Ware Malcomb’s redesign of the South Coast Collection is a perfect illustration of how to salvage a troubled project. The home furnishings center, which suffered after the housing bubble collapsed, has been reborn.
The site has strong visibility and potential customer traffic. However the economic downturn drove tenants to close up shop. And the center’s architectural style was commonly found throughout Southern California. It lacked a sense of place.
Burnham-Ward Properties engaged Ware Malcomb to provide architectural design services property, which consists of eight retail showroom buildings, as well as general retail and food service, and is located off of a major Southern California highway in the city of Costa Mesa.
Ware Malcomb’s design mission was to reposition and revitalize the existing center into a retail destination for high-end design showrooms and creative studios with a unique, more contemporary urban and organic environment. The client’s concept was to expand tenant appeal beyond middle-tier home furnishing retailers to a diverse and vibrant mix of higher-end home décor, fashion boutiques and creative studios.
One of the challenges was applying the existing concrete tilt-up construction type into the new design. Ware Malcomb incorporated the existing openings and reveal design to develop a design that totally reimaged the project, provided iconic identity and took advantage of freeway exposure. The firm also worked within a tight budget.
The redesign accomplished Burnham-Ward’s goal of appealing to high-end home furnishings retailers by stripping away superfluous ornamentation for a raw expression of materials and form; thereby highlighting the tenants’ merchandise and a more organic landscape palette.
The sophisticated, contemporary look is defined by transparent glass, redwood accents, sustainable landscaping and a central plaza built around a fire pit and water feature. The landscape palette has been updated with an organic mix of drought tolerant grasses, bamboo, decomposed granite, succulents and rock. Bold freeway signage and a LED screen were added to make the center more visible and reinforce the SoCo brand.
The new tenant mix is estimated to have doubled sales revenues for the center. The transformation from traditional architectural style to a modern expression has been instrumental in defining a new style of retail experience in Orange County, as well as attracting and retaining quality retail tenants.
South Coast Collection
Costa Mesa, Calif.
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