After more than two years, the empty space once home to Mervyns has been leased to the Oklahoma-based Lobby Hobby company and will open on May 11, in the Marketplace at Laguna Niguel, 27200 Alicia Pkwy.
Hobby Lobby takes up residence in the 77,500-square-foot area, the second largest in Laguna Niguel after the vacant The lease was finalized last month and renovations have already begun. Founded in 1972, the company's website states, that there are "over 60,000 products in 13 departments ... ranging from crafts, hobbies, picture framing, jewelry making, fashion fabrics, floral, cards and party, baskets, wearable art, home accents, and holiday supplies."
According to Stephen Thorp, executive vice president of Burnham USA and partner in Burnham-Ward Properties LLC, "We are very excited to have Hobby Lobby come to Laguna Niguel and fill this space that has been empty for so long."
Thorp said the one-level store as well as the center, was purchased for nearly $8 million by Burnham USA Equities Inc. and its affiliate Burnham-Ward Properties LLC. last fall.
"Hobby Lobby is completely remodeling the inside, gutting it from top to bottom," Thorp said. "This will be the company's 501st store and it has been making a huge push into Southern California for the last year. There will be more stores opening in the second tier and some time in 2012."
Thorp said Hobby Lobby has consistently expressed interest in moving into "big box" stores that have closed such as Mervyns.
"Their concept is way beyond a regular craft store," he said. "There's everything from wedding departments to fabrics, it is much more expansive than anything you've seen in a craft store. They have high-end items but they do not pass those big prices onto the consumer."
Thorp added that the new store will surely bring new job opportunities to the community, however, he was not sure of an exact number of openings that would be available.
Dan Fox, the city's community development director said, the city was also eager and happy to have Hobby Lobby come to town. Over the last few months, Laguna Niguel has seen other new stores open including and
"We're very happy to have the space leased after it has been vacant for so long and to see a new name like Hobby Lobby come to Laguna Niguel is great," Fox said.
Fox also reported that Laguna Niguel's retail occupancy rate was at 91 percent at the end of December. The retail occupancy rate has been identified for the city of Laguna Niguel as a general indicator to the vitality of commercial activity within the city. The occupancy rate is calculated from information obtained by the local commercial broker community and represents more than 3 million square feet of commercial space within the city of Laguna Niguel, according to the city's website.
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