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Goodbye Auto Mall?

Mercedes-Benz of Foothill Ranch

Cities love auto malls – a group of automobile dealers clustered together for synergism – because the sale of automobiles brings the city huge sales tax revenues. But what happens when an auto mall turns sour? Such is the case with the Lake Forest Auto Mall along Bake Parkway at Portola Parkway and Town Center Drive.  

To the rescue have come two real estate developers who want to convert the former auto mall into a residential village. After all, the site is surrounded by restaurants, retail facilities and services. In fact, Kaiser Permanente even plans a future 36,000-square-foot medical office complex adjacent to the site. And one still-operating auto dealer, Mercedes-Benz of Foothill Ranch, will remain.

The residential village would provide 226 units – 75 single-family detached homes by Trumark Homes of Irvine and 151 condominium units in 11 two-story buildings by Brookfield Residential of Costa Mesa.

But a zone change is required from the Lake Forest City Council, which is studying the proposal. With timely approval, the developers claim that construction could begin by early 2013 and homes could be ready by the summer of 2013.

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