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

TRI Pointe Looks Local to Boost Sales, Value

REAL ESTATE: Builder sees SoCal land as key to raise stock

TRI Pointe Group Inc. has embraced a business-as-usual, California-first approach to its operations following its recent breakup with former majority stakeholder Starwood Capital Group Inc.

New AC Hotel in Park Place Opens, Sells for $53.7M

Pacific Hospitality Takes Over; Deal Signed in 2016

Irvine’s newest hotel, Park Place’s AC Hotel, has a per-room value topping some of the most established hotels in the area around John Wayne Airport, based on a reading of newly filed property records.

Emmes to Put Latest OC Office Buy Center Stage

The new owners of the Main Plaza office buildings in Irvine are planning an extensive overhaul of their latest Orange County investment, even after spending nearly $200 million to buy the airport-area towers.

FivePoint IPO Would Raise Millions, Add to Ownership Complexity

REAL ESTATE: Developer has 37.5% stake in Great Park land

FivePoint Communities Inc.’s transition into a publicly traded company will make its executive team rich and provide plenty of financial cover for the next housing downturn. It should also free up plenty of cash for future real estate acquisitions in and out of Orange County.

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FivePoint Updates Terms of IPO

FivePoint Communities Inc. could raise nearly $600 million from its forthcoming initial public offering and a trio of concurrent private placement deals, according to new regulatory documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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$56M Impac Mortgage Deal Involves Local Ties

FINANCE: Pickup family members boost stake with buy

Local real estate and private equity investors Richard and Todd Pickup have increased their already sizeable stakes in Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. following a $56 million stock sale by the Irvine-based lender.

Sites Near 55 Freeway Eyed for Industrial, Chick-Fil-A

ITT Campus Along Dyer Could Get 9 Buildings

Big changes could be in the works for a large industrial property just off the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway in Santa Ana.

4000 MacArthur Office Property in NB on Block

REAL ESTATE: Offices home to Hyundai, could get $200M

The 4000 MacArthur office complex in Newport Beach is for sale again in what could prove to be Orange County’s largest office transaction so far this year.

$130M Sale of JCP’s Buena Park Site Sets New Mark

1.1M-SF Distribution Center Amid Biggest Here

CenterPoint Properties has closed on the buy of J.C. Penney Co.’s massive logistics and distribution facility in Buena Park in one of the largest industrial sales in Orange County in years.

TRI Pointe Stock Performance Slammed by Starwood

REAL ESTATE: Ex-majority owner knocks plan on way out

An eight-year partnership between Irvine-based homebuilder TRI Pointe Group Inc. and its former majority shareholder ended on an unexpected sour note.

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New Home Preps 275 Acres in Corona

REAL ESTATE: Bedford project to hold 1,200+, 400 in 1st phase

The New Home Co. Inc., one of the most active builders on the Irvine Ranch and other area master-planned communities owned by Orange County’s largest landowners, is turning the tables for a new project it has in the works just over the Riverside County line in Corona.

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Revamped Kaleidoscope Shopping Center Up for Sale

Sold for $22M in 2010, Now About 82% Full

Mission Viejo’s Kaleidoscope shopping center is for sale.

Irvine Co. Thinks Small With Spectrum Purchase

REAL ESTATE: $58M for 19 buildings beside Broadcom

Irvine Company has bought a low-rise office campus in the shadow of Broadcom Ltd.’s new office campus in the Irvine Spectrum.

Hines Looks to Add Rentals, Hotel to Brea Site

REAL ESTATE: Latest project planned for site next to mall

Hines Interests LP is the latest big office owner in Orange County looking to add apartment development to its local repertoire.

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Karma Auto Owners Pay $56M for Irvine HQ

REAL ESTATE: Revero maker leased last year, but yet to move

Karma Automotive LLC is embracing a lease-to-own strategy, for its local real estate holdings, at least.

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Brisk Sales Boost Bottom Line of CRE Brokerages

Volume Rises 8%; Lease Deals Down 3%

A brisk pace of building, apartment and land sales helped overcome some sluggish leasing activity in Orange County last year. The bottom line: another year of gains for the area’s largest commercial brokerages.

