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GlobeSt.com: Working with Multiple Mixed Uses

by Carrie Rossenfeld

Coming up with architecture that works for all of the uses is one challenge in developing mixed-use projects, Regency Centers Corp.’ SVP, senior market officer, John Mehigan tells GlobeSt.com. As we recently reported the firm recently has closed on the land that will become the nearly $40-million, ground-up development known as the Village at Tustin Legacy here. The center, which will sit at the core of the new 1,600-acre master-planned community of Tustin Legacy, will be neighbored by a 130,000-square-foot medical complex, 1.9 million square feet of office space and more than 6,800 new residential homes at total build-out. We spoke exclusively with Mehigan about the project and the benefits and challenges of working with such a wide variety of mixed uses.

GlobeSt.com: What makes the Village at Tustin Legacy a special project for your company?

Mehigan: The Village at Tustin Legacy will provide a much-anticipated destination for daily needs, dynamic dining and desired services. Located on a portion of what was formerly a Marine Corps Air Station, the Village at Tustin Legacy will be built for the future, with architectural nods to a heritage rooted in aviation and industry. Outdoor patios connected by wide pathways, tall ceilings and windows set against deep steel-accented wood, accessible parking and convenient amenities will make the Village at Tustin Legacy a valued destination for years to come.

The property is unique in that it’s a ground-up retail and medical village. Nationally, we are being approached by medical uses that want to join our existing retail centers. This is the first time we have designed the use into one of our developments. This will be Regency’s 11th property in Orange County. The ten operating centers total more than 1.2 million square feet that is less than 1% vacant. Needless to say this is a very attractive market for Regency and retail in general.

GlobeSt.com: What are the benefits and challenges of working with the variety of mixed uses in this project?

Mehigan: Medical and retail have a lot of synergies, especially when it comes to grocery-anchored centers. Medical professionals want to be at the center of town, and for a lot of communities that’s the grocery store. In turn, the retail benefits from the additional traffic created by medical uses. We had some challenges coming up with architecture that worked for both retail and the medical uses. Good architecture is a signal to those outside as to what’s happening inside. Because of that, each of these uses should look distinct from one another. We spent a lot of time making sure each architecture style was true to its use, while maintaining a complementary design throughout the property.

GlobeSt.com: What trends are you noticing in the retail sector?

Mehigan: The “micro gym” (or deconstructed gyms) are an active and powerful tenant category. These are the smaller health-club uses such as spin, yoga, Pilates, and barre tenants (e.g., Orange Theory Fitness, Soul Cycle, Core Power Yoga, Cub Pilates and Pure Barre). They are becoming increasingly popular and a great co-tenant for a shopping centers. We have heard from grocery stores and restaurants who love being their co-tenant. Imagine this—every hour, 20 to 30 people leave the fitness club with that euphoric, post-workout feeling—those people are ready to shop, eat, or consume something.

GlobeSt.com: What else should our readers know about this project?

Mehigan: We are active developers, and this is our 12th development project in Southern California since 2011 (we will start our 13th next month). Four of these developments have been ground-up projects (most recently, the completed Village at La Floresta in North Orange County), and nine have been large redevelopments of our existing portfolio. We further enhance the quality of our portfolio through these developments by hand-crafting each center, based on the elements of our Fresh Look strategy. Fresh Look combines the right merchandising mixes with unique architecture and placemaking elements that connect with our shoppers and the communities we serve.

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