Since opening in November 1998, the Commons at Calabasas Park Centre has bathed in critical and commercial acclaim as a model of what a shopping center should be.
Stone bridges and flowing streams decorate the Commons, which was designed as a European-style village and houses more than two dozen tony shops and restaurants, as well as an Edwards Theatres movie multiplex.
Ralphs installed a new upscale market, Rolex watches are available at Polacheck’s Jewelers under the baroque clock tower, Italian clothes and food are available, and the waiting list at the Marmalade Caf & #233; can be long.
“If you create an environment that people want to go to, if for no other reason than to hang out for a couple of hours, then that’s where they’ll go back to shop,” said developer Rick Caruso, who built the 200,000-square-foot shopping center.
Local residents largely opposed the original proposal for the Commons, fearing that a strip mall would detract from the growth-conscious community. But Caruso scaled down the project as first envisioned and won over the populace based on his track record with other shopping areas, like his Promenade at Westlake.
Construction was completed in just over 24 weeks, about 11 months after the close of escrow. And while merchants pay premium rents for their spaces, the center is 100 percent occupied and has a waiting list. Tenants pay between $2.50 and $6 a square foot per month.
“The returns are huge,” Caruso said. “Tenants are willing to pay more money because they know they will make more money.”