one step closer to transforming Santa Ana’s MainPlace Mall.

The Santa Ana Planning Commission earlier this month approved Centennial’s re-entitlement to convert the 1.5M SF shopping mall at 2800 North Main St. to a $300M mixed-use urban village that includes plenty of open space, a 400-room hotel, 750K SF of office space and 1,900 residential units.

Centennial Real Estate Co. is planning a $300M transformation of the MainPlace Mall Santa Ana
Centennial Real Estate Co. is planning a $300M transformation of the MainPlace Mall Santa Ana.

The project now goes before the City Council for approvals that could come as early as June 4, according to the Orange County Register.

“This is a tremendous amenity to the city of Santa Ana and Orange County,” Centennial Real Estate President and CEO Steven Levin said to the commission May 13

Santa Ana City Manager Kristine Ridge will speak about projects in the city during Bisnow’s Orange County State of the Market event June 12.

Centennial’s move to transform MainPlace from a retail shopping mall to a mixed-use regional destination highlights the retail industry’s recent struggles.

Once a ubiquitous part of cities nationwide, some malls have struggled to adapt and bring shoppers in as they face the growing threat of e-commerce and people's growing preference to shop at home.

Levin told the commission that since the company acquired the mall in 2015, the mall has lost $55M in gross sales and 35 stores have left.

"We've had to deal with retail's decline and the fact that malls in today’s environment need to change," Levin said. 

"[But] this location and this mall has tremendous strength," he said.

Once known as the Santa Ana Fashion Square, Centennial plans to change the makeup of the mall from 90% retail to 50% for shopping and the rest for entertainment, food and a community gathering place.

If approved, the 43-acre site will be re-entitled to have 1.4M SF of commercial, 750K SF of office, a 400-room hotel and 1,900 residential units. 

Levin said when fully built out, the site will contain two water features, new and improved bike lanes and roads, bike lockers, pedestrian walkways, landscaping and open space.

There will be a food emporium and a grocery store on the ground level of the residential development. 

As part of the deal, the city will have access to the common areas to host events and bring the community together, according to city staff

"This will be a gathering place for the community," Levin said.

Hear more about projects shaping the area at Bisnow's Orange County State of the Market event June 12 at the Irvine Marriott.