Mark Mueller

News Editor/Reporter

Mark Mueller covers commercial and residential real estate for the Orange County Business Journal. His beat also includes title insurers and mortgage lenders, as well as government stories that relate to real estate. He can be reached at mueller@ocbj.com.

Email: mueller@ocbj.com
Phone: 949-833-8373 Extension: 226

Recent Stories

Santa Ana Business Park Sells for Nearly $74 Million

REAL ESTATE: Greenlaw Partners buys 5 buildings

Orange County Business Center, a five-building office park in Santa Ana, has traded hands for nearly $74 million, in one of the largest office deals in the area this year.

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Vanguard Eyes Updates To Costa Mesa Campus

Project Would Help Boost Enrollment

Vanguard University is planning an extensive renovation and expansion of its Costa Mesa campus in an effort to boost enrollment by more than 25%.

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Willowick Golf Course Plans Get 2 Cities’ Attention

RFP for Developer Of 101.5-Acre Site on Tap

Santa Ana and Garden Grove are considering redevelopment of the Willowick Golf Course, and should soon take initial steps to find a master developer.

OC CalAtlantic Homes Get Lennar Upgrades

REAL ESTATE: Efficient building key post-combo tweak

The results of Lennar Corp.’s February acquisition of Irvine-based homebuilder Cal-Atlantic Group Inc. are starting to surface at some of the combined company’s area developments and in Orange County’s office market.

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Intracorp’s IBC Strategy: Sales, Not Apartments

247 Irvine Units in Works; Costa Mesa Homes, Also

Intracorp Cos. is preparing to take the wraps off the first of several for-sale, infill housing projects near John Wayne Airport.

Ziggurat Landmark’s Future in Balance Again

Iconic Fed Office Eyed for Sale

The fate of the Chet Holifield Federal Building in Laguna Niguel, Orange County’s largest office and one of the area’s most distinctive structures, is once again up in the air.

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Disney Growth Plans Extend to Industrial Sites

REAL ESTATE: Largest Q1 lease for Cerritos Ave. building

Walt Disney Co. recently signed a lease for an industrial building in Anaheim, the latest notable real estate move of Orange County’s largest employer and the biggest industrial lease in OC so far this year by square footage.

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FivePoint Plots More Affordable Offerings in Irvine

REAL ESTATE: Market rate condos would start at 654 SF

FivePoint Communities Inc., the real estate firm overseeing development of the former El Toro Marine base in Irvine, has disclosed plans to build some of the city’s smallest and likely most affordable homes in years.

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Sanitation District Expands Fountain Valley Holdings

2-Story Office Next To Site It Has for New HQ

The Orange County Sanitation District has completed the purchase of an office building in Fountain Valley that it intends to use for expanding operations.

Having a Record Year

17% Gains in Past Year As Leasing, Sales Climb

Another active year in building, apartment and land sales, along with solid leasing activity across all product types, made for a strong year among Orange County’s largest commercial brokerages.

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LoanDepot HQ Complex Back on Market for Sale

Last Sold for About $40M; One of Wen’s Local Assets

The Foothill Ranch office complex that holds the headquarters of mortgage lender LoanDepot Inc. and other tenants is on the market about 16 months after it last sold.

OC Homebuilders Poised to Gain from IE Growth

No. 3 Among ‘Sizzling Markets;’ OC is No. 28

Several Orange County-based homebuilders’ recent effort to expand operations into the Inland Empire appears to be at an opportune time in the market cycle, according to a new report by Irvine-based John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

BJ’s Restaurants HQ Stays on Tap in Surf City

Slow Pace of Openings As Wages, Costs Rise

Casual restaurant chain BJ’s Restaurants Inc., the largest public company based in Huntington Beach and one of the city’s largest office tenants, has struck a deal to keep its headquarters in Surf City.

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‘Rusty Skeleton’ Redevelopment Moves Forward

REAL ESTATE: 394-unit senior housing project for Garden Grove

An Encino-based land developer is making strides in turning Garden Grove’s infamous “rusty skeleton” construction site into the largest affordable senior housing project the city’s ever seen.

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Aerie Pharma Moves HQ To NC, Preps for First Sales

Irvine Office Stays; Was 12th-Biggest OC Pub. Co.

Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc. has quietly shifted its headquarters from Irvine to North Carolina, removing a notable name from the list of Orange County-based public companies.

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Edwards Makes Moves to Expand Irvine HQ Campus

Plans Filed to Incorporate Royalty Carpet Property

Edwards Lifesciences Corp., Orange County’s largest public company with a market value of about $29 billion, appears to be making strides to buy a site next to its Irvine headquarters for a large expansion.

