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Chino Hills to get trendy shopping center

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Lesley Michaels
Staff Writer

Residents of Chino Hills anxiously await the grand opening of an upscale, open air shopping and lifestyle center.

The center will house 750,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, offices and civic buildings.

Just miles away from the 71 Freeway, the center is a convenient and central location for the anxious citizens.

“People come from far-away neighboring towns, from Whittier to Brea. They will see Chino Hills as a regional mall they want to come to,” Chino Hills Mayor Curt Hagman said.

The opening is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend.

The Shoppes at Chino Hills will house more than retail stores. In fact, the land will be used to develop a community for the city, including a government center.

“This will encompass the city hall, library, police, and fire headquarters,” Doug Labell, Chino Hills city manager said. “This will become downtown Chino Hills.”

There are numerous establishments other than Chino Hills in the Inland Empire, with open air shopping center of upscale retailers and gorgeous architecture.

The difference that Chino Hills brings to stand above the rest is its expansion beyond retail.

“What makes it different is that it’s created a downtown Main Street and a civic center all in one place,” Labell said. “When the government center opens, it will be the crowning jewel.”

Another difference that sets the Shoppes at Chino Hills above similar is the incorporation of landscaping into the project.

Several strategically chosen restaurants are incorporated at Shoppes.

A Yard House Bar and Grill is the first building upon entering from Peyton Drive.

Even the Yard House is unique in that it is the first prototype of its size.

Chipotle, a Mexican chain with speed rivaling that of other fast food restaurants, is also found at the Shoppes.

“We’re going for the ‘Gen-X’ and ‘Gen-Y’ groups here, those who are anywhere from 14 to 35 years old,” said Jeff Hill, vice president for Opus West, the real estate corporation that developed the Shoppes in Chino.

In addition to Chipotle as a magnet for the gen-x and gen-y crowd, several stores have been integrated to the upscale retail collection.

H&M, Pacific Sunwear, Hollister, XXI Forever and Buckle were among the most prevalent tenants at Chino Hills to attract youth and families in the area.

The buildings show aesthetic congruency, all reflecting a traditional yet contemporary style.

Each tenant is colored brightly in complementary hues of tans, red-orange, yellows and light blues.

The stores have carefully been placed in similar groups as one enters the heart of the shoppes.

The most impressive point, architecturally, aesthetically and content-wise is the center “anchor” point.

This area contains the largest retail stores on Main Street: Banana Republic, Victoria’s Secret, Chico’s and H&M.

“There is always an iconic building in any project from an architectural standpoint. For the shoppes, this is Main Street,” Hill said.

Real brick lines the sidewalks of Chino Hills and a large fountain inspired by the infamous jumping Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas provides a beautiful focal point, Hill said.

It has also been responsible for numerous office and retail structures across America.

Senior vice president for Opus West, Matt Landers, along with co-workers Hill and Labell have all been involved in the planning of the shoppes for four years.

“It has been a fun project to watch for the past four years,” Hagman said.

The construction began six to eight months ago, pandering to an expressed need of residents to present Chino Hills as a more upscale city.

“The citizens have expectations. We worked off the visions the residents gave us,” Hagman said.

The citizens of Chino Hills and surrounding communities are almost able to enjoy the new downtown area.

The site’s amenities which include shopping and dining will be completed on May 23.

Lesley Michaels can be reached at lmichaels@ulv.edu.

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