Related California eyes 42-acre mixed-use project in Santa Ana

Project near South Coast Plaza to include 4K apartments, offices, retail and a hotel

Related California's Bill Witte and a rendering of Related Bristol at 3694 S Plaza Drive in Santa Ana (City of Santa Ana, Related California)
Related California's Bill Witte and a rendering of Related Bristol at 3694 S Plaza Drive in Santa Ana (City of Santa Ana, Related California)

The West Coast wing of a New York developer aims to replace a Santa Ana shopping center north of South Coast Plaza with a mixed-use development of thousands of homes, offices, shops, restaurants and a hotel.

Related California, the Irvine-based affiliate of New York-based Related Companies, has filed plans to build the 42-acre project at 3694 S Plaza Dr., the Orange County Business Journal reported. 

The project, dubbed Related ­Bristol, would replace the 460,000-square-foot Metro Town Square, which includes a Vons supermarket, Ross Dress for Less and a Bed Bath & Beyond at Bristol Street and MacArthur Boulevard.

Related has agreed to assume a 99-year ground lease for the shopping center, owned by the Callens family for more than a century.

Plans for the 3,750 apartments, 200 senior housing units, 350,000 square feet of offices, shops and restaurants, and a 250-room hotel. Pending approvals, Related could break ground in 2026 and complete the project in phases by 2036.

The first phase would include the 250-room “premium” hotel, a 20-story tower with a 200-unit senior assisted living facility, plus a 47,000-square-foot grocery store to replace the Vons. A tree-lined paseo would be accessible to cars, with a pedestrian trail throughout.
Thirteen acres would be set aside as open space, with plazas and parks to serve as community gathering hubs.

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The center’s residential development is expected to be mixed-income, with rental units favored over for-sale homes. The number of affordable homes, if any, was not disclosed.

The development is next to another redevelopment project proposed for the South Coast Plaza Village shopping center by affiliates of C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, based in Costa Mesa. Together, they could add 5,000 homes, plus retail, between Sunflower Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard.

Related Bristol is being billed as a “new gateway into Santa Ana.”

Its replacement of the aging shopping center points toward a retail shift toward ecommerce, according to developers. Metro Town Square has nearly 100 tenants, with all of the leases expiring in 2025.

A quarter of the shopping center is made up of big-box retailers Ross Dress, which plans to close as part of a corporate restructuring, and Bed Bath & Beyond, which announced plans to shutter 150 stores nationwide.

— Dana Bartholomew

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