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Of particular importance to large tech-space users is having a workspace that fosters creativity, innovation and collaboration to seamlessly blend work and life, Irvine Co. Office Properties’ EVP Steve Case tells The firm recently signed a 96,000-square-foot lease with Toshiba America Inc. at University Research Park, the Irvine Co’s 185-acre office park here, located next to UC Irvine. 

Toshiba will move its electronics components, information systems and logistics companies to the campus, which is in the midst of a significant reinvestment. Toshiba was represented by JLL’s Louis Tomaselli and Steve Wagner.

With Broadcom’s plans to move from University Research Park in 2018, companies have a rare opportunity to lease space next to the world-renowned research university in the region’s tightest and most tech-focused submarket. Irvine has a vacancy rate of 7.6%-the lowest in Orange County and well below the country’s rate of 9.7%, according to CBRE. Case says, “University Research Park’s proximity to a highly educated workforce and UCI make it one of the most desirable workplace communities in Southern California. URP is currently 99% leased and has been consistently full for the past decade, which is among the reasons there is so much interest from companies desiring to ‘pre-lease’ the Broadcom space.”

URP is currently home to more than 75 companies and more than 8,000 employees. The park, along with the 5,000-acre Irvine Spectrum, is quickly becoming known as the next emerging innovation hub where research, technology, funding, STEM graduates and inventions converge. 

As part of University Research Park’s reinvestment, which is currently underway, Irvine Co. is adding its signature amenity, the Commons, large open-air spaces that feature Wi-Fi-enabled outdoor living-rooms, sun decks, al fresco dining, built-in barbeques, music, fire pits, ping pong, basketball and volleyball, and dynamic outdoor spaces for people to work, collaborate or simply reboot. The company is also enhancing lobbies and other common areas. 

The campus also houses Irvine Co.’s tech incubator, the Vine, where startups have generated more than $24 million in funding, and the Cove, UCI’s 47,000-square-foot “Applied Innovation” incubator. 

We spoke with Case about what large tech users are seeking in Orange County real estate and how developers should view this market to accommodate larger users. What do large companies look for in OC tech space that they’re not getting?

Case: We’ve spent a lot of time and energy studying what forward-thinking companies are looking for today while also anticipating their future needs. They want to meet the demands and desires of the modern workforce. Of particular importance is having workspace that fosters creativity, innovation and collaboration to seamlessly blend work and life.

Our extensive research has resulted in our “NextGen” workplace communities, which feature large open-air spaces for employees to work, collaborate and simply relax. We call the new spaces the “Commons,” and we’re adding them at many of our properties throughout coastal California to take advantage of the desirable climate and the positive feedback we’re hearing from our customers. We are also responding to the desire for more health services through Kinetic, a fitness and wellness movement featuring an exclusive, state-of-the-art fitness center, bike-share program, walking and cycling routes, mobile app and more. What does URP offer that other properties in the market don’t?

Case: URP is the epicenter of innovation in Southern California. It’s adjacent to UC Irvine, ranked among the top 10 public universities for the past two years. It’s no coincidence that many of the nation’s most renowned tech companies are located near the most highly regarded research universities to help them recruit and retain top talent, innovate and collaborate. Hewlett-Packard operates next to Stanford, and Dell is next to the University Texas-Austin. URP also offers outstanding nearby housing, dining, shopping and is a few miles from John Wayne Airport. How should developers view this market to accommodate larger users?

Case: Toshiba said the move will help enhance the growth of its team, depth of talent and ability to innovate new products. It’s also a unique opportunity to collaborate with a world-class university. What else should our readers know about larger users in OC?

Case: Orange County, and Irvine Specifically, is frequently ranked among the most desirable places to live. The average median home price is 20% more affordable than Silicon Valley, and its office rents compare favorably as well. More than 65% of Irvine’s population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher, 40% of UCI’s students are studying a STEM-related field, and Orange County ranks among the top 10 for venture capital investment. Orange County-and Irvine specifically-is a highly desirable location for technology companies and companies from virtually every other sector to have offices. Irvine has become a national innovation hub where 874 tech companies have offices, including internationally known brands such as Amazon, Google, Blizzard and Verizon.


Originally published on April 10,

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