Irvine Spectrum Center

Irvine’s retail centers deliver resort-like experiences

by Ellen Bell

MUCH MORE than a place to shop, Irvine’s retail centers are places of respite: outdoor, resort-like retreats to connect with friends or relax with a book, catch live music or try the newest restaurant.

Irvine’s master planners placed the centers in the heart of villages, often a short walk from home.

And the centers are also constantly improving to match the needs of Irvine’s residents.

In most cities, the life cycle of a retail center is short-lived; there’s a period of “newness,” followed by a cycle of aging and minimal repair.

Woodbury Town Center.

Not in Irvine.

Its centers thrive due to continual reinvestment from Irvine Company. More than a coat of paint, centers evolve with the changing needs of residents to attract the brands people love.

Take a look at Woodbridge Village Center.

A $30 million reinvestment in 2018 removed revenue-generating buildings in favor of a lakefront plaza and more space for small, independent restaurants. It thrives today, as it did when it opened in 1979.

Woodbridge Village Center.

At Irvine Spectrum, a $200 million reinvestment replaced a big-box store with 30 new fashion boutiques, cafes and restaurants.

This is happening all around town, where the Company has reinvested about $350 million in recent years at more than a dozen retail centers.


Retail Comparison

“In other communities, stores wear out, signage gets old, colors fade, and parking lots fall apart,” says longtime retail analyst Greg Stoffel, of Stoffel & Associates. “You don’t see that in Irvine.”

Other cities do not benefit from continual reinvestment and long-term ownership of shopping centers.