City and community leaders in Menifee and Murrieta took part in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event Thursday June 14 for the official grand opening of Antelope Square Shopping Center.
The Grand Opening and Thank You Party organized by the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce drew a few hundred local residents to the plaza with a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting for the kids and prizes.
The 84,000- square foot shopping center will serve close to a hundred thousand local residents in both Menifee and Murrieta. The development sits on the edge of both communities.
City leaders say the grand opening represents hope and a sign the economy is making a comeback. The center first broke ground in 2007 at the height of the building boom, and stalled in 2008 when the market fell. Continental East Development purchased the property in 2010, completed the construction and recruited businesses to lease space at the center.
“The original developers had a great vision,” said Al Rattan, president of Continental East Development. Rattan said the former owners were on the right track they saw the need.
“What is happening here is not happening in most parts of the nation,” said Murrieta Mayor Douglas McAllister. ”Today’s grand opening says a lot about Murrieta because all we hear with the economy is doom and gloom.”
McAllister said Murrieta continues to prove it is the sweet spot for California when it comes to education, employment, cost of living and safety.
Located at the corner of Antelope Road and Scott Road the center is anchored by Walgreens, and home to Rico’s Barbershop, JJ Sushi and Chinese Cuisine, First Donut, Wood Rock Fire Pizzeria, So Happy Nails & Spa among others.
Menifee resident Jerry Nguyen who serves in the Air Force said he is thrilled the center is open.
“I used to drive a half hour to get my hair cut every week,” said Nguyen.
Owner of Rico’s Charles Washington said he is excited the center officially opened, “I had my eyes on this location for a long time.”
Linda Shao, owner of JJ Sushi and Chinese Cuisine, home to the revolving sushi bar said, “I love this community. The city was easy to work with and very organized.”
“This is my new sushi joint,” said Menifee resident Trista Tapio a guest at JJ’s.
Melinda Van Liut a mother and resident of Murrieta said her two daughters really love the doughnut shop.
For more information about the stores and developer of the shopping center, click http://antelopesquare.com.
Michelle Mears-Gerst is a local writer and new contributor to SWRNN.