Orange County Business Journal


Central, North OC Office Market Vacancies Down

The Central and North Orange County office submarkets have traditionally trailed the Greater Airport Area and South Orange County office submarkets in terms of vacancy, average asking lease rates, and space absorption, and 2015 has been no different.

Volt Eyes Sale of 12-Acre Office Campus in Orange

Aims For 10-Year Leaseback of Western Hub

Volt Information Sciences Inc., a New York-based provider of staffing services, has put its Orange office campus on the market.

Innovation Institute Reaches Beyond Healthcare

Deloitte, Dell Sign On to La Palma-Based Consortium

The La Palma-based Innovation Institute LLC continues to rack up partners in its second year of existence.

New Tools, Talent Fuel PR Shops

MARKETING: Biggest here add duties, combine for 12% hike in jobs

The 40 biggest public relations firms based in Orange County are doing more with more—additional services, bigger budgets, new hires.

Speedo Aims to ‘Innovate, Extend’ From New HQ

APPAREL: Plans move from downtown LA to Cypress

Speedo USA is moving its headquarters from downtown Los Angeles to Cypress.

Latest Big Office Deal: $73M in Newport Beach

REAL ESTATE: Prudential affiliate gets 202,000 square feet near JWA

A 10-story office building in Newport Beach is the latest property to get snapped up by institutional investors bullish on Orange County’s improving economy.

Independent Spaces Span OC, Complement Hotel Lineup

Various Alternatives Can Riff Off Local Hotels

Corporate meetings are commonly held at hotels and resorts, but independent OC event spaces with no formal ties to hotels have opened this year or increased efforts to offer a change of scenery for out-of-town guests or to tap local businesses that aren’t looking for an overnight stay.


Orange County hotels and resorts this year have followed technological trends in the industry to enhance meetings and conventions offerings.

Orange County hotels and resorts this year have followed technological trends in the industry to enhance meetings and conventions offerings. Wider hospitality choices are aimed at better operations and the experience guests have when staying at a property—from moving operations to the cloud and internal apps that bring employees to where they’re needed. The “Internet of Things,” encourages guests to post live videos or “selfies” to their social media accounts, and giving them the ability to text the valet to retrieve their cars. Smartphone technology allows guests to pay bills and open hotel room doors. A recent industry conference guided executives to advise hoteliers to think of themselves in part as technology companies. A hotel in Cupertino—of course—has used robots to deliver items to rooms, and another has tried out the devices to sort luggage. The Business Journal’s Paul Hughes asked local hotels and resorts about technology they’ve added this year in general and specifically for meetings and conventions. Edited excerpts of their responses follow:

Cooperative Approach Leads to Pitch for ‘Anaheim Campus’

Visit Anaheim, Convention Center, 3 Hotels Together

Staff from Visit Anaheim, Anaheim Convention Center, and the city’s three biggest hotels within walking distance of the convention halls—Hilton Anaheim, Anaheim Marriott and Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort—have traveled four times in 90 days to bring convention business to the city and have scheduled two more jaunts for the fall.

NB Marriott Restaurant Event Draws Industry Insiders

First of Four-Year Run For ‘Flavor Experience’

Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa drew 500 restaurant and food service company executives in early August to The Flavor Experience conference in the inaugural year of a four-year stint at the property.

EVENTS Calendar

This list of conventions, trade and consumer shows, and other happenings includes events scheduled from Aug. 24, 2015, through July 31, 2016.

Hale Fellow Well Met; DeFranco Goes Platinum

Not a lot of details offered when Blackstone Group’s deal for a majority of Santa Ana-based Stearns Lending came to light late last week, with initial reports offering no price and the description of founder and Chairman Glenn Stearns’ ongoing stake limited to “significant”(see Addendum item, page 15).

New Owner, Address for Westinghouse TV Brand

MARKETING: China-based company gets license from CBS

Flat TV designer and marketer Westinghouse Digital LLC has relocated its headquarters from Orange to the eastern edge of Los Angeles County and changed its name, the company confirmed to the Business Journal.

Action Sports Media Outfit to Depart San Clemente

MEDIA: Magazines move south; Grind TV to Santa Ana

A bulk of Ten: Action/Outdoor Group’s staff is leaving Orange County next month.

250-Room Anaheim Hotel Fetches $34M

Laguna Beach-based Casa Resorts Inc. said its La Casa Anaheim Resort LLC affiliate last week sold the 250-room Hotel Menage in Anaheim for $34.2 million to Taiwan-based buyer Kitty Lo.

Another Downgrade for Smile Brands

Irvine-based Smile Brands Group Inc. was hit with its second credit rating downgrade in the past nine months.

