Animal-style changes coming to the Brea Imperial Center

OCRegister 6 days ago

Expect huge changes to the Brea Imperial Center at Imperial Highway and State College Boulevard, changes that will include the demise of Carl’s Jr. and the debut of In-N-Out Burger.

But that’s not all. The property owners, JLJ (USA) Investments, with offices in Brea, plan to completely renovate the tired, 1979 center. Something it’s needed for many years.

Carl’s lease will soon end, but they hope to relocate in Brea, according to City Manager Bill Gallardo.

That is great, because I learned from lifelong Brea residents John Bickel and Terry Sullivan that the Carl’s at the Brea Imperial Center was opened in 1955, and was the second Carl’s to open in the chain. Pretty cool.

But this is 2018, and In-N-Out is raring to flip their awesome burgers for Breans, and at the Imperial/State College location. I know, that area is already clogged with traffic, but look for In-N-Out to keep their drive-thru traffic within the shopping center, and not on Imperial Highway or Randolph Street.

At the last Brea Planning Commission meeting and public hearing for the shopping center project, Michelle Bennett of In-N-Out’s new store development team spoke confidently about their efficiency in getting folks through the drive-thru lane in 45 seconds, from time of ordering to handing them their food.

In peak times, she said, they do this by having employees go out and take the orders in the line via hand-held devices. Maybe that will be the key to keeping their customers from adding to the traffic in that area.

With the renovations at the Brea Imperial Center, it should prove to be a good fit for In-N-Out. Besides the demolition of Carl’s Jr. the dry cleaner shop will also be leveled, but for additional parking.

Bank of West will get a complete exterior makeover, and the building adjacent to it, the former home of Active Ride, will be divided into three parcels, two will be for restaurants and one a retail site, and will get an updating. Active Ride relocated in the center where Alexander’s Salon formerly was.  Did you know that same spot was once a Crown bookstore?

The 1979 center will also get a much needed, updated monument sign that will be taller, brighter and easier to read.

The center’s application process is in the early stages, so we won’t see construction there for quite a while. In-N-Out officials said it usually takes four to five months to build an In-N-Out.

Worth the wait, right?

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

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