Aliso Viejo Town Center
About the Aliso Viejo Town Center
As a master-planned community developed under the authority of the County of Orange, Aliso Viejo was envisioned to have up to 20,000 homes; 3,400 acres of parks, open space, recreation, schools and community facilities; and a central core comprised of 900 acres of business parks and commercial centers. The Aliso Viejo Planned Community Development Plan was approved in 1979 and established Aliso Viejo as the first planned community in California to envision a balance between the projected resident workforce and number of projected jobs within the City’s borders. The business parks and centrally located Aliso Viejo Town Center were expected to provide more than 22,000 jobs. To encourage live-and-work opportunities, the Development Plan ensured every home in Aliso Viejo was located within a half-mile of the business core and two miles of Aliso Viejo Town Center (Town Center).
Aliso Viejo’s residential and business communities continue to thrive but the City is almost completely built-out and limited in new development opportunities. Without available land for new development, the City finds itself in a position to seek alternative development options to provide amenities that ensure the needs and desires of its residential and business communities are being met. Town Center is fortunate to have nearly a 100% occupancy rate and tenants are generally performing at satisfactory or above average levels. However, as a middle-aged center, Town Center faces many challenges in the future.
The retail sector is constantly evolving and, at least four major new or substantially redeveloped shopping centers that would compete for the same customer and tenant base are proposed within a few miles. With the limited amount of retail space in Town Center and in Aliso Viejo in general, many residents are forced to shop and dine outside the City. According to a recent retail market study, “without additional retail and dining space, and with continued expansion and re-positioning of nearby competitive shopping centers, Town Center is at risk.” As the primary retail, dining, and entertainment district in Aliso Viejo, Town Center cannot afford to experience a major decline.
Community Design Process
Due to the fractured ownership within Town Center, including 25 property owners and 34 parcels, private redevelopment and reinvestment is highly unlikely. The City Council recognized this reality and authorized City staff to begin a process involving the private property owners re-imagining Town Center. The City’s role was simply to facilitate discussions and encourage the private property owners to coalesce behind a common vision for the future. The City does not own, nor control any land or buildings in Town Center.
Map of development parcel (separate owners represented by different colors)
In April 2017, the City of Aliso Viejo held three public design workshops along with numerous individual design sessions with key stakeholders, including Town Center commercial property owners, current tenants, property managers, and members of the Town Center HOA Board of Directors. At the conclusion of this weeklong, intensive, public design charrette process, a conceptual design of a reimagined Town Center “Gateway District” was developed and universally supported by all the participants (see Gateway District Renderings below).
The “Gateway District” is generally described as the vast parking area in front of Regal Edward Cinemas (identified by areas within the white dashed lines in the image below). In general, it is bound by Enterprise and Town Center Drive to the north; by the corner of Enterprise and Aliso Creek to the east; by Aliso Creek and the Town Center entry driveway south of Enterprise Drive to the south, and Edwards Regal Cinemas and the Town Center fountain to the west.
Gateway District area (areas within the white dashed lines)
The reimagined “Gateway District” renderings envision approximately 21 acres of retail, restaurant, entertainment, residential, boutique hotel, and office uses. In summary, the “Gateway District” revitalization project envisions a future with more restaurants, entertainment, and shopping choices for residents and businesses -- keeping tax revenue in our city and enhancing Aliso Viejo's high quality of life with a more vibrant core.
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- 2017 Charrette Process (Video)
- Imagining a Revitalized Town Center (Video)
- Charrette Opening Night Presentation (PDF)