Hotel Irvine GM to Irvine Co. Exec Role

Former Hotel Irvine General Manager J.D. Shafer was named a senior director of community management for Irvine Company Apartment Communities.

U.S. Hyundai Arm Shifts Media Buying

Hyundai Motor America Inc. in Fountain Valley said it will shift its media-buying business to Canvas Worldwide, effective Jan. 1.

Fastest-Growing Private Companies Wanted for List

ECONOMY: Centerpiece of Sept. 21 Special Report

Is your company growing fast?


Free Wheelchair Mission’s 12th Annual Miracle of Mobility Gala raised over $1.6 million on July 23 to benefit people in need of mobility.


Disneyland and its counterpart in Florida will get a dedicated “Star Wars” section, Disney Chief Executive and Chairman Bob Iger announced at the company’s D23 Fan Expo in Anaheim (see related graphic, page 22).

Bilt, Private Equity Backers in New Dental Enterprise

Smile Brands Cofounder, Former CFO Eye Buys

Veteran OC dental business services executive Steven Bilt has resurfaced with a new company.

Hospitality Company Puts Lincoln Logs to PR Work

Great Wolf Ships 75 Kits To Stir Buzz for OC Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge Southern California sent out a box of Lincoln Logs to local media to perk their interest in the 603-room resort and indoor water park scheduled to open early next year in Garden Grove.

OCBJ Calendar

Aug.24-Sept. 2, 2015

This week's business and other event listings.

M&W Market Gets Tighter in Q2

Orange County’s manufacturing and warehouse sector, which consists of 5,706 buildings totaling nearly 211 million square feet, is the largest segment of the industrial market.

Regulatory Step Brings Broadcom Sale Closer to Reality

Clears Antitrust Waiting Period, Close Set for Q1

Irvine-based Broadcom Corp.’s pending $37 billion sale to Avago Technologies Ltd. in Singapore has passed one of the first regulatory hurdles.

Real Estate Deals

Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

Irvine-based commercial real estate investor Great Far East sold an office building in Irvine to Brighton Investment LLC for $8.5 million, or about $420 per square foot.

Investors Pick Up Foothill Plaza For Nearly $50M

Offices Next to 241 Hold HQ for Kaiser Aluminum

Foothill Plaza, a two-building complex in Foothill Ranch that’s one of the highest-quality buildings in the office market in and around Lake Forest, has traded hands at a price approaching $50 million.

OCBJ Calendar

Aug.17-26, 2015

This week's business and other event listings.

Healthcare-Related REIT Doubles Borrowing Capacity

Unsecured Line Gives It $500 Million Potential

San Clemente-based CareTrust REIT Inc. is loading up on credit as it tries to maintain growth.

DC Shoes Rides Publicity Windfall With YouTube Hit

Dirt-Biker-Turned-Surfer Video Pulls in 16M+ Views

DC Shoes’ video “Pipe Dream,” featuring Robbie “Maddo” Maddison surfing the waves of Tahiti on a modified dirt bike, has amassed more than 16.5 million views on the brand’s YouTube channel since it was posted two weeks ago.

Blizzard Gains Sales Through Its Free-to-Play Games

Revenue Up 13%, WoW Subscribers Down

Blizzard Entertainment Inc.’s evolving business model into free-to-play games has helped the Irvine-based video game maker offset the lowest subscription count for its flagship World of Warcraft franchise in more than decade.

Real Estate Deals

Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

MDI Redhill LLC sold an industrial building in Tustin to KCI Valencia LLC for $8.4 million, or about $190.38 per square foot.

Apartment Owner Looks for a Lift to Boost Parking

Costa Mesa Proposal Would Be a First For City

The owners of a Costa Mesa apartment complex want to take a new approach to dealing with parking congestion.

Brown’s New Suffix; Haddad’s Old Trees; Tu’s Star Turn

Mary Ann Brown has maintained a low profile despite her status as one of the highest-ranking female executives in OC, with a resume that stretches from here to New York and London.

Blizzard Entertainment Extends Spectrum HQ Stay

REAL ESTATE: Leases combine for 435,000 square feet

Blizzard Entertainment Inc. has signed a new lease for its offices in the Irvine Spectrum in a deal that should keep Orange County’s largest software company in its present location for the foreseeable future.

Core of Anna’s Linens Could Survive Bankruptcy

RETAIL: Insiders try to keep name, 100+ stores, CFO says

Anna’s Linens Inc. in Costa Mesa is conducting a going-out-of-business sale, but don’t write off the household-goods retailer just yet.