In March 2017, the City Council approved the Core Area Vision Plan prepared by SWA. This plan was developed over a year-long process and included substantial community input. Three concept plans were generated, and the community chose the “Embracing the Oso Creek” concept as the most conservative and desirable redevelopment proposal. The plan highlighted the Oso Creek but rotated the focal point of the shopping center to allow patrons to enjoy the views of the creek and gain access to the Oso Creek Trail system. This process created the CORE AREA VISION PLAN that is being implemented in the central part of the community.
What does the plan include?
The first phase of the Core Area Vision Plan is a reinvestment in our retail and recreation infrastructure. The City of Mission Viejo is reinvesting approximately $46 million in the retail core of the community primarily by repurposing the Stein Mart building space and creating the North Paseo (1 of 2 paseos) that will connect the Civic Center and Library through the North Paseo located within the current parking lot to the front of the shopping center building. The North Paseo will run through the current building and provide access to the rear of the shopping center and connect to the north bridge which expands over the Oso Creek. This connects to the “Bridge Plaza,” the central point for the expanded portion of the Oso Creek Trail that runs on the eastern side of the Oso Creek Valley. The trail will be expanded from La Paz Road to Marguerite Parkway and will connect to the existing trail head located on Marguerite and a new cantilevered viewing platform along Marguerite Parkway. This viewing platform will showcase spectacular views of Saddleback Mountain framed by the Oso Valley and Oso Creek below. The platform will also connect the newly expanded Oso Creek Trail on the east to the existing trail on the west side of the creek.
What is the Urban Alley?
Phase I of the Core Area Vision Plan will also create the “Urban Alley” located along the rear of the buildings. The rear of the buildings will be reimaged to turn the attention of the Alley towards the creek. This will be accomplished in a few phases as ongoing renovation efforts continue within the center.
The Urban Alley will be a central community gathering place and will include enhanced landscape, lighting, paving, seating areas and a cantilevered gathering plaza with views of the Oso Creek and the trail below. The Alley will also house new retail spaces oriented towards the Urban Alley to further energize the area and create more opportunities for expanded retail and community gathering. Retail tenants will still be able to obtain access for deliveries during the main business hours of the weekdays. On the weekends, the Urban Alley will be closed to vehicular traffic and come alive with impromptu gatherings and citywide planned events
The Urban Alley concept will strive to ensure that residents enjoy easy access to the entire Core Area while making certain that tenants maintain uninterrupted delivery access and embrace the urban environment. Over time, the Urban Alley will provide for additional retail opportunities facing the Oso Creek.
What are the Event Bridges?
The Core Area Vision Plan includes two single-span “Event Bridges” that connect the east and west banks of the Oso Creek Trail. The 150-foot-long bridges will feature small eateries and thoughtfully placed seating areas so that residents can enjoy the sounds of the water flowing beneath the bridges.
What is the Paseo?
The Paseos are located on the north and south ends of the proposed Civic Core Vision Plan. In the first phase of the development, the North Paseo will connect the Civic Center and Library from west to east across Marguerite Parkway. It will continue through the parking lot and on to the “MART” dining Pavilion, culminating in the Urban Alley and event bridges. The Paseo will vary in width and include small eateries, recreational activities, water features and a trail to walk or ride a bike.
The MART Dining Pavilion
The MART is the repurposed Stein Mart building and will house a collection of unique eateries, coffee shops and one-of-a-kind retail. This indoor/outdoor space will take advantage of the relationship to the Oso Creek and the Urban Alley and will help to support programs and events located across the creek at the ”Event Barn.”
The Event Barn
The Event Barn is a joint project between the Santa Margarita Water District and the City of Mission Viejo. The barn structure will be built as a “flex space” that will include an attached large, shaded overhang and large glass walls that can be opened to the Bridge Plaza and Event Bridges. The Event Barn will be used to host concerts, art exhibits, corporate meetings and many other community-based gatherings. The Mart Dining Pavilion will support events at the barn by providing opportunities for patrons to walk and grab dinner before or after an event.
What is the CORE?
The CORE is the community’s place to gather and celebrate Cultural, Open Space, Recreation and Entertainment. The Core Area Vision Plan includes land along Marguerite Parkway from Jeronimo Road to the north to Oso Parkway to the south as well as the land along La Paz Road and Oso Parkway west to the Santa Ana Freeway. The Current Core Area Vision Plan primarily focuses on the land within The Village Center, and in particular, the land that housed the former Stein Mart building.
Central CORE "SNEAK PEEK"
In March 2022, Mission Viejo opened the CENTRAL CORE. The CENTRAL CORE is the courtyard located just north of the former Stein Mart building. At that time, the City unveiled a “light refresh” of the space that provides a sneak peek of the flavor and feel of what the reimagined MART dining pavilion will eventually feel like. The space will come alive with occasional live music and other fun and unique art displays and events.
North Paseo "SNEAK PEEK"
In May 2022, the City of Mission Viejo opened the North Paseo “Sneak Peek.” The Paseo serves to connect the Civic Center to the west side of Marguerite Parkway to the shops on the east side of the parkway. The North Paseo creates a “safe zone” for residents to walk or ride a bike as well as a new fun place to sit, eat and socialize with other community members. The North Paseo serves as the anchor space for all the monthly markets that occur in the Central Core area of The Village Center.