May 1, 2014
At the southern end of the 55, towering above a bustling downtown district, the landmark dome of the Triangle entertainment center serves as a welcoming beacon for thousands of passing cars daily.
The Italian cathedral-inspired dome once marked the home of Orange County’s only Niketown sports store, but for the past nine years, the dramatic retail space under the dome has sat empty and largely unused – a lingering legacy of Costa Mesa’s troubled Triangle Square downtown revitalization project.
Niketown broke its lease in 2005 and moved out as the outdoor mall hemorrhaged tenants.
Now the darkest days of the rebranded Triangle entertainment center appear to be over. Under new ownership since 2010, the Triangle’s occupancy rate has shot up to about 75 percent from a low of 20 percent.
Wil Smith, owner of Greenlaw Partners in Newport Beach, which owns the Triangle, has spent the past four years personally courting trendy restaurants and bars, boutique shops and a nightclub-like bowling alley. He’s also poured more than $25 million into a modernization effort, turning the former ghost town into a hip lifestyle and entertainment center.