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Fashion Island Announces A Bold New Look

Fashion Island, which enjoys what is arguably the best outdoor shopping and dining location in the country, has embarked on an end-to-end program designed to transform the center’s buildings and outdoor spaces with dramatic architectural enhancements, updated landscape and hardscape, new water features and more. 

While these upgrades coincide with the arrival of important new merchants to the center, including Orange County’s 6th full-line Nordstrom store, they also underscore the Irvine Company’s ongoing commitment to reinvestment in its signature properties. The Company has owned and operated Fashion Island since it opened in 1967.

Throughout its 42 years, Fashion Island has been known for its unique collection of merchants, which includes luxury department stores, specialty boutiques, upscale restaurants and casual cafes, as well as its unparalleled ocean-view setting on the Newport Coast.

“Fashion Island continues to thrive, due in large part to the Irvine Company’s historical commitment to ensure that its mix of merchants evolves to meet consumers’ changing tastes and interests,” said Keith Eyrich, president of Irvine Company Retail Properties. “The current reinvestment grows out of our long-term commitment and vision for Fashion Island, as well as a strong belief that it will remain one of the nation’s most successful and appealing outdoor retail centers.”

Eyrich said that, while many changes are on tap that will require considerable construction activity over the next year, the result will be an enhanced guest experience highlighted by exciting new stores, improved outdoor people spaces, and striking new touches to Fashion Island’s Mediterranean-inspired architecture.

Over the next year, activities will focus on several key areas of Fashion Island, including Nordstrom Court; Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s Court; Pacific Court; Iris Court, and the center’s paseos. Improvements also are planned for Atrium Court, the Koi Pond area, center entries and signs.

This summer, Dick’s Sporting Goods, the country’s leading active sport retailer, will open adjacent to Atrium Court. Also, a great new gathering space will open in the lower-level Atrium Cafés. Perfect for casual outdoor dining, the intimate seating areas will be framed by Mexican fan palms, boxwood hedges and flowering bougainvillea vines. The focal point of this new venue will be a dramatic 24-foot-high water wall. Expanding on Fashion Island’s tradition of unique fountains, the water wall’s ever-changing wave patterns and soft sounds of falling water will provide this area with a distinct ambience.

From this summer through summer 2010, the courtyard between Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s will be transformed to complement a unique collection of fashion and brand-name stores. The entry of the courtyard will showcase a hand-carved granite fountain inspired by the Fountain of the Four Rivers in the Piazza Navona in Rome. The focal point of this area will be a classical pavilion designed and built in Italy, providing a distinctive community gathering place.

Fashion Island’s trademark store-lined paseos will also be upgraded with new handset pavers, Italian light fixtures, and new pots and planting.

“We’ll be introducing a sophisticated building color scheme that will add a classical influence and warmth to the intimate paseos,” said Rob Elliott, senior vice president of Urban Planning and Design for the Irvine Company. “Every physical improvement we’re planning throughout Fashion Island, from the water wall to the styles and colors of new tables and chairs, will play an important part in adding richness and texture to the center’s ambience and unique sense of place.”

When Nordstrom opens next spring, the retailer will further enhance Fashion Island’s reputation as a department store powerhouse, joining prestigious anchors Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Orange County’s only Neiman Marcus. In tandem with the store’s spring 2010 opening, the adjacent parking structure will expand by more than 700 spaces, providing convenient access to the 140,000-square-foot store.

Nordstrom Court will feature new architectural refinements and a sophisticated new color scheme for the buildings that frame the space, providing a gorgeous backdrop for new stores and an outdoor café. Customers will enjoy a pleasant shopping experience amid a new hand-carved granite fountain, Italian light fixtures, colorful hanging flower baskets and hand-set pavers.

From spring 2010 to the holiday season, the courtyard adjacent to Macy’s and facing the Pacific Ocean will welcome an expanded mix of stores. The smaller, more intimate space will be enhanced with a new fountain, as well as hand-set pavers, lighting, landscaping and soft seating for guests to enjoy the ocean view.

This fall, Fashion Island will welcome Orange County’s first Michael Stars, a leader in women’s contemporary sportswear, and True Religion, a leader in premium denim and casual sportswear. They will join other retailers new to the center, including Trina Turk, Dita Legends, and the first West Coast location of Y-3.

Dean & DeLuca announced earlier that it would open its West Coast flagship at Fashion Island this summer. After deciding to add several new departments to the store, Dean & DeLuca now says it will open in the first half of 2010.

As Orange County’s premier coastal shopping experience, Fashion Island features specialty boutiques, world-class department stores and a wide assortment of restaurants and cafes. Visited by more than 13 million people annually, Fashion Island offers a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere that is distinctively Southern California. It appeals to local residents as well as discriminating travelers who seek the finest shopping and dining in a coastal resort setting.