In a search for innovators in experiential retail, Chain Store Age asked readers to nominate retail centers worthy of being named among the Top 10 Retail Center Experiences in the nation. The editors’ picks continue with No. 5 Irvine Spectrum Center:
Diverse dining options and singular entertainment — that’s today’s formula for retail survival.
But Donald Bren, chairman of The Irvine Company and master of master-planners, got that ball rolling some 20 years ago at Irvine Spectrum Center, the de facto “town center” of Orange County, Calif.
“Forty percent of our GLA is dedicated to food, beverage, and entertainment,” Irvine Retail Properties president Butch Knerr said. “Everybody questioned us at first. Now everybody’s chasing what we’re doing.”
The 5,000-acre development includes office space and resort-style homes, several world-class restaurants, and the highest-grossing movie theater in the country. A $200 million reinvestment in the property intends to bring 30 new stores and restaurants to the center and build on its 17 million annual visitors.
And then there are the trees.
“We have more than 400 mature trees, including olive trees that are more than 100 years old,” Knerr said. “What’s so unique about Spectrum Center, what sets us apart, is our lush landscaping.”