When Edwin and I had lunch at the new Loft Hawaiian in Costa Mesa last week, I struck up a conversation with the cashier. Actually, it was mostly me profusely thanking them for opening a location closer to home. What he disclosed to me next was nothing short of major scoopage!
Said employee went on to say that they are narrowing down a location for a future Irvine branch. When I
pressed kindly asked for more information, the insider stated, "either by UCI or in Mitsuwa Marketplace." Come again? "Yeah, they're building another one now." Where? "I don't know."
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To hear folks mock Irvine for its chain restaurants and cookie cutter communities is amusing when one considers it also houses two 99 Ranch Markets, H-Mart, Wholesome Choice, Super Irvine, Zion Market, and now a future location of the largest Japanese supermarket in the U.S. Who knew Regency Centers (yes, non-Irvine Company property management does exist) would include master plans of such ethnic proportions?
Currently undergoing a $10 million dollar makeover, Heritage Plaza, at the intersection of Culver and Walnut, will be Mitsuwa's next home. The largest space to close in the plaza was Ace Hardware, so the 13, 853 square feet needed to accommodate a grocery store and food court will most likely set up shop there. In an OC Metro article, Gregg Sadowsky, Senior Vice-President for Regency Centers, stated, "The addition of Mitsuwa Marketplace further strengthens the tailored merchandise mix at Heritage Plaza. [It meets] the growing need for Asian products in the surrounding Irvine community."
Estimated completion is slated for November of this year. Hard to say if this is a blessing or curse, as the plaza is already packed more often than not. Fortunately, the recent addition of a looooooong right turn lane is helping with some of the notorious congestion. We'll just have to mark our calendars and see.