The Collection: The Lakes Part II?

April 6, 2009

The Lakes shopping center in Thousand Oaks.

The Lakes shopping center in Thousand Oaks.

And what The Collection in Oxnard will look like after completion. Is there more than just a visual resemblance?

And what The Collection in Oxnard will look like after completion. Is there more than just a visual resemblance?

For all the talk lately of the impacts East Ventura will bear from the departure of its Century 16 theater, it kind of seems unsurprising that “The Lakes II” has that whole movie sequel kind of vibe to it.

It was reported today that The Lakes, under its glitzy, high-class sheen that this humble blogger will never afford in his lifetime, could be in trouble with the possible hiring of a consultant on board to amp up business at the echelon Thousand Oaks shopping plaza.

City officials are presumably set to examine if they want a consultant — at a cost of over $95,000 — this week.

I don’t know about you, but with municipal budgets waning all over Ventura County, does the city need to spend that much money on an adviser whose sole job is to find new ways to get people to … well, spend more money?

It’s been echoed by many residents, readers of our paper and others, that shopping at The Lakes is targeted to a demographic far too upper class for Thousand Oaks. T.O., as it’s affectionately called, is no slouch, mind you, in the wealth department; hosts of celebrities call it home, a veritable cashed-out Utopia compared to the likes of the poorer parts of say, Oxnard.

As one person online pointed out, there’s a difference between an annual income of $75,000 to $750,000. I wouldn’t be complaining if I made the former amount, but I don’t know if I could still afford to shop at the likes of a Lakes, which is clearly marketed to the latter.

Which brings me back to Oxnard: how well will The Collection survive? Here’s a gargantuan shopping epicenter unlike any the region has seen: a 50,000-square foot Whole Foods, an REI, and the anchor of the development, Century 16.

Oxnard has the worst crime rate in the county, and some of the lowest income neighborhoods, well, anywhere. Save for The Collection’s manufactured mega-suburb Riverpark, and the odd L.A. weekend shopper, I don’t know if most of Oxnard will be able to afford thinking about shopping at The Collection.

If the quaint Lakes center is in trouble in well-to-do T.O., just imagine how the ginormous Collection will fare in mostly-low-income “The ‘Nard.” Could the shopping center, in five years’ time, meet some similar financial problems as its Thousand Oaks consumer sibling has?

One thing’s for sure, if the economy continues the way it’s been going, we won’t be seeing another sequel in this franchise.

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