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ORANGE COUNTY, CA-Construction of EXPO Design Center’s first two-story complex, located in Laguna Niguel, is scheduled for completion and opening in January 2001.

This is the third Orange County location for the company, a division of The Home Depot, which previously opened design centers in Anaheim in August 2000 and in Huntington Beach in July 1999. Currently the company has 20 locations nationwide, with two new centers scheduled to open in Concord and east Palo Alto, California next week.

In addition to being the first two-story structure for the company, the site is also larger than the average EXPO, measuring 95,500 sf. Built on 4.5 acres of land, the structure’s construction is concrete tilt-up. Parking will be provided for 441 cars on the ground level, with part of the parking covered by an overhang of the second floor of the center.

“The EXPO really takes off where The Home Depot stops,” says Melissa Watkins, public relations manager for EXPO. “You walk down the hallway, and we have 20 vignettes of different kitchen layouts and 80 bathrooms. You can touch and feel the different textures. In certain markets we have professional services available.”

Providing those services are 14 interior designers on staff with anywhere from three to 30 years of experience in the business. Many of the designers hold ASID and CKD/CBD certifications and are willing to work with the client directly or with the client’s interior designer, general contractor or builder. EXPO also offers installation services in many areas of home decorating.

“We’re providing a whole set of options under one roof. We can work with your contractor or do the installation for you. If you do a project with us, we don‘t charge you by the hour, so you can save literally thousands of dollars,” Watkins says.

EXPO Design Center test marketed its concept for a number of years starting in 1991 with the first center in San Diego. Then in 1997, after opening stores in Atlanta; Westbury, NY; Dallas; and Miami, the company felt confident enough to rollout the concept nationally.

Builder on the Laguna Niguel project is A.J. Padelford & Son Inc. of Los Angeles. EXPO would not release details of the price it paid for the land, nor the construction costs involved.

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