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Fashion Island at 45

by steve churmPublished: October 01, 2012

It’s not our mothers’ shopping center anymore. It’s better, with 40 new stores, a brand-new Whole Foods and enough restaurants to make any foodie drool with anticipation. The man at the helm is the Irvine Company’s Dan Sheridan, and he talked to us about what’s ahead for this iconic coast center.

Fashion Island is 45, and by all appearances it’s just now hitting its prime as one of the premier shopping and dining destinations on the West Coast. It is anything but the small retail atoll it looked like when it opened in 1967 with four department stores, none of which are around anymore.
These days, as they say in the surf lineup when the waves are good, Fashion Island is on fire.
Fashion Island is marking its anniversary with the continuation of its $100 million reinvestment in the 75-acre center, including the opening of the much-anticipated foodie favorite Whole Foods just last month. But according to The Irvine Company, the owner and operator of the iconic open-air coastal center, it’s far from finished. A series of longtime dining mainstays on the Newport Beach property, including Coco’s and El Torito, have been leveled, clearing the way for fresh dining offerings and a new 22,000-square-foot retail building now under construction near Macy’s.
When finished, it will not look like my mother’s shopping center of 1967, the year the center opened on a bluff with sweeping views of the Orange County coast and sparkling Pacific. Today’s Fashion Island is a meandering, palm-tree dotted shopping piazza with more than 100 stores and restaurants. It is the crown jewel in the Irvine Company’s portfolio of 40 Orange County shopping centers and 8.5 million square feet of retail space, including the Irvine Spectrum Center and the twin marketplaces in Tustin and north Irvine.


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