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Fashion Island undergoes waves of change

The Newport Beach shopping center has added 40 new stores, restaurants during its $100-million renovation project.

December 26, 2011|By Sarah Peters

While resident Jill Yates Dover watched her two sons play on the brightly painted "presents" beneath the center's decorated 90-foot white fir Christmas tree Wednesday morning, she reflected on the changes over the last few years.

"It's great for me," Dover said. "There are great stores, and it's much more current and up-to-date with trends."

Dover also complimented the additional parking, which increased by 1,100 spaces in 2007, and the elaborate redesign of Island Cinemas.

However, a carousel and children's train ride were removed during the remodel. The rides were something Dover brought her 6-year-old son, Carson, to every week.

"We probably rode those 25 times a week," said Dover, who also has an 18-month-old son, Davis.

The center will continue to have seasonal and family-friendly events, like the Nov. 18 tree lighting that featured photos with Santa and Disneyland Resort characters, who danced alongside students from Laguna Beach's Musical Theatre University.

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A free trolley service, just added by the Irvine Co. at both Fashion Island and the Irvine Spectrum Center, is another attraction for shoppers, Thomas said.

The service with the San Francisco-style trolleys operates throughout the center and adjacent parking areas.

"It's fun for kids and families," Thomas said, "and it's fantastic for the customer who is laden with shopping bags. The trolley driver will take you right to your car."

There are still a few spaces the center is looking to fill, including looking to add more eateries near Island Cinemas.

In addition to adding a Native Foods location, another one is expected to be a family-friendly casual concept, Sheridan said.

Even with Whole Foods moving in as one of the last pieces of the reinvestment, the center will continually be looking to update itself, he said.

"It's something that is going to be constantly evolving," Sheridan said. "I don't think that it will ever stop. We're constantly thinking about evolving and delivering what the customer expects."

sarah.peters@latimes.com

Twitter: @speters01

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