Corona, CA: Project may energize Dos Lagos center

An upscale retail center in southern Corona, hit hard by the recession and housing-market collapse, appears to be regaining some momentum with a live-work project under way.

The beleaguered shopping center off Highway 15 that opened in 2006 with high-end shops went into foreclosure in December 2009 after a developer defaulted on a $125 million mortgage. A new management team came in to revive the former The Promenade Shops at Dos Lagos, now The Shops at Dos Lagos, and is considering new ways to attract families and business.

The live-work project is expected to start construction next year, according to Corona Community Development Director Joanne Coletta.

The owner of the shopping center, Dallas-based Cypress Equities, has been attempting to diversify shops by offering everyday services such as dry cleaning. The firm also wants to enhance the center's two lakes, amphitheater and bamboo bridge by adding outdoor seating and shaded areas.

Owners plan to make Dos Lagos more visible with freeway signs alerting passing drivers. A playground might be built.

Most shops, a movie theater and a nearby golf course are open but have had trouble attracting customers because the center is in a residential area surrounded by condominiums, senior housing, townhouses and single-family homes.

"Unfortunately, it's sitting in a hole, so you don't really see it unless you're looking for it," Corona Councilman Eugene Montanez said. "It's hard, because some people think when they've reached the Crossings, that they're at Dos Lagos."

Developers had planned on business from residential developments, a second golf course and a retreat that were never built.

But a new neighbor could offer much more for the center, which sits near 64 acres of undeveloped property that had been planned for development, Coletta said.

The majority of it, 52 acres, is owned by Bank of America and could put it up for sale in the next month, she said.

The city is open to approving projects that would support the local shops and residents, Coletta said.


It is reviewing architectural plans for a 93-unit live-work space by U.S. Dos Lagos Development Company. Originally, the company had planned a senior housing project with the $15 million live-work project but has downsized.

The bottom floors of the project are expected to be designed as workspaces with upper levels as living quarters in the condominium-like buildings, Montanez said.

Other developments at Dos Lagos are stalled as the owner of a nearby office building keeps plans for two additional buildings on hold, Coletta said.

A vacant lot across the street planned for an industrial park also is on hold until the commercial market improves.

Montanez said he hopes that by the end of the year all of the vacant parcels will have new plans and be moving forward.

"I think the developers who are out there, and the investors who are out there, see that there's a positive momentum in the economy," Montanez said.

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