Seven Oaks is already one of the most desirable communities to call home in Bakersfield, but the impressive southwest community is about to get even better with the opening of the Belcourt Village shopping center in spring 2022.
But don’t build a mental picture of a typical retail center seen around Bakersfield. Part of Bolthouse Properties’ Seven Oaks master-planned community, Belcourt Village has been designed as a destination center and gathering place — a place where neighbors meet for coffee, friends meet for lunch, and where families enjoy each other’s company after dinner.
“This is not a drive-thru shopping center,” said Bruce Davis, Bolthouse Properties Senior Vice President of Development. “This is a gathering space — intentionally planned and designed with the community in mind.”
The master-planned community that began with the original Seven Oaks residential development and golf course will eventually encompass more than 1,200 acres west of Buena Vista Road and include a mix of residential communities, retail centers, and the growing Seven Oaks Business Park.
At the southwest corner of White Lane and Buena Vista Road, Belcourt Village was designed with open spaces that include seating and lounge areas, firepits, intentional and decorative lighting, sustainable landscaping, a play area, pedestrian linkage to surrounding neighborhoods, and specifically
curated businesses that promote the “stay awhile” feeling.
“We want people to spend time there,” said Bolthouse Properties Vice President of Development Jeff Eittreim. “And that has a lot to do with the businesses in the center.”
“The businesses are our partners in this development. We want them to succeed in this location, and they want the development to succeed,” he said.
It’s that philosophy that has led Bolthouse to focus on specific kinds of businesses to partner with.
Starbucks will kick-off the 9.5-acre center in the spring followed by two fitness studios — The Pilates Barre and Electric Spin Club.
“I met with a few different agents in Bakersfield and looked at locations in other areas,” Pilates Barre owner Irene Clancy said. “[Belcourt Village] is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I feel like I’m part of a team with Bolthouse and not just someone opening a business.”
Clancy has been teaching pilates locally for several years and is looking forward to opening her own studio with its focus on overall wellness and the mind/body connection.
“Bolthouse is providing Bakersfield residents with something we don’t currently have,” she said. “They are taking care to provide residents with an experience and not just another shopping center.”
Patrick Bailey of the Electric Spin Club echoed those sentiments.
“So many properties are owned and managed by people outside of Kern County,” said Patrick Bailey of Electric Spin Club. “[Bolthouse] cares as much as we care about the business.”
Bailey, along with his wife Ashlee and business partner Kathy Burgos are excited to open the indoor cycling studio in the growing community.
Bringing in the design team of Lifescapes International was key to building the center as envisioned, to flow with the overall “Live, work, play” focus of the community.
“[Lifescapes International] is known for designing spaces where people want to be,” Eittreim said.
In addition to numerous indoor spaces around the globe, the Lifescapes team designed The Grove in southern California — a popular destination shopping center with water features, streetscapes, event space, and an overall park-like setting encouraging visitors to “stay awhile.”
Mike Meyers, Senior Principal/Project Director at Lifescapes International, explained the philosophy as creating multiple spaces in one overall space through the use of landscaping and hardscaping.
“Instead of having one, long pathway that causes you to look off into the distance, we have walkways that curve and turn corners. Multi-level landscaping that causes the viewer to step up their view and look around more,” he explained.
“In Belcourt Village, we’ll have what we call buffer zones — an area where a family or small group can sit with landscaping around them to give them more of a private feeling, so they aren’t having a conversation out in the open.”
And in the age of working remotely, he said Belcourt Village will be an ideal destination.
“You’ll be able to go and have coffee, have lunch, meet a client, be on a call,” he said. “You’ll have open spaces and can easily move to a more private area when needed. And all without having to get in your car and drive somewhere.”
The pedestrian access and walkability are unique to Belcourt Village. Eittreim noted there won’t be a wall surrounding the center, it will have access from the Belcourt neighborhood via the existing trails and connect to the planned landscaped sidewalks and walkways.
“Bolthouse is really thinking outside the box,” Meyers said. “They are bringing something new to Bakersfield.”
Learn more about Belcourt Village and see the center come to life, visit here.
By Jamie Butow