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brea downtown

  • Improv plan could be a windfall

    6 months ago by

    A huge opportunity was placed in the City Council’s lap. Now what will they do with it?

      At the May 5 City Council study session, Stu Schreiberg of the Improv Corporation and Dwight Manley, a major Brea Downtown property owner, gave a brief presentation of a proposed Brea Improv that has little resemblance to the present one on Brea Boulevard.

        The new Improv would move to the corner of Brea Boulevard and Birch Street, presently housing Old Navy. Manley Fanticola, owners of that property plan to spend more than $10million to tear down and replace that building with a 41,000-square foot, two-story Improv.

          “The Improv will invest heavily in the interior buildout,” said Manley via email.

            This new Improv would have a commanding and exciting exterior and feature large theater auditoriums on both floors, two fine dining restaurants and outdoor seating on both levels. Besides comedy, this Improv would feature live plays and musical productions. It would be, according to Schreiberg, an entertainment destination.

              He also said that Improv Corporation plans very soon to open five of these mega Improv theaters around the country in such places as San Francisco, Nashville, New York and Brea Downtown.

                It would put Brea on the SoCal entertainment destination map and add a new level of sophistication and excitement to the downtown.

                  Quite a windfall for Brea, right? But the air could quickly blow out of that windfall if another parking structure is not built on the eastside of Brea Boulevard, behind the very vacant former Tower building. Without it, the Improv will go elsewhere. Their present lease ends in 2016.

                    This is a huge opportunity for Brea and it all hinges on securing a new parking structure. You can’t build an entertainment venue with theater seating for nearly 600 people plus the restaurants without adequate, convenient parking. Such a parking structure will benefit not only the property owners, but also all of us who will benefit from the tax dollars the Improv Entertainment Center brings to Brea, and it can’t hurt our own property values either.

                      Our city leaders made the right decision in the 1970s with the very successful Brea Mall that could easily been built in another city along 57 Freeway. Do we want to see the new Improv be built in Fullerton or elsewhere in Orange County, when it could be built in Brea? I sure don’t.

                        What I am sure of is if you missed the fourth annual “Celebration of Brea’s Sister Cities” at the Curtis Theatre at the Brea Civic Center on May 3, you missed an evening of outstanding entertainment.

                          Presented by the Brea Korea Sister City Association, it featured a wide variety of music and dance representing Korea, Japan, Mexico and the USA, including the terrific the Brea Olinda High School Jazz Band. Also terrific was the very talented Korean American Youth Performing Artists who did amazing drum dances. All of the other dancers and singers were also outstanding.

                            Proceeds from the celebration will help Brea students to travel to our sister city of Anseong, Korea.

                              Terri Daxon is a freelance writer and the owner of Daxon Marketing Communications. Contact her at

  • Council discusses golf course, downtown parking

    10 months ago by

    The Brea City Council chambers were dark Jan. 6, but the council still met that night in its usual third-floor conference room for a public study session followed by a closed session.

      In the past, the first council meeting in January was usually canceled, but not this year.

        Mayor Marty Simonoff went forth with a study session agenda of only two items: an amendment to the Birch Hills Golf Course lease agreement and another parking structure in Brea Downtown. The meeting lasted three hours, with productive discussion by all of the council.

          The council first discussed the lease amendment. The amendment would change the threshold of responsibility for repairs for the Birch Hills Golf Course as part of the lease agreement with Imperial Golf, which will operate the course and clubhouse. The current agreement makes the city responsible for repairs when they reach $5,000. The amendment changes that threshold to $50,000.

            Matt Clabaugh, representing Imperial Golf, said the company would meet with Brea’s staff regarding the amendment. He added that the company plans to use two modulars for the clubhouse and pro shop until a permanent clubhouse is built and that an attractive clubhouse draws more golfers and higher green fees, something a couple of golfers on the council disagreed with.

