Valley News -

By Will Fritz

Grading could begin soon on 'Golden Triangle' site, but details remain vague


Last updated 8/20/2018 at 1:23pm

Fantastic things are in store for Murrieta’s “Golden Triangle,” the city’s mayor said.

The only things is Mayor Jonathan Ingram can’t give any specifics. “Yet,” he said.

But the owners, the Domenigoni family – the same family whose land was inundated to create the Diamond Valley Lake and whose name is borne by the parkway in Hemet that was used to film a “Fast and Furious” scene – said they’re working off the specific plan for the Murrieta Springs Mall that was approved before the city incorporated in 1991.

The site, nestled in a triangle of land between Murrieta Hot Springs Road and the Interstate 15/215 interchange, has long been touted as one of the most promising properties in the region.

And it has a long and storied history of proposed developments and false starts.

The site could have been developed as a mall had Temecula not been chosen as the site for the Promenade, which opened in 1999, giving that city a longstanding sales tax advantage over its neighbor.

In the 1990s, developer Zev Buffman also proposed turning it into a Western-themed entertainment center, RogersDale USA, after he had previously tried to put it in Old Town Temecula but ran into plenty of opposition.

He couldn’t close the deal in Murrieta either and left town. A large hole remains in the ground on the site where an arena for the entertainment center would have gone.

The Domenigoni family purchased the property in the late 90s.

After that, the Domenigoni family has proposed plan after plan for retail and office development, but problems with developers or disputes with the city over the kinds of improvements that were required have always prevented the site from finally being built-up.

To this day, the most valuable barren field in all of southwest Riverside County remains vacant.

“It’s like a curse or something,” Buffman, the developer, is quoted as saying in a 2016 column by Carl Love of the Press-Enterprise.

In 2016, the Domenigoni family renewed the development agreement for the mall that was originally proposed, though it’s not going to be exactly the same, of course.

“We didn’t scrap any of the development on the old Murrieta Springs Mall. We just redid it because it was already established,” Andy Domenigoni said.

Now, the family and the city are considering three different options for the land, according to Ingram.

He said he couldn’t provide specifics but hinted that whatever the Domenigoni family ends up putting on the site may not have as much of a big box-retail focus as previous plans for the site.

“What was originally slated to be built in the Golden Triangle probably would not have been successful, so they were looking at, of course, market climate,” the mayor said.

And in the current market climate, physical stores are not as popular as they used to be.

“Brick and mortars have changed immensely,” he said. “If I order something, it’s generally through Amazon.”

Andy Domenigoni said the many details are up in the air, but grading could begin on the site as early as the end of the year. The family is in discussion with potential tenants for the site, he said.

“I think you’re going to see mixed-use,” he said. “You could possibly see hotels. You could see theaters. You could see office buildings, entertainment and your conventional retail. But that’s changing now.”

Some of the things to determine include where entrances and exits to the property will be and how to relocate a sewer connection now that a major line has moved.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at [email protected]


Reader Comments

tomsuttle writes:

I have to salute Valley News for 'breaking ground' on this, the most economically important update on Murrieta's beautifully located Triangle in years. The last major step that had occurred was shortly after Mr. Ingram (currently Mayor) came on board, when he helped break the oppressive political logjam that had long held this economic jewel hostage. The fates, via our changing economy, have presented the Domenigonis a rare opportunity to ride a wave in this brave new world of retail realities


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