There’s movement on the Murrieta Marketplace, the long-awaited shopping center slated for a 50-acre parcel in the northeastern corner of the city.
The city Planning Commission this week approved a new development plan for the project that calls for three phases of construction, with the first phase consisting of a home improvement store, a gas station/car wash, supermarket and neighborhood retail (fitness centers, nail salons and the like.)
There will be three access points to the center from Clinton Keith Road, which will eventually connect with Winchester Road, and one from Max Gilliss Boulevard.
Paul Loubet of Corona’s J&T Management said the commission’s action should provide some wind to the sails of the development team, which is working to lease out the spaces for the supermarket and the home improvement store.
“Having the entitlements helps with our marketing efforts,” he said Thursday.
Lowe’s and Home Depot have been linked to the site in the past but both companies pulled back amid concerns about the evolving business of retail, which finds many consumers using Amazon to buy light bulbs, tools and other products that used to be steady revenue sources for the big boxes.
Loubet said the team — which kept Home Depot branding on the mock-ups provided to the city — plans to reopen talks with the home improvement giant and see if they have changed their minds now that Murrieta Marketplace has entitlements in hand that allow for outdoor seasonal sales (Christmas trees) and equipment rentals.
“Same thing happened with McDonalds,” he said, detailing how the company said they weren’t going forward at the site but then reconsidered a month later.
The development team is well aware of the clamoring for another Trader Joe’s or a Whole Foods in the Temecula Valley region but neither of those companies is looking at expansion in this part of the state right now, Loubet said. The team expects to have more success targeting markets owned by Smart & Final, Kroger (Ralphs, Food 4 Less) or Cerberus (Vons, Albertsons.)