Top Prices for ’17 Top Deals; Buyers Eye New Plans

$3.4B Sales, 4.5M SF Office, Industrial Leases

Last year’s top Orange County deals were driven in large part by reinvention.

Open For Business

OC’s Biggest New Office Site in Years 77% Leased

Five Point Gateway, the largest and most expensive office complex built in Orange County in over a decade, is largely finished and open to tenants.

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Rising Rates Take Bite Out of Title Cos.’ 2017 Work

Commercial, Homebuying Business Pick up Refi Slack

The country’s biggest title insurers are striking optimistic notes on the health of their industry, despite the expectation of additional interest rate hikes, which have already put a crimp on refinance business.

Irvine Investors Get 5-Office Complex Near District

REAL ESTATE: $42M buy in Irvine, Santa Ana, Orange deals

Glendale-based office and industrial property investor PS Business Parks Inc. has sold a five-building office park in Irvine to a local investor for nearly $42 million in one of three big Orange County property sales on the table for the company this year.

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Busy Stretch of Harbor Blvd. Sees 2nd Big Office Sale

LA Buyers Take Over 4-Building Park in SCM

Los Angeles-based investors have snapped up a four-building office complex on Harbor Boulevard in Santa Ana, the second notable deal in that part of the submarket of South Coast Metro this year.

FivePoint Home Plans: Go Big Now, Cheaper Next

1,007 Homes at Cadence Park Scheduled to Open This Month

As the developer of Irvine’s Great Park Neighborhoods prepares to take the wraps off its latest new, and relatively expensive, homes at its Cadence Park community this month, the company is also proceeding with plans for a 723-home project that could include much more affordable price points.

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Lennar’s Latest OC Buy Cuts $6B From Pub Co. Ranks

CalAtlantic, Long Biggest OC Builder, Sold

Orange County’s stable of publicly traded homebuilders is nearly $6 billion lighter in market value now compared to a month ago.

Condo Surge Lifts New-Home Sales to 15-Year High

4 Master-Planned Areas See Two-Thirds of Action

New-home sales reached a 15-year high in Orange County last year, thanks to a surge in condominium and attached-home sales and continued development at the area’s four largest master-planned communities.

Segerstrom’s Harbor Gateway Land Eyed for Project

Industrial Building Would Be Nearly 100,000 SF

While retail watchers are keeping an eye on what, if any, redevelopment plans are in store for the Sears space at Costa Mesa’s glitzy South Coast Plaza, the mall’s owners are proceeding with a less glamorous project a few miles away.

Halford Leaves Outsized Legacy

Led Creative-Office Wave

In the mid-1990s, Bill Halford had just been hired by the office division of Newport Beach-based Irvine Co. and was still feeling his away around Orange County’s real estate market.

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Builders Find Prayers Answered With Church Land

Shea, New Home Co. Spend $35M for OC Sites

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange appears to be helping pay for its new home at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, and for additional facilities it plans in Santa Ana, one residential land deal at a time.

Bixby Land CEO Halford Dies

Bixby Land Co. chief executive William "Bill" Halford, one of Orange County’s better-known real estate executives, died Monday. He was 58.

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William Lyon Homes Pays $460M for Local Builder

William Lyon Homes said on Tuesday that it has agreed to buy fellow Newport Beach-based homebuilder RSI Communities, for $460 million.

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Big Number Sought for Revamped Tustin Office

REAL ESTATE: $17M asking price for ABM building

The owners of a recently renovated, fully leased creative-office project in Tustin are aiming for one of the largest per-square-foot sales prices for a building of its type in Orange County.

Allergan to Shed More Irvine Space as Cuts Continue

Drugmaker’s Main Campus In Line for Creative Makeover

Allergan PLC plans to vacate and sell three offices at its sprawling Irvine campus near John Wayne Airport, in the latest sign of retrenchment for the local operations of the drug-making giant.

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$273M in OC Sales for Pacific City Rental Developer

UDR Nears Finish Of $350M Luxe Rentals

Apartment owner and developer UDR Inc. is finding plenty of local assets to unload to pay for its $350 million project under way at the Pacific City mixed-use development in Huntington Beach.

South Coast Metro Office Gets Jolt With Revamp

REAL ESTATE: Ground floor of office to get retail

The smallest of the four offices run by C.J. Segerstrom & Sons next to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, the seven-story 3420 Bristol St., is getting a makeover designed to bring its appearance more in line with its high-rise brethren.

