A mostly vacant mall in Mission Viejo may be replaced by 105 homes
More than 100 single-family homes and townhouses may soon replace a mostly vacant mall off Los Alisos Boulevard near the 241 toll road in Mission Viejo.
As soon as next month, the City Council may vote on developer Shea Homes’ proposal for 44 single-family homes and 61 townhouses at what is now Mission Foothill Marketplace. The proposal got a unanimous recommendation from the city’s Planning Commission last week.
Mission Foothill Marketplace has four smaller buildings at the front, right off Los Alisos Boulevard, that would stay intact, but the anchor building might be demolished as soon as October, if Shea Homes’ project gets approval from the council.
“It has really struggled in the last two years keeping tenants, especially big box stores,” Shea Homes Director of Community Development Brooke Doi said of the mall. “We are looking at re-purposing what is a challenged retail center.”
Only a few small tenants – including a veterinary hospital and a nail spa – now occupy the mall’s 99,500-square-feet anchor building, which was for years home to Vons grocery store.
Haggen’s replaced the Vons in 2015, right after Vons’ parent company Safeway merged with Albertsons. But Haggen’s bankruptcy months later left the mall with no anchor tenant, leading to more businesses leaving the area.
Christina Harper, 49, has shopped at the mall for more than 15 years.
“I teared up when I said goodbye to the employers at Vons and a dry cleaner,” she said as she was getting her hair done at a salon in one of the smaller buildings. “You got to know these people.”
The mall was vibrant before those stores moved out, she said. She’s hoping the proposed housing would revitalize what would be left of Mission Foothill Marketplace.
The 105 homes will be three-stories tall. Many of the townhomes will have most of their livable spaces in the second and third floor, Doi said. Each home will have a two-car garage.
To meet the city’s zoning rules, which mandate a certain number of high-density homes to be designated as affordable, the proposal also sets aside nine units for very-low-income and seven units for low-income residents.
Doi said the developer hopes to begin selling houses at the site by the beginning of 2021.
The city is also working on a proposal to build 60 townhomes in a vacant 2.86-acre parcel next to Shea Homes’ proposed project.