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IRVINE, CA—The Launch, Irvine Co. Office Properties’ redevelopment project of the former Airport Business Center here, ties in with nearby John Wayne Airport and also represents the launching of a brand-new creative-office workplace community, EVP Steve Case tells The project features two four-story buildings on the stretch of MacArthur Blvd. that fronts John Wayne Airport.

The buildings will undergo extensive improvements before reemerging as a 130,000-square-foot, modern workplace community. The buildings are being re-engineered with startups and growth companies in mind and the needs of today’s forward-thinking businesses. Improvements will include flexible workplace design, modern amenities, outdoor workplaces outfitted with complimentary WiFi, new customers lounges and more.

We spoke with Case about what makes this project different from other office properties in the Airport area and what it takes to rebrand such an iconic business center. What makes the Launch different from other office properties in the Airport area?

Case: The building was built in the early ’70s and it’s a phenomenal location. It was one of the early buildings built in the John Wayne Airport area. A Southern California architect well known at the time, Craig Elwood, designed a lot of structures that were recognized architecturally. This project will feature Corten steel that ages purposefully over time, which is a step above other creative-office reinvestments made by others. They’re taking industrial buildings and cutting windows in and making them cool, and the developers are doing a nice job, but this particular project has the attributes of a modern premium office building that make it unique for creative office. In particular, it will have floor-to-ceiling glass of more than 10 feet, which you don’t see it in older office buildings. It has highly efficient floorplates and a lot of natural light; highly efficient floorplates are natural blocks of modern buildings, but with Corten steel, it will be authentic. This marries the authenticity of creative with some of what we’re seeing in the newest buildings. It’s a unique offering for that reason. How does your company approach rebranding an iconic business center like the Airport Business Center?

Case: First, we envision what it can become, and then we really trying to convey that in a name, to communicate to prospective customers and brokers what it’s going to be. The Launch signifies that the project is adjacent to the airport and also that we are relaunching an iconic property. We went through a branding exercise with our marketing team, and that name resonated with us. We want to communicate clearly to the target market, a combination of mid-sized and small users, innovative companies that are probably in growth mode and are looking at attracting and retaining talent. They want their culture and brand to have a certain look and feel, so we’re identifying that target market and tailoring our marketing program to communicate effectively to those target prospects. When considering amenities for office properties, how can owners determine what tenants will want and need in each of them?

Case: We have extensive research—as part of our marketing team, we have someone who heads our research team—and we’re hearing from them what their needs are and what they value most in terms of onsite amenities. We’re also talking to some of the leading companies, particularly in Silicon Valley, where we have a large presence. Google and Apple are customers of ours, and we hear from them what they’re doing for their workforce. We want to marry our research with what the leading companies are doing, and program amenities like those we will have at the Launch are big. What else should our readers know about the Launch?

Case: It has the opportunity to be the most unique creative-office project that’s been done in OC today because of its original architecture and location. Ultimately, it’s what we’re doing with it to celebrate that authenticity. We can’t wait to have everybody come and take a look when it opens at the end of the year.


Originally published on July 3,

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