’MenifeeMerge’ begins, construction continues

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Demolition of the south side of the Newport Rd. bridge over I-215 was scheduled to begin this week. Demolition and reconstruction will last through October.

Construction crews have shifted Newport Road traffic onto the north side of the bridge and the traffic merge will run in both directions from April through October.

In this temporary configuration, also called “MenifeeMerge,” the eastbound traffic will include two through lanes, one dedicated left-turn lane for the northbound I-215 on-ramp, and one dedicated right-turn lane for the southbound I-215 on-ramp. Westbound traffic will include two through lanes, and one dedicated right-turn lane for the northbound I-215 on-ramp.

According to cityofmenifee.us, tonight through tomorrow morning, April 8 to 9, full freeway lane closures are scheduled on northbound I-215 from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. Intermittent freeway lane closures are scheduled on southbound I-215 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Full freeway lane closures are scheduled on southbound I-215 from 11 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.

Saturday through Sunday, April 9 to 10, intermittent freeway lane and ramp closures are scheduled on northbound I-215 from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Full freeway lane closures are scheduled on southbound I-215 from 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Intermittent freeway lane closures will continue overnight, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., on both sides of I-215 between McCall Boulevard and Scott Road in the coming week. NOTE: Information contained in this Construction Alert is subject to change without notice, based on inclement weather, field conditions or other operational factors.

As for construction news . . .

Menifee’s Economic Development Director Jeff Wyman spoke at a recent Menifee 24/7 Community Forum to provide an update on business complexes currently under construction in the City of Menifee.

The Sonic drive-in restaurant in the Town Center Marketplace, at the corner of Newport and Haun Roads, is nearly complete and is shaping up to be one of the first businesses to open in late April or early May. Buffalo Wild Wings also is nearing completion. Buildings for that center have gone up over the last few months and the parking lot for the 12.2-acre site soon will be completed.

Other businesses in the Town Center Marketplace will include PetSmart, Party City, Aldi grocery store, Kirkland’s, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, The Habit burger grill, Jimmy John’s, Sprint, El Pollo Loco, European Wax Center, Nikki’s Nails, SportClips haircuts, Pieology Pizzeria, Yogurtland, Rubio’s Mexican Grill, Waba Grill, Active Ride Shop, Ono Hawaiian BBQ and The Joint Chiropractic.

Menifee24/7.com quoted Wyman as saying, “When I first met with a commercial broker about this project over two years ago, he wasn’t too sure about the potential of a new commercial center here, especially coming out of the recession. I tried to tell him we really needed amenities and the center should fill up quickly. A year later when I met him again, he was shocked. Before they even broke ground, they were 98 percent leased.”

As for the adjacent complex, the Menifee Town Center, Wyman said he couldn’t provide a specific timetable for the building of the anchor 14-screen Krikorian Theater and entertainment complex; however, City officials hope to see groundbreaking on the project later this year.

According to Wyman, the theater is slated to include a 100-foot movie screen with luxury seating and food delivery to seats. There also will be a 16-lane bowling alley and sports bar.

He said future plans for the center include sports fields, a park, residential units, a state courthouse (still not finalized) and a civic center that eventually will house the Menifee City Hall.

Canyon Lakers most likely are interested in the above-mentioned developments. But other projects in the works include The Shops at Menifee Lakes, on the southeast corner of Newport and Menifee Roads; and across from that, a center that includes an Archibald’s drive-thru and Rite-Aid.

Also along Newport Rd., just east of I-215 at Antelope, will be the Menifee Lakes Plaza, which is scheduled to include an LA Fitness health club and possibly a hotel, along with other small businesses.

New tenants coming to the Countryside Marketplace, where Old Navy used to be, are Home Goods and Forever 21. At the former Beer Hunter location, there will be a Dog Haus custom hot dog restaurant and a Luxxotica eyewear store.

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Several other projects remain in the planning stages. Wyman said the Walmart Superstore planned for the Menifee Crossroads project, at the intersection of I-215 and Scott Rd., has no date for a groundbreaking, even though all plans have been approved by the city. The Scott Road Interchange is the next big road project and likely has a bearing on Walmart’s timetable.

Desired by Menifee and Canyon Lake residents alike is a Trader Joe’s. According to Menifee 24/7, Wyman wants to make it clear that the absence of a Trader Joe’s market is not for a lack of trying on the City’s part.

As he points out, “Trader Joe’s has specific criteria. We would love to have them and I know a lot of residents have contacted Trader Joe’s as well. But they’re looking for a higher average income. They want to be in more of an urban population, closer to big cities. That doesn’t mean their position won’t change in the future.” In the meantime, it is hoped the new Aldi’s will provide some of what Trader Joe’s shoppers are looking for.

For interested Canyon Lakers, Menifee 24/7 Community Forums are held at 7 p.m. on the last Monday of each month at Merna’s Cafe, 26850 Cherry Hills Blvd.

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