Richard Kellyas Orange County Expansion

Triangle SquareRichard Kelly, the man behind San Diego’s Ivy Hotel, has shifted his attention up the California coastline to Orange County, where he has been making some serious investments. First, Kelly picked up the struggling Costa Mesa Sutra Restaurant & Nightclub. Second, he just announced he purchased the 200,000-square-foot multipurpose development Triangle Square for an undisclosed amount.

While a high-traffic shopping hotspot in the ’90s, the recent economic slump has forced Triangle Square into an increasingly vacant position as major anchor tenants like NikeTown, Virgin Records and Barnes & Noble all fled the shopping mall and left F&B entries like the national Yard House chain, Sutra and the Chronic Cantina fighting to exist among dwindling traffic counts. For Kelly, all he sees is opportunity. “The property has huge potential, and I felt that it needed somebody who could turn this property into something spectacular,” he told the The Daily Pilot. “This is the ninth busiest intersection in North America.”

Chronic Cantina, the sister property to the popular Chronic Taco chain, was the first tenant that didn’t fit Kelly’s mold; it closed last week after four years in the mall. Chronic co-owner Dan Biello noted that while they would have liked to stay in the mall, he understood the concept didn’t fit Kelly’s redevelopment vision, which is skewing more upscale, toward high-end menus and bar concepts. And with his purchase of Sutra and his experience at the nightlife-heavy Ivy Hotel, it seems possible that Kelly will be interested in making Triangle Square a new nighttime hotspot.

Look for redevelopment to take place over the next 12 to 18 months with a slew of new concepts finding a home in Triangle Square. Kelly also announced the mall most likely will retain its moniker.

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