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Jose Paul Corona For years Huntington Beach has...

August 22, 2002

Jose Paul Corona

For years Huntington Beach has slowly tried to change its image.

City leaders, developers and business owners have worked

diligently to throw off the grungy, riotous surf town image to make

Surf City a tourist destination. The once run-down Main Street has

been revitalized and reborn. And while some lament the changes, it is

a trend that has spread throughout the city.

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At the East end of town, the decrepit Huntington Center, which has

laid nearly vacant for years, is going through a major renovation. By

next year Huntington Center Mall will be a memory -- and in its

place, Bella Terra. The Italian-style shopping plaza with beautiful

architecture, an outdoor amphitheater, upscale shops and a 20-screen

movie theater will replace it.

Over in the Harbour, the old but highly used Huntington Harbour

Mall is currently getting a face-lift. The plaza, with a Ralphs on

one end and the popular House of Brews bar and restaurant on the

other, is getting an entirely new facade for its functional interior.

Smaller shopping centers all over the city are also trying to

reinvent themselves.

The Seacliff Village Shopping Center, at the corner of Main Street

and Yorktown Avenue, took more than two years to complete, but now is

a hub of activity supporting many new businesses. It was completely

torn down and rebuilt and it counts Albertson's, Staples and

Blockbuster Video among it's tenants.

The 40-year-old Five Points Plaza near Beach Boulevard and Ellis

Avenue is also getting a new look.

Trader Joe's recently tore down and rebuilt it's entry way and

increased its interior space in order to accommodate the growth in

customer's visiting the store. Some customers say it's almost too

up-to-date now with fancy computers and automatic doors.

The renovations have brought new tenants in, such as an Omaha

Steak store and there are plans to open a ticket broker office, said

Five Points Plaza Site Manager Maureen Sloan James.

The amount of foot traffic through the plaza is just amazing,

Sloan added.

"You don't see all the traffic, but the people are there," she

said, "When you see the sales reports you realize how busy is busy."

The renovations at Five Points Plaza were made in response to the

constant change and growth in the city. The opening of the Hyatt will

bring more customers to the city, and businesses in the center don't

want to be left out, she added.

Warner-Dale Square, a shopping center at the intersection of

Warner Avenue and Springdale Street has also joined the renovation

trend.

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