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BUENA PARK, CA-Festival Companies Inc. of LosAngeles, the exclusive developer, leasing agent and property management company for the Buena Park Mall, is about to expand the enclosed regional mall once again, adding a 150,000-sf entertainment center to the one-million-sf facility.

Called “The District,” the stand alone, open-air expansion includes 90,000 sf that will be occupied by Krikorian Premiere Theatres. The new theater facility will have 18 wall-to-wall, state-of-the-art screens and stadium-style seating. The remaining 60,000-sf will be leased out to themed restaurants, specialty retailers and other entertainment-related attractions.

“We know how hard [Festival has] been working to bring a first class theater and entertainment complex to the Buena Park Mall,” says city manager Greg Beaubien. “This is something the community has wanted and we expect support for the project to be tremendous.”

Built in 1961 adjacent to Knott’s Berry Farm, the mall is Orange County’s oldest regional shopping center. A $45-million mall redevelopment project, which added four power tenants–Old Navy, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Burlington Coat Factory and Ross Dress for Less–was just completed a month ago.

This latest $40-million expansion will be built on the site of the former JC Penny’s store, which opted to close its store at this mall. The Penny’s building will be razed to make way for the new construction, which is expected to be completed by summer 2002.

“We always planned to have an entertainment center built in a different part of the mall,” says Angela Abshier, director of Corporate Marketing for Festival. She says that Festival purchased back the JC Penny property, which was located in the mall’s main thoroughfare.

Festival, which manages or leases 12 million sf of space, mostly in California, is also planning to redevelop the Buena Park Marketplace directly across the street from the mall. Expected to start in 2001 along with the mall, the $30-million Marketplace redevelopment will include leases to three or four national retailers, which should be announced in the next 30 to 45 days.

Architect on The District project is Perkowitz + Ruth Architects headquartered in Long Beach. A general contractor has not been named at this time.

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