Last week, Merlone Geier Partners and the City of Laguna Hills broke ground on the new Five Lagunas Center on the site of the former Laguna Hills Mall.  Situated adjacent to the 5 freeway, the project's name was inspired by its location in the midst of Laguna Hills, Laguna Beach, Laguna Nigel, Laguna Woods and Laguna Canyon.

Merlone Geier Partners imagines Five Lagunas as an urban village, providing a Downtown-like experience in a master-planned community.  Much of the development focuses on reusing significant portions of the former mall, tearing out walls and roofs to create an outdoor experience, featuring approximately 60 retailers.

The project is also highlighted by three planned residential buildings, which will include a total of 350 multifamiliy dwelling units.  This component of the project will be completed in phases, with opening dates to be announced in the future.

Other specialty features will include a 14-screen theater complex, a one-acre park with space for live music and events and a six-story parking garage.

Merlone Geier's partners on the development include P+R Architects, Studio One Eleven and C.W. Driver.