Development Buoys OC Property Managers’ Books

Top Firms’ Local Accounts Approach 200 Million SF

A dose of development helped Orange County’s largest commercial property managers grow their local portfolios for the fifth straight year.

Bascom Goes Big With $94M Rental Purchase

REAL ESTATE: Villas at Tustin buyer’s largest here

Irvine-based apartment investor Bascom Group LLC has made its largest ever acquisition in Orange County, picking up a 406-unit rental complex in Santa Ana.

OC Office Developers Aim to Backfill Existing Space

Some 1.5M SF of Big Blocks of Space Available

Three of the area’s biggest owners of high-end office space in Orange County, Irvine Company, LBA Realty, and Hines Interests LP—have proposed a handful of local office projects totaling close to 750,000 square feet for the area around John Wayne Airport and the Irvine Spectrum.

Five Point IPO Still in Works, Says Lennar CEO

First Proposed in ’15, Deal Slowed by Choppy Market

Aliso Viejo-based Five Point Holdings Inc., the master developer of Great Park Neighborhoods in Irvine and other large projects in California, hasn’t abandoned its plans for an initial public offering, according to one of the company’s largest investors.

Chicago Firm Tapped To Buy J.C. Penney DC

REAL ESTATE: Buena Park facility one of OC’s largest

A Chicago-area industrial real estate owner and developer looking to grow its West Coast presence is expected to buy J.C. Penney Co.’s massive logistics and distribution facility in Buena Park.

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New CEO for Irvine Homebuilder

MBK Homes LLC President and Chief Executive Timothy Kane has announced his retirement from the Irvine-based homebuilder.

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Starwood’s $150M Bet on TRI Pointe Pays Off Again

REAL ESTATE: Stock sale follows years of growth, IPO

A $150 million investment in then-upstart builder TRI Pointe Group Inc. in 2010 has proven to be a big money-maker for Greenwich, Conn.-based private equity firm Starwood Capital Group.

IRWD Plans Midsized Office Near Sand Canyon HQ

REAL ESTATE: Wants tenant before starting 71,000 SF office

The worst of a long drought is apparently over, and the Irvine Ranch Water District should now have more time on its hands to pursue other business opportunities, in particular real estate development.

New Vantis Hotel in Aliso Viejo Sells for $38 Million

REAL ESTATE: Texas investor gets Homewood Suites

A recently built Homewood Suites hotel in Aliso Viejo has become the first acquisition here by a Texas-based investor that specializes in the hospitality market and is on the lookout for more deals this year.

LBA Plans 6-Story Office Addition at Park Place

Building Would Overlook 405, Total 184,000 SF

LBA Realty has begun to market space for lease at a new six-story office it’s planning at the Park Place campus in Irvine, adding another potential sizeable office development to the area around John Wayne Airport.

Coins to Commercial Real Estate

Teenage Hobby Eventually Topped Banking, Led to 5-Million-SF Portfolio

John Saunders has made a fortune through buying and selling some of the smallest and most valuable collectables in the world.

Blizzard Adds Another Spectrum Office to Local Ops

Lease Follows Abandoned Office Buy Near Its HQ

Blizzard Entertainment Inc. still is in growth mode when it comes to its local real estate presence. It appears it’s also still very much a renter rather than an owner.

IBC Apartment Development Cuts into Jobs Base

Employment Down About 13.5% From 2006 Levels

The boom in residential development in the Irvine Business Complex over the past few years appears to be having an effect on the area’s base of jobs.

Title Insurers Seek More Buys in Face of Rate Hikes

Brokerage Business, Data Firms on Shopping List

Orange County’s largest title insurance providers are looking at acquisitions both inside and outside their core business lines to help them grow operations and improve efficiencies in a climate of interest rate hikes likely to cut into their refinancing work.

Life After Broadcom at URP

Irvine Company Lands Toshiba to Start New Phase for 11 Buildings, 836,000 SF

Irvine Company has started to prepare for life after Broadcom Ltd., one tenant at a time.

Offices Now Investments for Area’s Ultra-Wealthy

Top Deals of ’16 Led By Handful of Rich Buyers

High-net-worth investors in some areas of the country are known for collecting an assortment of fancy cars, jewelry, mansions and other luxury items.

