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Center looks to become less square

June 12, 2003

Lolita Harper

This time, it is going to work. Triangle Square will make a comeback,

officials predict.

The concepts are the same, the anchor stores are the same, the

location is the same, but the players are different, said general

manager David Yoon, who represents Triangle Square Investments LLC.

"We have a lot of new team members in response to a review by the

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investor ownership," Yoon said.

Triangle Square, which has struggled since its 1992 opening, has

hired a new managing company, Charles Dunn Real Estate Services, and

new leasing agent, Festival Companies, which has succeeded in finding

tenants for Costa Mesa Courtyards across Harbor Boulevard.

The center also has a new law and accounting firm, Yoon said.

The plan now is to attract "destination" restaurants and build the

center around a fitness theme, he added.

"We believe the new tenant needs to be a destination client," Yoon

said. "Smaller, fast food restaurants don't seem to work. People need

to go there on purpose, not just because they have some time, but to

a place where they want to bring their families."

With longtime tenants Nike Town and General Nutrition Center --

better known as GNC -- and new tenant Nordic Track, officials hope to

cater to active customers, providing them with gear and nutritional

supplements for a variety of different sports.

The downtown center, at the major intersection of Newport

Boulevard and 19th Street at the end of the Costa Mesa Freeway, has

also completed a slight makeover, with new paint and better signs.

Former marketing coordinator Cori Abbs and former property manager

Tom Estes outlined the same course of action for the center more than

a year ago. But all that resulted in were more vacancies and more

internal turnover.

Execution is the difference this time, Yoon said.

"We have a stronger decision-making team that can negotiate

deals," Yoon said. "Many prior proposals [brought forth by former

property managers CMG] lacked substance, and we couldn't approve

them."

Stephanie Demartinis, the center's operation manager, plans to

work with tenants and the community to make the center succeed, she

said in a release issued to the Pilot.

The release said center officials meet with tenants once a month

to discuss events and with city officials at least twice a month.

Planning Commissioner Bill Perkins said he met with Demartinis

about two weeks ago, after months of getting nowhere. The

conversation was informative and optimistic, but the proof has yet to

be seen, he said.

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