While the city has identified this spring as the first public discussion for the future of the Town Center Specific Plan, on Thursday, Centennial, the Dallas-based developer that owns the Valencia mall, shared a few recent examples of properties that share in the property’s potential.
“We do feel confident in saying that Valencia Town Center has the potential to become a multi-use, live-work-play destination similar to Hawthorn, Fox Valley and MainPlace that seamlessly and aesthetically combines retail, restaurants, entertainment, luxury living and office space in a single master-planned campus,” according to an email from Michael Platt, Centennial’s executive vice president for mixed-use development.
In a September interview, the company’s chief investment officer, Carl Tash, emphasized the new mixed-use campus would be much more integrated into its surrounding community, as opposed to the “retail island” he considered the current property to be.
Platt also echoed the cooperation that city of Santa Clarita officials cited earlier this month after sharing their preliminary notice of preparation for the Town Center Specific Plan.
City officials said they plan to bring the TCSP to the Planning Commission during the body’s April meeting.
The goal with the TCSP is to provide any developer with the feedback the city received from residents about what they want to see on the property, according to city officials. The city started its outreach before it knew Centennial would have ownership.
“And with the help of city officials working on behalf of the Santa Clarita community, we are committed to determining the best ways to enhance this center to meet the needs of residents and visitors alike,” Platt added.
When pressed for examples of what Centennial saw in terms of the mall’s potential, Platt shared three examples of projects the developer has worked on recently, but also added that the company is working with the city because its projects reflect the communities and markets that house them.
Hawthorn was one of the examples given as a project with similarities to what the Town Center could be.
Platt described Hawthorn as a “super-regional shopping center” in Vernon Hills, Illinois, which has a median income ($117,253) slightly higher than the city of Santa Clarita’s ($116,186), according to the most recent Census Bureau data, but with a population (26,759) that’s much smaller than the city’s (221,345).
That project is currently making a number of additions to a property that just celebrated its 50th anniversary, including The Domaine, a 311-unit luxury apartment development, which represents the start of a new phase of development for the project.
The Domaine, as well as another 250 apartments and a 3-acre amenitized plaza, are meant as complements for the project’s Hawthorn Row, “a significant retail platform expected to open in 2025 below The Domaine, forming a lively ‘Main Street’-style public gathering space between the luxury apartment buildings.”
Jason Crawford, Santa Clarita’s economic development director, previously mentioned the city’s success in attracting investment for Old Town Newhall’s Main Street as the type of mixed use it would like to see in the TCSP’s developments.
MainPlace in Orange County is “a three-story super-regional shopping center” from Centennial, in the 2800 block of Main Street in Santa Ana.
In October, Centennial announced Paloma, which Platt described as “a collection of 309 contemporary apartments built as a thoughtfully designed five-story apartment community with a modern architectural style and an enticing mix of indoor and outdoor recreation and gathering spaces.” The next phase of that development will include a new culinary plaza, he added.
Fox Valley in Aurora, Illinois, is another comparable concept, per Centennial, in a city with a slightly lower median income ($85,943) than Santa Clarita, but closer to population (177,866).
The three-story shopping center recently opened Lumen, a 304-unit luxury apartment community now being leased. He said the project is significantly ahead of schedule and 86% leased. It’s also working on luxury apartments expected to hit the market in 2025.
“The Centennial team is committed to this property and to the Santa Clarita community,” he wrote, “and we look forward to unveiling our redevelopment vision for Valencia Town Center in the near future — one that both maximizes its potential for today and as well as for tomorrow.”