KBS Plans Blockbuster Central OC Tower Buy

REAL ESTATE: 1 of 2 Orange offices sold for $180M

Newport Beach-based KBS Realty Advisors, one of the country’s largest office owners, is poised to buy central Orange County’s biggest office tower in what would be its priciest local acquisition in over a decade.

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Irvine Co. Hits Jackpot With 3 Silicon Valley Leases

New Projects Lease Up; $105M Buy in San Diego

Irvine Co., Orange County’s dominant office landlord with a local portfolio topping 26 million square feet, has had an active few weeks in two of its other key markets: Silicon Valley and San Diego.

CalAtlantic’s Farewell Act: $34M Land Buy in Tustin

REAL ESTATE: 218-home site buy as Lennar deal nears

Irvine-based CalAtlantic Group Inc.’s last big land deal as a stand-alone company could turn out to be a 14.5-acre site it just bought a few miles from its headquarters at the Tustin Legacy development.

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Cashing Out In Chicago

Olen Sells 40-Story Tower

Igor Olenicoff, Orange County’s third-wealthiest businessperson, should be a bit richer after the sale of his company’s most valuable office property—a skyscraper it owned in downtown Chicago.

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Sprouts Backers’ Sights Turn to Industrial Market

REAL ESTATE: Horowitz Group latest McFadden Center owners

An investment group in Laguna Niguel that’s best known for its restaurant and grocery chain investments, including in Sprouts Farmers Market, is turning its attention to Orange County’s industrial market.

Alteryx’ Latest Sign Of Growth: Bigger HQ

REAL ESTATE: Lease expands Irvine presence by about 75%

Data analytics software maker Alteryx Inc., which went public in March, has signed a deal to expand its Irvine headquarters at a rate almost matching its impressive stock growth since a $14-a-share initial public offering.

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Irvine Rental Project Slips in Under IBC Density Cap

Just 167 Units Remain Out Of 15,000 Cap Set in 2010

A 150-unit apartment complex proposed at 2525 Main St. in Irvine about a mile from John Wayne Airport has gotten the nod as one of the last residential projects approved for the Irvine Business Complex under current density limits.

Squar Milner Follows Mergers With Irvine Move

REAL ESTATE: Growing CPA firm to Irvine Towers

Squar Milner LLP, the largest accounting firm based in Orange County, is beefing up its local presence with a new headquarters location following an active year on the merger front outside of the county.

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Latest Sears Closures Impact 2 of OC’s Largest Malls

Westminster Faces CMBS Issues; Brea Site Just Sold

Changes could be in the cards this year for two of Orange County’s largest shopping centers, due to the forthcoming closure of anchor tenant Sears.

CPW’s Latest Twist: New Tower on Drawing Board

Another residential tower is being considered for the sprawling Central Park West mixed-use development in Irvine.

Santa Ana Office Owners Plot Apartment Makeover

The development team responsible for the largest residential project under way in Santa Ana, the 1,221-unit Heritage apartments near John Wayne Airport, has its eye on another site in the city near the Discovery Cube Orange County for another big multifamily development.

Kearny on Familiar Ground With Harbor Blvd. Buy

REAL ESTATE: $34.8M office deal follows Press sale

Kearny Real Estate Co.’s departure from the South Coast Metro office market was a short-lived one.

New American Adds Tustin Creative Office to Holdings

REAL ESTATE: Lender pays $22.5M for Radius site

Fast-growing mortgage lender New American Funding has bought a creative-office campus down the street from its Tustin headquarters.

Big Mike’s Big Projects Hit Sales Block

Seeks Sale or JV For Tower, Old Register HQ

Real estate developer Mike Harrah is seeking a financial partner, and perhaps an outright buyer, for his two prized development sites in Santa Ana.

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Tight Industrial Market Gets High Prices, New Names

1.3% Vacancies Here Bode Well for Sellers

Orange County’s ultra-tight industrial sector is resulting in record-breaking sale prices for the few buildings being added to the local market, and is apparently drawing more real estate investors and developers to the area.

Los Al Offices, Once Eyed for Retail, Office Again

Lincoln to Upgrade Site Next to 605, 150,000 SF

The owner of a 9-acre office site next to Los Alamitos City Hall that was once intended to hold Orange County’s first 365 by Whole Foods Market has changed redevelopment plans.

Toll Brothers’ OC Push Expands to Pacifica San Juan

Toll Brothers Inc. has completed one of Orange County’s largest residential land transactions of the past year, for a large chunk of the Pacifica San Juan housing development in San Juan Capistrano.

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