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OC Retail Recovery

OC Retail Recovery
Retail recovery in Orange County? Could be. According to Reis, vacancies edged down in OC retail during Q1 over last year, and asking and effective rents were up.
Keith Kropfl
OC retail activity is picking up, Voit SVP Keith Kropfl tells us (snapped at the recent ICSC RECon). The driving force behind the activity is tenants, many of whom have been on the sidelines over the past few years, but who are now ready to make deals. (After dipping their toes in they realize the water is relaxing and bubbly.) Class-A properties are especially competitive, Keith emphasizes, adding that many of the deals that have been in negotiations over the past year will be coming to fruition in the next few months.
Tom Taylor
The OC market is also starting to see some firming of leasing rates, Transwestern EVP Tom Taylor (with SVP Liz Hurley) tells us. Tom, who recently joined Transwestern, specializes in bank HQs and branches, and he says community banks, in particular, are consolidating. This tends to generate activity as the banks rearrange their space, with much of the activity in or near CBDs, since that's where community banks tend to locate.
Tamarind of London
RFK EVP Rachel Rosenberg, who repped Fig & Olive recently in opening its first OC location at Fashion Island, says that LA restaurant groups are making a direct line to Orange County, such as Charlie Palmer, Hillstone Restaurant Group, Javier's, Mastro's Ocean Club, and True Food Kitchen. Restaurateurs from elsewhere are also making inroads into OC, she adds, such as Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali’s Pizzeria Mozza in Newport Beach, Tamarind of London (pictured) in Crystal Cove and Katsuya in Laguna Beach. (Say what you will about OC, but we aren't short on taste.)