Irvine, CA-based KTGY Group, Inc has been busy lately. Not only has the architecture and planning firm's Retail Studio completed roughly 12 million sq-ft of design and construction in California in the past year, it has also developed two apps for developers in the retail industry.

“It is a great time to be a retail architect in California,” says Craig T. Chinn, KTGY's associate principal, who heads up its Retail Studio. He says the elimination of some city redevelopment agencies, along with upside-down properties and foreclosures, has allowed developers to pick up property at great values, enabling them to entitle more dense developments, mixed-use and multi-level retail developments.

Highlighting the company’s current work in California are large Los Angeles County projects such as District Square and The Lakes, developed by The Charles Company of West Hollywood, CA; and La Verne Village, developed by Hutton Companies of Orange, CA. 

Costing approximately $100 million, District Square will be located next to the new Exposition Light Rail Line and West Angeles Cathedral, on a six-acre site at Crenshaw Boulevard and Rodeo Road in Los Angeles. The three-level 300,000 sq-ft retail center will feature a supermarket and various retailers and restaurants on the ground floor; a Target and more retailers and restaurants on the second floor; and parking on the ground level and roof. The roof will also feature shade/trellis structures and photovoltaic systems for on-site power generation.

District Square is currently under construction and is slated to open in winter 2014.

About 30 miles east of District Square, KTGY designed La Verne Village, a 172-unit mixed-use residential and retail community in the city of La Verne. Situated on the 7.69-acre site of a former automobile dealership, the $43 million, three-story project includes luxury apartment homes, a pool, fitness center, movie theater, business center and more than 15,000 sq-ft of retail shopping and dining.

A third project for the company is The Lakes mixed-used development in West Covina, which will include 450 residential units with 20,000 sq-ft of retail, office and restaurant space. The Lakes is currently in plan check and is expected to break ground this summer and open in third or fourth quarter 2014. The overall cost of the project has not been released.

Besides these projects, KTGY also completed the Northridge Fashion Center in Northridge, CA, which is one of 14 major mall renovations for the company in the last 12 months. Chinn says retailers and regional shopping center and mall owners are reinventing themselves to keep their market share.

Another way KTGY is staying active is by creating computer apps.

Their Mobile Design Studio app is a design lab on wheels that lets the company deliver "local architectural and planning services to clients anywhere in the world - onsite," says Chinn, and the firm's Site Survey App is specifically made for the iPad to assist with onsite surveys from small tenant improvement projects to large-scale mall renovations.