              The council also discussed a parking structure for Superblock 1, behind the vacant Tower building in Brea Downtown. As I wrote last May, without an additional parking structure in that block facing Brea Boulevard, Brea Downtown will die. One by one, the successful and popular venues will go away, and instead of a downtown, we will have a deadtown.

                Mark Caplow of E.M. Caplow and Associates, owners of the 30,000-square-foot Tower building, said that the one thing holding up a long-term lease of the building is the lack of parking behind it.

                  “I’ve had inquires about it from several high-end companies, but without adequate parking, they don’t want it,” Caplow said. While the former and current councils tend to favor a parking structure with mixed space for commercial or residential use, the downtown owners prefer a parking-only structure behind Tower with a bridge extending across Birch Street to what is now Old Navy. The Brea Improv has plans to take over that spot and transform it into its new comedy club-nightclub concept, like it has done in Irvine. However, it will need more parking.

                    The city’s mixed-use proposal for $13.2million adds 444 spaces, in contrast to an all-parking design by Caplow and Dwight Manley – another major Brea Downtown property owner – that they said can be built for $5million and adds 501 parking spaces. Either way, more parking will keep downtown from becoming deadtown.

                      Terri Daxon is a freelance writer and the owner of Daxon Marketing Communications. She gives her perspective on Brea issues twice a month. Contact her at

  • Farrell’s “Thank You” Sundae for Veterans and Active Military

    1 year ago by

      Hooray for the Red White and Blue! Veterans and current military men and women this weekend just got sweeter with a very special, and completely FREE, “All American Red, White and Blue Thank You Sundae” through Veterans Day, Tuesday November 11 – - compliments of Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour restaurants including, Farrell’s Brea Downtown, Buena Park, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, Mission Viejo, Sacramento or Santa Clarita.

        There is no purchase necessary but it cannot be combined with any other special or offer. Acceptable ID's include a U.S. Uniform Services ID Card (active/reserve/retired), Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), Photograph of yourself in uniform, Veterans Organizations Card (e.g., American Legion and VFW), DD214 or discharge paperwork.

          So stop by Farrell’s and enjoy a patriotic delicious sundae made 'Just For You' with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, blueberry compote, strawberry topping, whipped cream, a cherry, and, of course, an American flag proudly waving atop the whole thing! Also, non-military guests may purchase the Sunday for $7.76.

  • The Ultimate Halloween Kidz Block Party 2014

    1 year ago by

      Right in our own backyard is the biggest Halloween block party in North Orange County. On Halloween night from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., join The Cause Community Church for Kidz Block Party held in Brea Downtown. With over 30 midway game booths, rock climbing wall, giant inflatable slides and rides, face painting, balloon art, live bands…. and over 250,000 pieces of candy, you and yours will be dazzled! And to top if off - admission is FREE. Can't beat that!

  • Kool weekend ahead for the 12th Annual Brea Jazz Festival

    1 year ago by

      Who’s tired of this heat, setting an all-time record warmest year to date – not to mention our severe drought! On the positive side, the evenings are getting a bit cooler as fall is coming, making next weekend’s annual Jazz Festival held in Brea Downtown that much sweeter. Save the date as this year’s 12th annual Brea Jazz Festival is ONLY three days – Friday, September 19 – Sunday 21.

  • Spend Father’s Day at the 10th Annual Cruisin’ Brea Car Show

    1 year ago by

    2013 Annual Cruisin’ Brea Car Show (courtesy Carolyn Campbell)

      For the past 10 years, thousands upon thousands have spent Father’s Day at the Annual Cruisin’ Brea Car Show. Hosted by the Orange County Mustang Club (OCMC) and held in Beautiful Brea Downtown, this show entertains not just pop but it’s got something for the whole family.

        On June 15, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., this year’s venue will feature well over 200 vehicles of all makes, models and years, a beer and wine garden, live entertainment including Outerwave (surfer band based out of Brea), Gear (British Invasion band), Rockford (80’s rock band) and DJ “Retro Rick,” along with a chance to win many prizes throughout the day such as a 19" LED HDTV, electronic tablet, and men's bicycle. And finally strolling through Brea Downtown you’ll spot the perfect places to shop and dine and catch a movie if you’re so inclined!

