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Spectrum climbs to new heights

Irvine Spectrum unveiled a new wing of stores on Aug. 18 after months of renovation, updating a few existing shops and featuring new additions scheduled to open in coming months.

Thirty total stores are set to occupy four buildings in the former Macy’s location, ranging from boutiques to restaurants to salons. Stores such as Brandy Melville and Apple were also renovated and relocated, both receiving more spacious and modern looks than their original locations.

The new additions include BLKdot Coffee, Afters Ice Cream, Sephora, Gorjana and more. These additions represent the growing cultural and entrepreneurial diversity of Irvine Spectrum, such as Falasophy, a Lebanese street food kitchen that originated as a food truck, and Stance, a rising sock brand just opening its first Southern California store.

“I’m really impressed by the grand scale and diversity of these new developments,” junior Ashwin Jagadish said. “There’s a ton of things I have to try.”

The expansion comes at a hefty price of $200 million, and is Spectrum’s first drastic renovation since 2002. The shopping center now boasts the largest H&M store on the West Coast, which occupies two stories and 43,000 square feet. All final renovations and stores not opened in August will be finished in 2019.

In addition to stores, Irvine Spectrum added a play area to the canopy-roofed plaza between the new buildings, which contains a 18 by 50 foot sculpture titled “Luckey Climber” for children to play on. The carousel near the center of the shopping complex was repainted and moved to the plaza as well.

“The play structure honestly looks so great,” junior Jadyn Tiong said. “It reminds me of when I used to climb jungle gyms when I was younger.”

The opening also kicked off Spectrum’s Endless Summer Series, which is two months of promotions and special events that celebrate core parts of Southern California lifestyle. Vendors will offer in-store events depending on the theme of the week, such as “Celebrating Music and Tech” or “Celebrating Fashion.” The Endless Summer Series will continue until Oct. 6, when Irvine Spectrum finishes off the eighth week with “Celebrating Art.”

It is estimated that as many as 17 million people visited the Spectrum last year, and that number is sure to rise annually. With these new attractions and broad collection of stores, Irvine Spectrum hopes to attract even more people to enjoy everything it has to offer.