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Empty Restaurant Space in La Paz Village to be Repurposed


LAGUNA HILLS – An empty building in the La Paz Village shopping center will be renovated and repurposed into smaller retail spaces this year.

The empty restaurant space that housed the Yamato Japanese restaurant and an Elephant Bar Restaurant will be chopped into four or five smaller spaces of about 1,000 square feet or 2,000 square feet, Ben Longwell, vice president of Boardwalk Development, said. The building is 6,120 square-feet.

“We decided it was no longer suitable for a (larger) restaurant tenant,” Longwell said. “We’ll be renovating the interior and exterior to bring it up-to-date with the surrounding shopping center.”

The space is on the corner of McIntyre Street and La Paz Road.

The units at each end of the building will feature an 800 square-foot patio suited to smaller sit-down restaurants or fast-casual joints in the vein of Chipotle or Panera, Longwell said.

Renovations are expected to begin in about two months and the building could be ready for new tenants as early as March 2014, Longwell said.

The renovations would have started this month, but Boardwalk decided to raise the roof about three feet and needed to reapply for city permits, Longwell said.

Longwell said while the market will determine which tenants snag a spot in the building, he expected small, community-based businesses like those in the surrounding shopping center. But he wouldn’t factor out national retail or restaurant chains, he said.

“Due to the exposure of this building, I wouldn’t be surprised if it attracts some national tenants,” Longwell said.

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