          Last year while working for Brea Downtown, I had the pleasure to create an album on Brea Downtown's Facebook fan page. The album features 58 photos of people who visited the car show at various times throughout the event to spend a happy Father's Day in Brea Downtown. Take a look, who know's? Maybe you or someone you know was spotted!

  • Safe and Sound at Brea Gateway Downtown

    2 years ago by

    From left, Ivan Magdaleno and Joseph Acevedo standing outside of their office at Brea Gateway Downtown.

      Brea is boring, says Joseph Acevedo and Ivan Magdaleno, security guards at Brea Gateway Downtown. Aside from being a Northern Orange County destination for shopping, dining and entertainment, their assessment is on the mark. Are we complaining? I think not!

        Both young men aspire to be police officers. They take their job seriously working different shifts that overlap an hour each day. Anyone who frequents downtown has passed their office, which is very nondescript other than looking like a tiny janitorial supply room next to Cost Plus World Market. Open the door and there is one lawn chair and a bicycle.

          Each day they set out on foot or bicycle patrolling the center, checking each building, looking for graffiti (which seldom occurs), giving out tickets for those who double park, park in handicapped spots and are not disabled, and exceed the 3-day maximum parking limit.

            Other than a homeless man who for a short period of time was staying at Brea Gateway Downtown, there really haven’t been any problems, with the exception of the children who run amok riding their skateboards and bicycles. When confronted by Joseph and Ivan, most of the kids disregard the notice. So that is an ongoing battle that Joseph and Ivan are diligently on top of.

              Just like their office, you may not take notice, but they’re keeping us safe and deserve praise for their good job. No doubt they will make fine police officers someday.

                Thanks to their efforts, we’re boring.

  • Angel statue relocated to new home at Brea Downtown

    2 years ago by


      Many people say they haven't noticed her yet, even though she's been there since before Halloween and shared space with a huge Christmas tree and Santa. Maybe it's because there usually is a brown covered wagon, several trees, the revolving Brea sign and other distractions around her. Brea Angel isn't new to Brea Downtown. She used to hang out near the former Pane Vino Restaurant on Brea Boulevard. At that time, she was titled “Breaking Down the Orange Curtain” and surrounded by orange glass blocks. When 240 South wanted to move in, it needed more space for a front patio, so the angel left.

        She was gone for quite a while and ended up back at her creator's studio according to the artist, Cheryl Ekstrom, to give it a new look. Ekstrom said she has heard from many people over the past 10 years who really like the piece, took their Christmas photos by it in both its old and now its new location. Last year, Ek-strom redesigned the piece without orange blocks, added a raised base, some concrete stools for seating and renamed it “Brea Angel.” Then it was placed on the cluttered corner of Brea Boulevard and Birch Street.

          Cluttered isn't how Ekstrom sees it, though. “I love the new location, with all the interactive elements,” she said. “The Brea Angel is all about new possibilities, growth and change. It makes me very happy.” I've heard from several people who have definite views, so I did one of my unscientific email surveys of 45 Brea residents. Of 38 responses, 18 people like the Brea Angel and her location, and 20 prefer the original angel – though some thought the old location and the new one were both bad. Interesting that they were pretty much split even on which angel they preferred.

            Even more interesting was that nine people said they initially had not noticed the angel at her new location. One person said she drove by it three times before she finally spotted it among all the trees and stuff around her.

              “I definitely appreciated the original; it was artwork with a message,” said former planning commissioner Ralph Heinmann. “The current placement … does not have a sense of place, and there is no context.” Another person thought the orange blocks looked out of place at the former location and was glad they were gone but thought Brea Angel would look better in a park.

                All Art in Public Places pieces are owned by each location's property owner; the Brea Downtown Own-ers Association owns the angel.

