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Arts, Culture, Shopping, Eating: You're Always with Family at South Coast Plaza and the Segerstrom Center

Written by Cindy Marie Jenkins on Friday, December 8th, 2017 at 2:06pm.

Orange County is nearly synonymous with the Segerstrom family name. You find their influence in every large cultural stop and tourist touchpoint. The Segerstroms immigrated to Orange County from Sweden, following that dream of America we are all taught in school. Starting with a meager 40 acres of land, they soon grew to be the region’s leading producer of lima beans. Their subsequent successes with other crops and slowly growing until they owned 2,500 acres of farmland, The Segerstrom family heritage is why we have the South Coast Plaza and Segerstrom Center for the Arts today.

Every building holds its own stories, and we found many interesting facts to share on how both the South Coast Plaza and Segerstrom Center became the booming centers of Orange County they are today.

  • The Segerstrom Center didn't pull any punches for its design. When it came to the look for the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Samueli Theater and the Lawrence and Kristina Dodge Education Center, they turned to renowned architect Cesar Pelli. He not only remodeled the Museum of Modern Art in New York but also won the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 1995.

  • From 1995-2004, the 375 stores and restaurants in South Coast Plaza were responsible for consuming the largest concentration of energy in all of Orange County. It takes a lot of lights to keep such a luxury shopping and tourist spots open for business!

  • There is a special concert organ in The Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall named the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ. It has 4,322 pipes and 75 stops, with “57 individual voices, 4 manual keyboards with 61 notes each, 1 pedal keyboard with 32 notes. It weighs nearly 30 tons and took approximately 42,000 hours to assemble and install,” according to local historians.

  • Bring your own picnic, then meet up with friends at The Segerstrom’s annual midsummer Movie Mondays. For 5 consecutive Monday nights, they show film favorites on their lawn for free.

  • The South Coast Plaza is still owned by the founding Segerstrom family, fifty years after its founding. Sole ownership and staying out of the franchise market allows them to stay nimble and ahead of trends. They have a much higher occupancy rate than most modern malls, who find themselves with more vacancies thanks to the ease of online shopping. It's different at South Coast Plaza, and that's because the Segerstrom's personal relationship with each occupant includes community building around holidays like Black Friday. The Plaza continues to be a place to see and be seen such that the American shopping mall hasn't seen in the last ten years.

If you'd like to live nearby, check out our #SearchWithStyle or contact us to learn which beautiful Costa Mesa homes are on the market.

Photo credit: Segerstrom Center for the Arts


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