After nearly four years of construction, a seven-story complex with 165 apartment homes and 20,000 square feet of shops and restaurants in downtown Riverside is on pace to open in November.
Named partly after the visionary developer who launched the project, the late Mark Rubin, the Mark will span nearly 410,000 square feet of space on the corner of Market Street and Mission Inn Avenue.
“It is well on the way,” said Michelle Rubin, Mark Rubin’s daughter and president of Regional Properties.
An opening date hasn’t been set, she said, but she is aiming to unveil the Mark in time for its new residents to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa’s Festival of Lights from a rooftop deck. The popular holiday spectacle features millions of sparkling lights and runs from the Friday after Thanksgiving into early January.
“It is one of the highest points in the city,” Michelle Rubin said Tuesday, Aug. 30. “It will be the place to be during the Festival of Lights.”
Riverside City Council Member Erin Edwards, who represents the area, said she took a tour recently and can’t wait for the opening.
“It is a thrilling development,” Edwards said. “It is a beautiful tribute to Mark Rubin. And I think it will become another landmark in downtown.”
The project is being built by Crane Development of San Diego.
Michelle Rubin said the 409,917-square-foot footprint includes three levels of underground parking.
Merchants welcome that, said Janice Penner, executive director of the Riverside Downtown Partnership, because it will boost the overall supply of parking.
“That’s something we’re very enthusiastic about because we’re very concerned about parking,” she said.
The business-and-historic-district’s parking supply has eroded in recent years, and figures to get worse after the City Council voted in May 2021 to sell a pair of city-owned parking garages, Penner said.
The Mark’s arrival comes as the city is trying to make the downtown parking system more efficient. However, the city received significant pushback earlier this year after the Riverside City Council approved a plan that involved increasing parking fees and eliminating free parking weeknights and Saturdays. In July, the council rescinded its decision.
Penner said the apartments will plant high-quality housing in the heart of the district and create new customers — the Mark’s residents — for existing downtown stores.
Michelle Rubin said the apartment homes likely will house between 300 and 400 people, drawing young professionals, “empty nesters” and retirees looking to live downtown and close to shopping. They won’t have to go far for the latter. The first floor will feature a variety of restaurants and shops, she said.
“I would love a small grocer,” Michelle Rubin added, saying she is searching for one.
As for the studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments, they will range in size from 515 square feet to 1,341 square feet and rent at market prices, she said.
The Mark is rising on the site of the historic Stalder building, which features a facade designed by architect G. Stanley Wilson, designer of the Mission Inn.
The preservation group Old Riverside Foundation originally opposed the project and wanted the entire Stalder building preserved. Foundation President Dave Stolte said Wednesday, Aug. 31, the group now supports it.
“We’re actually very pleased with many aspects of the project as it nears completion,” he said.
The developers saved and restored the original facade and set the new complex behind it, Stolte said.
“They retained the historical street presence of the facade,” he said.
The site once housed a Studebaker dealership and Riverside’s first fire station, Stolte said. Michelle Rubin said photos of those and other historical highlights will be prominently displayed at the Mark.
“It’s a modern building, yet an ode to history,” she said.
The name has a dual meaning, in that it refers to her father’s first name and a piece of real estate he characterized as “the mark” or center point of downtown.
“He used to say this is the best property in the city of Riverside,” she said.
Originally estimated to take 2 1/2 years, the project has been under construction since late 2018. Work slowed in 2019, she said, when former President Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese imports.
“That didn’t help the supply the chain,” she said.
Then, in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic hit. Construction continued. But whenever a construction worker contracted COVID-19, that person had to quarantine.
“And everybody who was working around them had to stay home for 10 days, too,” Michelle Rubin said.
Then there was the attention to detail, such as the custom-made cabinets.
“My late father built quality and quality takes a little longer,” Rubin said.
Stolte said the project will be a “good neighbor” to nearby historical structures in downtown Riverside.
“It’s nice to see it actually come to the finish line,” he said.