January 20, 2015

Spec Office Returns in '15?

The last time Orange County enjoyed spec office development, all those developers had a BlackBerry. 2015 could be the year when spec returns—come hear why at our OC State of the Market on Jan. 29 at 7:30am at the Hotel Irvine.

Among our speakers will be Parker Properties' Russ Parker, who tells us the formula for new spec is the scarcity of large blocks of available office space, capital eager for office investment, and heightened demand for space in some OC submarkets. “We will continue to see not only a build-to-suit boom, but perhaps the beginning of major speculative office projects (besides by the Irvine Co) during 2015,” he says. There's still a lot of pent-up tenant demand that's been building since 2008, and this time around there's much more diversity among the growth industries in the market, Russ adds.

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Russ says there were some “epic office build-to-suit and user purchase activities during 2014," with completion of PIMCO's new HQ in Newport Center, Hyundai's 500k SF building completion in Costa Mesa, Broadcom's 74-acre Spectrum land purchase, and the completion of Google's build-to-suit office project in the Airport submarket. Whether it's BTS or spec, he adds, most office tenants are seeking flexible, collaborative and strategically located office campus environments close to cool amenities and near where the workforce prefers to live and play. Our OC State of the Market kicks off with breakfast and schmoozing at 7:30am--sign up here.

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Stillwater Prospects for IE Value-Adds

Ontario's the place to be for opportunistic investors with an eye toward value-adds, Irvine-based Stillwater Investment Group president John Drachman (snapped with his wife, Laura, who works in office leasing for the Irvine Co) tells us. Recently Stillwater acquired the 34k SF 1801 E Holt in Ontario, which is unoccupied, and plans interior improvements to the property. John says the Ontario office market showed great signs of improvement in 2014 and will continue to improve this year as quality space is harder to find and the overall economy continues to improve.

Large blocks—over 20k SF—are particularly hard to find in the greater Ontario market, John adds. At the same time, companies are attracted to the market due to its lower costs of occupancy, proximity to major freeways and the airport, and the ability to tap into potential employees who live in the Inland Empire. CBRE SVP Phil Woodford repped both the buyer and seller in the deal.

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RIP Barbara Brinkerhoff

A fond farewell to Lifescapes International co-founder Barbara Brinkerhoff, who passed away in December. You might not know her name, but you probably know some of the iconic landscape designs for commercial properties that her Newport Beach-based firm worked on. Many were on the Las Vegas Strip, including the Bellagio, the Venetian, the Mirage and the Wynn.

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NAIOP Awards Fellowship for '15

Congrats to Mani Dilmaghanian, who's the 2014-15 recipient of the NAIOP SoCal-CRE Fellowship, a combined learning experience and financial award designed to develop and prepare future real estate industry leaders. Mani's currently a senior financial analyst with Irvine-based Faris Lee Investments. The $7,500 scholarship award will be used to support his studies at UC Irvine's Merage School.

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