                  Terri Daxon is a freelance writer and the owner of Daxon Marketing Communications. She gives her perspective on Brea issues twice a month. Contact her at

  • Last contest of the year on Brea Gateway Facebook!

    2 years ago by

    Brea Gateway photo courtesy of Greg Voisan Panoramic Photography

    Hi everyone!

      We thank you for subscribing to BBON website! In addition to posting interesting Brea News, we run year-round contests on Beautiful Brea Old & New!

        We ended the year with a great giveaway for two: Dinner at Burrissimo and a short walk to catch a movie at Edwards Theater.

          Fast forward: Our first giveaway of 2014 ended with three people winning gift cards to Corner Bakery! And guess what? We're already planning our second giveaway of this New Year on Brea Gateway Center-Brea Downtown and first contest on BBON!

            Brea Gateway , a fan page we're thrilled to be a part of, is located on the corner of Imperial Highway and Brea Boulevard and considered a part of Brea Downtown.

              This shopping center may indeed be the first retail shopping center in Brea, other than Brea Downtown and Brea Mall, to have a presence on Facebook, a sign that social media is being recognized by shopping venues as a way to connect with customers.

                With two contests in February, try your luck. You just may be a winner!

                  Let's stay connected!

  • Welcome to one-stop shop – City of Brea

    2 years ago by




            TERRI DAXON The wild and crazy shopping season has begun, and the best place to go is right here in Brea. Where else can you find such a wealth of shopping choices? There are the beautiful, recently Mall, our Brea Downtown, the Brea Marketplace across from the mall, Brea Gateway Center, plus several other shopping areas up and down Imperial Highway and elsewhere in our city.

              While Brea has many unique shops, there also are chain stores, including a few big-box ones such as Target, Walmart and Home Depot. Sure, you can shop the chains in many cities, but the sales tax dollars come back to Brea only if the merchandise was purchased here.

                Why is shopping in Brea so important? I asked Heidi Gallegos, the new executive director of the Brea Chamber of Commerce.

                  “Shopping Brea first keeps our dollars in the community in order to support public safety, capital improvements as well as retain programs that are unique to the culture of Brea,” Gallegos said via email. “We encourage shoppers to keep our dollars in Brea and shop Brea first.” Brea is definitely a shopping destination. Brea Mall is Orange County’s fourth largest mall in sales tax revenue.

                    Keeping those shopping dollars here makes a big difference. According to Brea’s June 2012 fiscal report, Brea’s sales tax revenue has increased 4.4 percent over the previous fiscal year, which is pretty good. Sales tax for general retail sales, such as department stores, apparel shops, home stores and other retailers , made up 46.7 percent of the increase.

                      According to Bill Gallardo, Brea’s administrative services director, in Brea you are charged 8 percent sales tax on taxable items. Of that 8 percent, only 1 percent stays in Brea. “The rest goes elsewhere, mostly to the state,” Gallardo said via email.

                        So how does that work? Gallardo said, for example, when you make a $100 purchase, you pay $8 in sales tax. Of the $8, Brea gets $1. That doesn’t sound like much, but in fiscal year 2012, it totaled $19 million. That’s a lot of buying in Brea, folks.

                          What about online sales, such as at Amazon, that include California sales tax? Does the city benefit from those sales? Yes, but it isn’t much. Amazon charges Brea and other Orange County customers the 8 percent rate, and the 1 percent is sent to the state. “Then the state divides that local money based on your city’s percentage of total sales in the county,” Gallardo said. What that breaks down to is that Brea gets a measly 3.5 percent of the 1 percent. So shopping locally, rather than online, makes better dollar sense for our city. And while you are shopping in Brea, visit the new Santa’s village on the lower level of Brea Mall. It is one of the most attractive I’ve ever seen in a mall. Plus, it gives the kids something to marvel at while Dad checks out the Tesla showroom a few shops away.

                            Terri Daxon is a freelance writer and the owner of Daxon Marketing Communications. She gives her perspective on Brea issues twice a month. Contact her at  .