New Life Pumped Into Antelope Square
After sitting empty for more than two years, a brand-new shopping center on the edge of Murrieta appears to be showing signs of life.
Antelope Square, near Scott and Antelope roads in Murrieta, has been purchased by a
local development company that hopes to soon begin leasing its 28 units. Continental East Development Inc. of Murrieta closed the deal on the 84,000-square-foot property within the past month, said its president, Al Rattan. The plan is to begin leasing the buildings and even start moving an expansion project through the Murrieta planning process.
“We just got our certificates of occupancy less than 30 days ago, and now we’re ready to get started,” Rattan said. Over the past three years, Antelope Square has been a story of hope, failure and renewed hope. The project broke ground in 2007, but the original developer, DAVCON Investments LLC of Temecula, soon defaulted on a $22.5 million loan, according to a lawsuit filed in Riverside Superior Court. Under conditions of the loan agreement with Keybank, the construction was completed but the bank took
receivership in 2009. Since then, the property has been vacant while the courts sorted out the problems connected to it.
“I think it got caught up in a weak economy and the developer fell behind on the payments,” Rattan said. The shopping center is in a prime location just inside Murrieta’s boundary line and across Scott Road from Menifee. Continental East documents estimate that 24,500 vehicles pass through that intersection each day. Two businesses —- Jack in the Box and Walgreens —- already are part of Antelope Square. They were built
separately from the main complex and opened within the past year. Immediately to the west, across Antelope Road, is the Murrieta Heritage Mall, anchored by an Albertsons
supermarket, a bank, two fast-food restaurants and service station. Farther west, just across Interstate 215, is the future southern tip of Menifee’s most important commercial area.
The Shops at Scott, similar in size to Antelope Square, is under construction at Scott and Zeiders roads. On Tuesday, voters approved plans for a Walmart Superstore at Scott and Haun roads. And just across Haun to the west, The Junction, which at 50 acres will be the biggest of all the shopping centers in the area, is in the planning stage. Rattan is aware of the potential traffic issues in the area, but he said many of Antelope Square’s customers will come from the freeway to the east and from existing housing developments east of Antelope Road.
He also likes the potential created by the new Loma Linda University Medical Center — Murrieta, which sits a few miles south, and Mt. San Jacinto College to the north. “I’ve never seen an area with such a need for good restaurants,” Rattan said. “We’ve had calls from Loma Linda, wondering what can be done about food, whether it’s restaurants or catering.”
Continental East Development Vice President Lydia Percia said the company’s immediate plans are to find tenants to fill those needs. The expansion plans include a bistro and a drive-through coffee stand. “Every individual we spoke to has emphasized the need for diverse restaurants other than fast-food establishments, and the lack of coffee shops —- more important drive-through coffee —- in the area,” Percia said.
Antelope Square also hopes to attract specialty food stores, an urgent care facility, designer clothing stores, and general-practice dentists and doctors. With resources from Asian investors, Continental East Development already owns the two medical office buildings off Murrieta Hot Springs and Hancock roads, the Ivy Office Building on Ivy Road west of Jefferson Avenue, and residential development, all in Murrieta.