Irvine Spectrum Center

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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
LocationIrvine, California, United States
Coordinates33°39′01″N 117°44′37″W / 33.650378°N 117.743504°W / 33.650378; -117.743504Coordinates: 33°39′01″N 117°44′37″W / 33.650378°N 117.743504°W / 33.650378; -117.743504
Opening dateNovember 22, 1995
DeveloperThe Irvine Company
ArchitectPerkowitz & Ruth (Phase 1)
RTKL Associates (Phase 2)
B.A.R. Architects (Phase 3) Unknown Architect ( phases 4-6)
No. of stores and services152
No. of anchor tenants2

The Irvine Spectrum Center is an outdoor shopping center developed by the Irvine Company, located in the Irvine Spectrum district on the southeast edge of Irvine, California, United States. The mall features Nordstrom and Target department stores, a ferris wheel, and an Edwards 21-screen movie theater.[1] 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 between 2005 and 2006. The mall is used for establishing shots of the fictional "Mall of Miami" in the Disney Channel television series Austin and Ally.


Planning of the development of the area began in 1985. In 1989, the Irvine Company completed two 15-story office towers at the site. 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 GameWorks.[2] The second phase opened in 1998. The mall's carousel was added in 2001. In 2002, the mall's third phase opened, adding a "Giant Wheel" Ferris wheel, and the centers two anchor stores, Robinsons-May and Nordstrom. Robinsons-May was re-branded as Macy's in 2006 after it was bought by Macy's. Another expansion opened in 2006, adding Target as a third anchor. Smaller expansions have been added since, such as the Clock Court restaurants and a children's play area. 2016 saw the completion of 200 Spectrum Center, an office tower on the northwestern edge of the property, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. At 323 feet tall, 200 Spectrum Center is the tallest building in Orange County.[3] Since 2003, a skating rink has been offered during the winter months, adjacent to the Giant Wheel. Macy's closed its Irvine Spectrum location in 2016.

Edwards Cinemas[edit]

The 21-screen movie theater was once the largest movie theater in the western United States.[citation needed] During development, the Edwards company code-named it "The Big One". This remained the movie theater's nickname for a while thereafter until other theaters eclipsed its screen count, particularly 30-screen AMC Theatres megaplex at The Outlets at Orange. The theater bore over two miles of pink and purple neon lights.


The Irvine Company announced in 2016 that the former Macy's building would be torn down and turned into 20 new stores, which were to open in 2018. The new stores have since opened in the southeastern section of the center, featuring a newly designed Apple Store and 19 new stores and restaurants.[4]

The Irvine Spectrum Center continued to expand a new wing on the south side of the center in 2020. The outdoor mall added large stores, restaurants, and cafes such as Sephora, Black Dot Cafe, Apple, and a new children's playground. This $200 million expansion has attracted new revenue for the mall.[citation needed]


The unusual architecture of the property is based on the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, figuring most prominently in the center's second phase.[3]

A white obelisk, which at night features the word "SPECTRUM" vertically projected onto it, is located on the northern corner near the freeway. It contains a cell phone and television tower.


In 2002, the Irvine Spectrum Center added a Ferris wheel called Giant Wheel. It is made by Westech Limited in Italy. Each open-air gondola can seat up to 6 people. It is located near Nordstrom. [5][6][7] It has a carousel fabricated in San Francisco.[citation needed]



  1. ^ "Irvine Spectrum Center Movies". Irvine Spectrum Center. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  2. ^ Huffstetter, P.J. (22 June 1998). "Game for a Fresh Look". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-03-08. Retrieved 2011-02-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Chan, Alex (7 January 2016). "Macy's at Irvine Spectrum Center to close and be replaced by 20 new stores" – via LA Times.
  5. ^ "Irvine Spectrum Center". Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  6. ^ "What's up with the Spectrum's Giant Wheel". May 13, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  7. ^ Earnest, Leslie (December 27, 2000). "Ferris Wheel at Irvine Spectrum Part of 'Shopertainment' Addition". Retrieved July 26, 2020.