(Laguna Niguel, Calif.) – The Laguna Niguel City Council voted on Tuesday evening to unanimously approve the Laguna Niguel City Center mixed use project proposed by Burnham Ward Properties and Sares Regis Group with their 5-0 vote. The Laguna Niguel City Center will feature vibrant mixed-use retail & restaurant spaces, offices, a new County of Orange library, stylish apartment homes and a large “town green” at the center of the project to host a range of community events.
The Laguna Niguel City Center is a long-anticipated amenity that will provide Laguna Niguel residents with a central meeting place with increased dining and retail options in the city. During the meeting, Laguna Niguel Mayor Elaine Gennawey noted that residents will no longer have to travel to neighboring cities for the best culinary experiences. “My City Council colleagues and I fully support the Laguna Niguel City Center and look forward to the dynamic mix of restaurants, retail, new library, and amenities that this brings to our city,” Mayor Gennawey said. “The residents of Laguna Niguel deserve the best and this long-awaited project will be an incredible asset to our community at no cost to the taxpayer.”
During the meeting, Burnham Ward Properties President and Partner, Bryon Ward, and Sares Regis Managing Director, Chris Payne, presented to the City Council, City staff, and a full audience of community members and stakeholders. The architecture presented pays homage to Laguna Niguel’s ranching heritage, with the use of natural woods, steel and stone depicting an agrarian modern feel to evoke the impression that the buildings and site were developed over time. “We have been incredibly detailed and thoughtful in our design to highlight Laguna Niguel’s deep ranching, agrarian roots and commitment to open space. We pushed the design to deliver a unique Napa Valley ‘esque experience that will prioritize food offerings and great spaces between the buildings – all in a vibrant mixed-use and dynamic live-work setting” Mr. Ward said. “Not only does the architecture respect Laguna Niguel’s history, we will also include romantic patio spaces, meandering paseos, herb gardens, water features and a range of public art within the project that will continue to tell Laguna Niguel’s unique story for future generations.”
The unique and distinct architectural concept and project features were influenced by numerous public meetings and input received from community stakeholders. “We are very appreciative of the community’s interest in the property and willingness to engage with us to help shape the best project possible for the site.” Mr. Payne said. “Our community engagement efforts were well received and input from city staff, community leaders and concerned citizens was a critical component of how the project evolved over multiple years leading to approval of this iconic project which we anticipate will become the heart of the city.”
The Laguna Niguel City Center is a great example of how public-private-partnerships (P3s) work to benefit the residents within the County of Orange. Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District Supervisor, has long been a strong supporter and advocate for P3s across the County. “This project demonstrates the many benefits of P3s and will not only allow for a long-term revenue stream for the County with no taxpayer burden, it will also be a tremendous asset for the City and residents of Laguna Niguel,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett.
Several Laguna Niguel residents also spoke in support of the project during the public comment portion of the evening. Notably, the Laguna Niguel Friends of the Library announced their support of building the new, larger County of Orange library facility. “A few years ago when we first heard about this project, we expressed concerns about the original design and location of the new library.” said Friends of the Laguna Niguel Library President, Peggy Schwartz. “However, after several meetings with the developers, who have listened and acted upon our concerns, the Friends of the Library cannot wait to move into our new state-of-the-art library, it will be the best library in the County.” The Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce’s President & CEO, Scott Alevy, also shared the Chamber’s support of the project, “Our Board of Directors recently voted unanimously in support of this project” Alevy said. “We are excited for the business and opportunities it will bring to Laguna Niguel.”
With the unanimous vote, Burnham Ward Properties and Sares Regis Group will proceed with planning and permitting, working closely with the City of Laguna Niguel and the County of Orange, and anticipate to break ground mid-2023. For more information, the public can visit lagunaniguelcitycenter.com.