Laguna Hills Mall schedules public hearing for future relocation

The interior of the Laguna Hills Mall has sat abandoned since 2018. Brandon Chavez/ Lariat

The Laguna Hills City Council welcomes feedback on new plans for the new mall location

The city council will hold a public hearing to consider adopting a new redevelopment plan for the Laguna Hills Mall on April 27 at 7 p.m. in the Heritage Room of the Laguna Hills Community Center. It is an event open to everyone, and those in attendance will have a chance to share their thoughts on the project. Additionally, comments can be mailed before the hearing to 24035 El Toro Road, Laguna Hills, California 92653. 

The city council will introduce the Village at Laguna Hills, a Merlone Geier investment firm’s proposed plan to transform the 67.8 acres Laguna Hills Mall site into a mixed-use center complete with retail, office and residential buildings. In addition to a five-story hotel and 2.6-acre community park, the area will house a 50,000 square foot movie theater with 1,200 seats. Should the project be approved, construction will begin in late 2022 or early 2023.

Village at Laguna Hills will replace the former redevelopment plan called Five Lagunas, which called for the construction of 962,000 square feet of retail and used part of the mall structure. The new proposal tones down on retail, subtracting 676,000 square feet from what was initially envisioned. A majority of the space will be dedicated to residential, which accounts for 30 of the 67.8 acres available. 

Currently, the Laguna Hills Mall building is home to the Open Market OC and Design Center Furniture, which reside in the former Macy’s location. Merlone Geir intends to bulldoze what is left of the original mall and the surrounding abandoned buildings and keep businesses operating outside the construction zone. There will be two open houses happening on April 16 and 17 from 9-12 p.m., so those interested can review and ask questions about the project.