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OC Register: 22-acre retail center coming to Tustin Legacy

by Brooke Edwards Staggs

TUSTIN – A 22-acre retail center is in the works for Tustin Legacy, with plans for a grocery store, pharmacy, daycare center, medical facilities and more.

The Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously supported plans for The Village at Tustin Legacy. The project will now head to the City Council for a vote next month.

Regency Centers hopes to develop the 248,292-square-foot project adjacent to the Columbus Square neighborhood, on land bounded by Edinger Avenue, Tustin Ranch Road, Valencia Avenue and Kensington Park Drive.

More than a third of The Village will be retail. Stater Bros., CVS Pharmacy and Great Foundations Montessori daycare have signed leases, according to Omar Hussein with Regency Centers.

The developer is also in talks with a national bank and coffee chain, Hussein said, with “tremendous” interest in several smaller retail and drive-thru food spaces.

The other 150,000 square feet will be medical offices and an 80-bed acute care hospital/rehabilitation facility operated by Hoag Hospital.The project requires conditional use permits and specific plan amendments because of planned uses, building heights, signage and parking arrangements.

City staff assured residents and commissioners that concerns over traffic, noise and lighting would be addressed. And they’re still working with developers to tweak design plans, which call for “modern rustic” architecture that includes metal roofs and barn door features.

Fred Moore, who lives in the Tustin II neighborhood, said he’s “singularly unimpressed” with the tenants announced so far, hoping for more upscale development.

“I can actually see myself using this shopping center,” said Commissioner Austin Lumbard, who lives in Columbus Square. “I think this is an exciting day in Tustin.”

Regency Centers – which is also behind projects like Heritage Plaza in Irvine and Newland Center in Huntington Beach – hopes to start construction on The Village in 2016 and complete the project in three to five years.

The primary retail development in Tustin Legacy is The District shopping center, which includes 1 million square feet of retail. Another developer is working on the 37-acre Cornerstone I project, which would include creative office space plus a food hall on Barranca Parkway.