Triangle Square owner Kenny Won, who is listed on the city
applications, did not return phone calls.
Unlike other nightclubs proposed for the downtown area, Fugu did
not have to bring its plans to the Planning Commission for public
scrutiny, officials said. Valantine said Fugu was simply a restaurant
taking over another restaurant space, and the only minor issues were
the entertainment aspects and hours of operation.
While the hours are more aligned with that of a club than a
restaurant, Valantine said plans for the venue dedicate substantial
space to dining, including a sushi bar.
"Looking at the floor plan and the size of the kitchen, they have
a working model for a restaurant with a small dance floor," Valantine
Fugu will offer 4,500 square feet of dining area, 1,500 for
lounging, 640 for an outside patio and less than 500 for a dance
floor. The restaurant also has a specific liquor license that
requires gross sales of food to exceed gross sales of alcohol.
Nightclub owner James Raven, who will bring Vegas to Costa Mesa
next year, said his attempt to bring a night club to that center was
like trying to fit a round peg in a triangle square.
Raven said he negotiated unsuccessfully for 18 months with the
owner of Triangle Square to bring his high scale entertainment venue
to the vacant Sfuzzi space. Negotiations bottomed-out and Raven
turned his attention to the stylish Spanish building across the
Vegas, a nightspot aimed at upscale professionals between 25 and
40, will be on the subterranean floor of 1901 Newport, which used to
be called Pacific Savings Plaza. Raven doubled his square-footage by
moving across the street.
On paper, Triangle Square has a recipe for success: big name
anchors -- such as Nike Town, GAP, Barnes & Noble and Virgin
Megastore -- a popular restaurant and nighttime hangout in the Yard
House, great freeway access and 192,000 square feet of leasable
But in the past 10 years, Triangle Square has consistently failed
to retain tenants and field complaints of poor management. Even with
a change in management companies, the center still continues to have
problems filling empty retail space. The Sfuzzi spot has been a
gaping whole on the third level for more than a year.
Raven said he welcomes Fugu or any another entertainment venue in
the downtown area because it will help create an entertainment
district and ultimately attract more people.
Councilman Gary Monahan said he was pleased Triangle Square was
making progress, but he is skeptical.
"I'll believe it when it happens," Monahan said. "I've seen others
things approved at Triangle Square that have never happened. I
certainly hope the center will get another tenant and be energized,
but I will hold judgment until I actually see it."
* LOLITA HARPER covers Costa Mesa. She may be reached at (949)
574-4275 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.