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Orange County’s dominant landlord isn’t seeing a local slowdown on the horizon for 2020.

“This has been a strong cycle for us, and we anticipate that to continue,” said Steve Case, executive vice president of Irvine Co.’s office division.

Chapman University economists last month predicted national GDP growth of 1.9%; Case said the local economy should outpace that of the country, noting OC “compares favorably to any market in or outside our portfolio.”

Irvine Co.’s total office portfolio runs about 50 million square feet; much of it is in OC, where occupancy rates are well north of 90%.

“We remain bullish about Orange County’s short- and long-term prospects, and we believe rates will remain at or near historic lows, which will help continue to fuel investment and growth,” Case told the Business Journal.

Development Continues

Irvine Co. has been by far OC’s largest office developer over the course of the past decade, adding several million square feet of new space to its portfolio; last year saw the first-phase opening of its Spectrum Terrace project along the San Diego (405) Freeway.

After deals with Alteryx Inc., WeWork and others, that three-building project is now full, and Irvine Co. has moved on to the next phase of construction.

In addition, the company said this year will see the opening of Innovation Park, one of its more unique area office developments.

That low-rise office project is on Irvine’s former Traveland USA site, near the intersection of the Santa Ana (5) Freeway and Sand Canyon Avenue.

The collection of smaller-sized buildings at the project will total about 550,000 square feet.

New Product

Expect to see more from Irvine Co.’s newly launched Flex Workspace, its own flexible office product that expands and replaces its ReadyNow suites program.

It will deliver turnkey workspaces with shorter-than-normal lease terms at its large pool of office holdings across California and Chicago, with an initial half a million square feet of dedicated space.

“Companies want flexibility to move or scale quickly,” Case said. Flex Workspace “makes this possible, giving businesses access to tailored, branded private office space with lease terms as short as six months and no upfront buildout costs.”

“Flexible workplace solutions aren’t just for startups—these options have CFOs from Fortune 500 companies integrating flex space into their office portfolios.”

Exodus Worries?

“Of course we would prefer if the number of companies leaving California for tax-friendlier states was zero, but we remain very optimistic,” Case said. “We see a growing number of up-and-coming and Fortune 1000 companies thriving here from a variety of industries.

“Blizzard is a tremendous example of a company that spawned several other dynamic companies due to the talent the company attracts.”

Originally published on 1/6/2020, Orange County Business Journal

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