Orange County Business Journal

Real Estate: Kevin Baldridge

Irvine Company Leads Apartment Trend—By Design Mark Mueller Saturday, January 5, 2013

The company has complexes under way in San Jose that should hold about 3,300 units.

The company already owns about 5,500 units in the Silicon Valley, which is among the tightest apartment markets in the country. Apartment rents in the area have approached 10% in each of the past two years.

Baldridge said last year that the company wants to grow its Silicon Valley apartment portfolio to more than 10,000 units in five years.

Irvine Co. recently was tapped to head up the for-rent portion of a development in the Playa Vista district on the Westside of Los Angeles. That’s expected to result in about 1,500 apartments and as many as 800 homes.

It’ll be the only apartment project in Los Angeles that Irvine Co. runs, outside of a high-end complex in Santa Monica.

For Orange County—where rents have increased about 4.5% over the past year, according to brokerage data—the company has pushed ahead on development both on land the company already owns, as well as locations outside its core markets.

Last year saw the opening of Cypress Village Apartment Homes, a new apartment complex in northeast Irvine. The four-community project—located off Trabuco Road, next to the Santa Ana (I-5) Freeway—will include 1,677 apartments when it’s completed.

Cypress Village is the largest new apartment community to open in Orange County since the Great Recession, according to Baldridge.

Another Irvine Co. project opening up this year near the Irvine Spectrum shopping center is expected to exceed Cypress Village in size.

Los Olivos, a project going up near the site of the former Wild Rivers Waterpark, is set to open this March, and will have as many as 1,750 apartments when completed.

Airport Area

Closer to John Wayne Airport, construction is under way for a 981-unit complex in the Park Place mixed-use campus. Irvine Co. paid a reported $101.4 million for the 14-acre site, where it plans a high-end complex.

The company has also been actively eyeing OC sites outside Irvine for potential projects. It is considering building a high-end rental project near Newport Center, at the current site of its San Joaquin Plaza low-rise office project. A timeline for construction at that proposed 524-unit development has not been disclosed.

Irvine Co. recently closed on the purchase of a site along Orangewood Avenue in the Platinum Triangle area near Angel Stadium.

The company plans to build a 395-unit apartment project at the Anaheim site, which sits next to its Gateway apartment complex, an 884-unit complex that the company bought about two years ago.

Irvine Co. last year closed on a land deal at the Tustin Legacy master development that should result in another 533 apartments. Construction there could start later this year, with work finishing up by 2015. n\

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