The Irvine difference

Ellen Bell explains how long-term ownership of shopping centers makes all the difference.

by Ellen Bell

It’s a sunny Saturday, and Woodbridge Center is full of life.

Parents relax with coffee as their children play on the central lawn.

Some take a break from shopping to enjoy ice cream in the shade. Others stretch out on Adirondack chairs and enjoy the spectacular view of North Lake.

That’s what I love about this place. It was wonderful when my kids grew up here, and it’s even better after a recent $30 million renovation. It’s the heart of this community.

Neighborhood shopping centers were a key element in the Irvine Master Plan, and they are still an important part of everyday life in the city today.

Unlike other cities where retail centers are often inconsistently managed and poorly maintained, Irvine’s shopping centers are more like showplaces. None of this happens by accident.

Woodbridge Village Center recently underwent a $30 million community reinvestment, creating new gathering spaces, play areas and seating with views of the North Lake. The central lawn often hosts live music and other community events.

Continuous community investment

In our community, Irvine Company is committed to keeping retail properties in immaculate condition. I call it “continuous community investment,” and the results are impressive.

In the past year alone, the company has made major improvements to Quail Hill Shopping Center, Alton Marketplace, Campus Plaza, Cypress Village Shopping Center, Walnut Village Center and University Center, with plans to improve all 24 retail centers.

Perhaps you’ve noticed the lush landscaping and mature trees, or the colorful tiles in the fountains. Or maybe you’ve enjoyed a meal outside, shaded in the summer or under heaters in the winter.

This strong commitment to reinvestment ensures that Irvine retail goes beyond the worn-out strip mall model.

We are fortunate to have vibrant, neighborhood gathering places, like my home center in Woodbridge, where people can connect and feel part of their community.