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C.W. Driver Companies Announces Groundbreaking of Five Lagunas Center Redevelopment Project in Laguna Hills, California

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C.W. Driver Companies, an AGC of California and San Diego Chapter member, has announced the start of construction for Five Lagunas, which includes the rebranding and renovation of the Laguna Hills Mall in Laguna Hills, California. The center’s rebranding to Five Lagunas pays homage to the five towns situated in close proximity – Laguna Beach, Laguna Canyon, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel and Laguna Woods.

Plans for the 68-acre site include 300,000 square feet of newly built-out retail space, 45,000 square feet of retail pad construction and extensive interior and exterior renovations, which will upgrade and modernize the shopping center. Tentatively scheduled to complete summer 2018, the 846,885-sq-ft lifestyle center will be completely transformed to include an improved shopping, dining and entertainment experience.

Originally built in 1973 and renovated in 1994, Merlone Geier Partners acquired the mall from Simon Property Group in May 2013. C.W. Driver’s scope of work for the project includes a partial demolition of roughly 400,000 square feet of existing structures and another 500,000 square feet of site demolition and interior and exterior renovations. The new construction will increase the project’s total square-footage by 8,831 square feet. 

"With Five Lagunas’ prime visibility from the 5 Freeway, the redevelopment will greatly enhance property revenues and customer satisfaction while reflecting current consumer desires," said Paul Ruig, project executive at C.W Driver. "Since Five Lagunas will remain open to the public during construction, our team will execute the work through a phased approach in order to minimize disruption and improve the customer experience."

The current anchor tenants, JCPenney, Macy’s and Nordstrom Rack will remain open, in addition to a handful of restaurants; however, the façades of JCPenney and Macy’s will be upgraded. The renovation will open up the indoor mall to the outdoors, with the addition of a one-acre park, near JCPenney, which will include a water feature in the area adjacent to Macy’s. A luxury movie theater overlooking the park is expected to add to the on-site entertainment, enhancing the overall shopping experience. The improved development will draw in new retail, dining and entertainment tenants in order to appeal to new consumer needs. Merlone Geier plans to lease space to a unique mix of up to 40 new tenants.

C.W. Driver will also perform site preparation on behalf of Merlone Geier Partners for a separate development planned on the same site, which will include a 350-unit, eight-acre residential parcel and a six-story parking structure.

"With the renovations to the existing Laguna Hills Mall and the surrounding residential development, the area is poised to become a ‘live, play, stay’ environment," said Stephen Logan, project director of development for Merlone Geier. "The transformation of Laguna Hills Mall into Five Lagunas will not only revitalize the overall shopping experience, but will provide an attraction for those looking to enjoy an outdoor promenade-style center."

In addition to Ruig, C.W. Driver’s project team includes Steve Nelson, sr. vice president estimating/preconstruction; John Kately, project director, Jamie Macartney and Eric Schultz, project managers, Chase Magdaleno, assistant project manager, Jason Lawrence, senior project planner; John Wedge, senior superintendent, Adam Underwood, superintendent and Brenton Wiberg, BIM Manager. Perkowitz + Ruth Architects serves as the architect on the project.

Five Lagunas joins a number of other C.W. Driver retail projects throughout California, including new Bloomingdale’s stores located at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, Glendale Galleria, Santa Monica Place Mall and South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Most recently, C.W. Driver completed construction on Pacific City in Huntington Beach, and started preconstruction services on the Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo.

C.W. Driver Companies is a premier builder serving California since 1919. As a leader in general contracting and construction management services, C.W. Driver Companies are on the cutting edge across a broad spectrum of industries, including education, commercial/office, technology, healthcare/biomedical, mixed-use, assisted living, entertainment, retail, industrial and civic. C.W. Driver Companies has the ability to build a variety of projects, from large tenant improvements to small renovations and specialized projects through its affiliates: Driver SPG, Driver URBAN and Good & Roberts. C.W. Driver Companies has offices located in Los Angeles, Irvine, Rancho Cucamonga, Anaheim, San Diego, Carlsbad and San Jose. For more information, please visit

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Associated General Contractors of America
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Arlington, VA, USA
Ph: 703-548-3118 Fax: 703-837-5402