CoreLogic Promotes COO to CEO Post

Irvine-based CoreLogic named Frank Martell president and chief executive to succeed Anand Nallathambi, who died this month after a brief illness.

Plans Weighed for Trinity Broadcasting Site

REAL ESTATE: First deal in OC for Pasadena venture

It was the second sale of the building this month. Irvine-based Greenlaw Partners bought it directly from Trinity Broadcasting, and shortly after the deal closed, Greenlaw sold it for a slight profit to Alliance South Coast.

CoreLogic Names Martell CEO

Irvine-based CoreLogic has named Frank Martell its new president and chief executive.

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CoreLogic’s Nallathambi Dies

CoreLogic President and Chief Executive Anand Nallathambi died after a brief illness, the company said.

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Homebuilders Take Stock of Improved Inland Empire

More Projects Likely to Start As Sales Pick Up

Orange County’s biggest homebuilders are again turning more of their attention to projects in the Inland Empire.

Invesco Pays $112M for Fullerton Apartments, Dell Inc. Office in AV

Dallas-based Invesco Real Estate, one of the most active institutional investors in Orange County in the past few years, has added a newly built apartment complex in Fullerton and another office in Aliso Viejo to its local portfolio.

CoreLogic’s Nallathambi Dies

CoreLogic President and Chief Executive Anand Nallathambi died after a brief illness, the company said.

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Credit Union Eyes Tustin for New HQ

SchoolsFirst Would Likely Be City’s Biggest Employer With 185,000-SF Development

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in California, is eyeing a site in Tustin to build a sizeable new headquarters facility.

One More Mariners Mile Office for Moshayedi Clan

Latest Pushes Area Buys Above $130 Million

The biggest property owners in the Mariners Mile area of Newport Beach have added another building to their holdings.

Lake Forest Homebuilding Steps Out of Shadows

Ongoing Projects, Pipeline Add Slew of New Homes

Lake Forest, despite being in the shadow of California’s two best-selling master-planned communities, has been holding its own during the latest residential building boom.

Olen Eyes Buys After Big Re-Fis

Newport Beach-based Olen Properties Corp. has closed on a big loan for its largest local property—a mixed-use development it owns in Brea—and is close to putting some of the proceeds from that and other recent financing deals into an apartment complex it plans to buy outside Orange County.

IE Cement Magnate Eyes Santa Ana Rentals

A 601-unit apartment project has been proposed for a roughly six-acre site next to the Santa Ana Zoo that sold last year to a wealthy businessman from the Inland Empire.

Top Service, Top Prices at OC’s Latest Luxe Rentals

Irvine Co., Shea Put on The Ritz for Latest Projects

Orange County’s newest batch of luxury apartment communities, which command some of the highest rents ever seen among complexes here, aren’t for renters short on cash.

New-Home Sales Surge to Levels Not Seen Since ‘03

Large Projects Feed 31% Sales Growth

Close to $4 billion was spent on new homes in Orange County last year as builders here posted their best sales year since 2003, thanks to new projects going up at the area’s largest master-planned communities.

Pendulum Property Pays $41.6M for Office in Irvine

REAL ESTATE: Initial buy for firm headed by ex-Lincoln exec

A real estate investment, management and development firm that started operations last year has made an office in Irvine near The Market Place shopping center its first investment.

Gen. William Lyon Steps Down from Homebuilder's Board

Newport Beach-based homebuilder William Lyon Homes said that its namesake and founder, General William Lyon, has stepped down as a director of the company.

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Pacific Hospitality Lists Bacara Resort & Spa for Sale

Paid $185M in ’13; Could Sell for About $250M

Irvine-based Pacific Hospitality Group should make a big profit off the planned sale of one of its high-end properties.

2 Buildings in Airport Area Pegged at $200M+

REAL ESTATE: Emmes Group close to re-entering office market

New York-based Emmes Group of Cos. has been selected to buy the Main Plaza office buildings near John Wayne Airport in what looks to be the first big local office transaction of the year, real estate sources tell the Business Journal.