Irvine Spectrum

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Irvine Spectrum Center
Irvine Spectrum Center (2013) 12.jpg
"Giant Wheel" at the Irvine Spectrum Center as seen from across I-5
Location Irvine, California, US
Opening date November 22, 1995
Developer The Irvine Company
Architect Perkowitz & Ruth (Phase 1)
RTKL Associates (Phase 2)
B.A.R. Architects (Phase 3)
No. of stores and services 164
No. of anchor tenants 2

The Irvine Spectrum Center is an outdoor shopping center developed by the Irvine Company, located on the southeast edge of Irvine, California, US. The mall features an Edwards 21-screen movie theater.[citation needed] Built over a 10-year period, the first phase of the center opened in 1995 and the second phase followed in 1998. The third phase was completed in 2002. The fourth and fifth phases were built and completed through 2005 and 2006 and are still open to this day.

It has chains including Barnes & Noble, Nordstrom and H&M. Restaurants include Javier's Cantina, The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Yard House, Izakaya Sushi, California Pizza Kitchen, Johnny Rockets, Veggie Grill, 41 Olive, Red Robin, Ruby's, Chipotle, and Corner Bakery Cafe, Lily Chai Tea. The Irvine Spectrum Center hosts The Improv and Dave and Buster's.

The mall is used for establishing shots of the fictional "Mall of Miami" in the Disney Channel television series Austin and Ally.


The stage for Disney Magical Holiday Lights

Master planning began on the development of the area in 1985. In 1989, the Irvine Company completed two 15-story office towers at the site: 8001 & 8005 Irvine Center Drive (now 100 & 300 Spectrum Center Drive). The retail and entertainment portion of the development, then known as the "Entertainment Center at the Irvine Spectrum Center", began construction in 1993. This first phase of the mall opened in 1995 and consisted of Edwards Cinemas' 21-screen multiplex, Oasis Food Court, and Sega City.[1] The second phase opened in 1998, adding shops, restaurants, and entertainment offerings such as Dave & Buster's, The Improv, and NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway. The mall's carousel was added in 2001. In 2002, the mall's third phase opened, adding Barnes & Noble, Urban Outfitters, Giant Wheel attraction, and its first anchor department store, Robinsons-May (later Macy's). In 2005, a second department store, Nordstrom, opened. 2006 saw the addition of an Apple Store and the center's third department store, Target.[2][3] Smaller expansions have been added since, such as the Clock Court restaurants and a children's play area. In 2014, the Irvine Improv moved from its original location to a much larger building that previously held the Oasis Food Court. In 2016, it was reported that Macy's would be shuttering its Irvine Spectrum store. The Irvine Company plans to replace Macy's with two buildings with 20 new stores.[4][5]

Edwards Cinemas[edit]

The 21-screen movie theater was the largest movie theater in the western United States. During development the Edwards company code-named it "The Big One", which remained the movie theater's nickname for a while thereafter until other theaters eclipsed its screen count, particularly AMC's 30-screen complex at The Block at Orange. The theater's opening attractions were Toy Story and the IMAX 3D feature Into the Deep.

The cineplex was altered in 2000 when the Edwards Cinemas was bought by Regal Entertainment Group. Entrances to theaters were relocated to less-visible locations, and were converted to stadium seating which eliminated up to a third of their seating capacity. The theater was highly visible at night, bearing over two miles of pink and purple neon lights. This night-time visibility has since been reduced by the addition of parking structures and the center's second phase.

Seasonal offerings[edit]

Since 2003, a skating rink has been offered during the winter months, adjacent to the Giant Wheel.

During the 2013 holiday season, the Irvine Spectrum Center hosted an event called Disney Magical Holiday Lights in collaboration with the Disneyland Resort.[6]


An illuminated fountain, designed after the Alhambra's Court of the Lions
The carousel
A parking structure entrance showing the number of available spaces

The unusual architecture of the property is based on the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, figuring most prominently in the center's second phase.[7]

A white obelisk, which at night features the word "SPECTRUM" vertically projected onto it, is located on the northern corner near the 5 freeway. Prior to November 2005, the obelisk was a multi-color computer generated the display of blues, greens, and purples. During the holiday seasons, season-appropriate symbols were displayed. Beginning November 2005, it shines in white that still makes it a landmark. It conceals a cell phone and television tower inside.

The Irvine Spectrum Center has a Ferris wheel called Giant Wheel crafted in Italy,[citation needed] as well as a carousel fabricated in San Francisco.[citation needed]

The center's popularity makes it known for being tough to find parking on Friday and Saturday nights. As popularity grew, the Irvine Company, owner of the Center, built two parking structures, (one on each side): one by Edwards, the other by Nordstrom, to aid convenience. These structures have sensors that determine how many vehicles are inside. As vehicles enter the structure, a digital displays how many spots are left on a given level.

As a result of the structures, more space was open to building additional retail stores including as Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Jos A. Bank, 41 Olive, Lily Chai Tea, The Saleen Store (converted to SMS Motorcars), and Target.

The center features: Three valet parking stations-

  • Fortune Valet by the Cheesecake Factory and Javier's Cantina
  • Gateway Valet by PF Chang's
  • Tradesman Valet by The Yard house/The Improv
  • Myrtle's Valet near Johnny Rockets/Dave & Buster's (Closed Permanently)

Customer service desk.

  • With complimentary cell phone charger,

And water.

  • EV ( electronic Vehicles charge stations
  • 2 parking Garages


It is located inside a triangular area surrounded by Interstate 5 (I-5), Interstate 405 (I-405) and California State Route 133 (SR 133), at the I-5/I-405 split known as the El Toro Y. The nearest freeway exits are Alton Parkway for I-5 and Irvine Center Drive for I-405. It is also near the Irvine Transportation Center.


  1. ^ Huffstetter, P.J. (22 June 1998). "Game for a Fresh Look". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  2. ^ Cohen, Peter (February 2006). "New Apple store coming to Irvine, Calif. Saturday". Macworld. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  3. ^ "Irvine Spectrum Center: 20th Anniversary". Irvine Spectrum Center. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Chan, Alex (7 January 2016). "Macy's at Irvine Spectrum Center to close and be replaced by 20 new stores". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Center Events". Shop Irvine Spectrum Center. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  7. ^

Coordinates: 33°39′01″N 117°44′37″W / 33.650378°N 117.743504°W / 33.650378; -117.743504