Mark Mueller

Senior Editor

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

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.

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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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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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.

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.

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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$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.

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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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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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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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.

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.

New Home Co. Expands OC Reach With New Offerings

More Deals Off Irvine Ranch; ‘Attainable’ Focus

The New Home Co., one of the most active builders on the Irvine Ranch in the past few years, is expanding its presence to other Orange County markets this year.

Royalty Carpet Sheds 2 Industrial Sites for $70M

REAL ESTATE: Hines, Turner to rehab them; Edwards deal close

Two area real estate developers have bought two large industrial buildings in the Irvine Business Complex area vacated last year by Royalty Carpet Mills Inc., in separate deals valued at more than $70 million combined.

Lennar Offshoot Pays Top Dollar for CM Rental Site

REAL ESTATE: Land near Segerstrom Center goes for $55M

A development site in Costa Mesa’s arts district that’s earmarked for a luxury apartment project has traded hands at one of the highest per-acre prices in the region recently.

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H&M Heads Spectrum Center Expansion

A two-story, flagship H&M clothing store is the largest of the new slate of tenants coming this summer to a new phase of the Irvine Spectrum Center.

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Mariner Square Rentals Sell for $23M, Records Show

Melia Eyes New Homes; Says 2019 Start at Earliest

Melia Homes apparently got itself a relative bargain for a Newport Beach apartment complex it bought last month.

Strong 2017 End to JWA Sales As Irvine Tower Trades

REAL ESTATE: 2600 Michelson Goes For $120M, Up 70% Since ’11

The 2600 Michelson tower in Irvine has been acquired by an investment affiliate of Los Angeles-based brokerage CBRE Group Inc. in one of the priciest office transactions in the John Wayne Airport area of the past year.

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Soccer Club’s Goals: New Sponsors, Foreign Players

SPORTS: Japanese star Honda invests in OC team

Orange County Soccer Club has brought on one of Japan’s best-known athletes as a part-owner and a link to a new source of players and endorsements for the upstart soccer franchise.

OC’s Largest Housing Developments See 3,724 Sales in ‘17

The Irvine Ranch retained its position as the best-selling master-planned community in Orange County last year, while three other communities in Orange County also ranked among the top 20 in the nation for sales in 2017, according to a new report.

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Club Pilates Brand Stretches to Irvine

SERVICES: Brand star of new umbrella co. Xponential Fitness

A new fitness-focused umbrella company anchored by Club Pilates—one of the country’s fastest-growing franchising businesses—plans to pump up the size of its Orange County headquarters and operations.

BPOY 2017: The Chairman Stepped Up

Bren’s HQ2 Bid Puts Irvine’s Growth on Display

Donald Bren went all in last year to try to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to Irvine, a rare public display of deal soliciting from Orange County’s dominant businessperson.

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A Street Apart: Newport Center Sits Atop Office Rents

REAL ESTATE: No. 15 among US streets, sixth in state

Newport Center Drive’s role of prominence in Orange County’s office market—including prominent rents—remains unsurpassed, according to a new national brokerage report.

Platinum Triangle’s Latest Sale: Stadium Crossings

Pendulum Property, Long Wharf JV Pay $40M-Plus

Irvine-based Pendulum Property Partners, a commercial real estate investor and developer that kicked off operations a little more than a year ago, ended 2017 with a bang.

2018 Preview: Real Estate

Orange County’s real estate market is approaching its ninth year of growth, albeit sometimes choppy growth, largely unprecedented territory considering most real estate cycles last six or seven years at best.

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Los Olivos Expansion Plans Include For-Sale Homes

169 Detached Condos And 1,781 Rentals Eyed

Irvine Co. plans to add a limited amount of for-sale housing to offerings in its Los Olivos community in the Irvine Spectrum area.

Major Mixed-Use Project Proposed for Mariner’s Mile

REAL ESTATE: Collection of Moshayedi family properties eyed for 600,000 SF

The biggest property owners in the Mariner’s Mile area of Newport Beach have proposed the largest development the high-traffic area’s had in years, a mixed-use project featuring retail, offices, restaurants and apartments.

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92 New Homes Proposed For NB’s Westcliff Area

REAL ESTATE: Melia Homes plans to convert site that now holds rentals

Irvine-based homebuilder Melia Homes is looking to tear down an older apartment complex in the Westcliff area of Newport Beach to make way for one of the largest for-sale housing developments that part of the city has seen in years.

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No End in Sight for Toll Brothers’ Luxe Push in OC

$44M Yorba Linda Site Offers Half-Acre Lots

Toll Brothers Inc. is adding another high-end housing development to its Orange County portfolio.

Subprime Auto Firm Veros Buys HQ in Busy Year

REAL ESTATE: $165M securitization firm’s first

The acquisition of Veros Credit LLC’s Santa Ana headquarters is the latest piece of notable business this year for the family-owned auto finance company, which is taking steps to ramp up lending operations.

Lennar Regional Executives Tapped

REAL ESTATE: Roos gets OC, West; 1 spot for CalAtlantic

Lennar Corp. plans to install its own executives in the top spot in four of the five national homebuilding regions it will run after buying Irvine-based Cal- Atlantic Homes, according to company documents provided to the Business Journal.

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2017 Year In Review: Real Estate

5 Big Stories

Irvine Ranch became the country’s largest source of new-home sales; Great Park Neighborhoods, Rancho Mission Viejo and Lake Forest’s Baker Ranch were also among the 25-best-selling communities in the U.S.; and average new-home prices in Orange County veered closer to $1 million.

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Food Hall Added to Project Plan at Old LA Times Site

REAL ESTATE: $65M sale big boost from $39M valuation

The new owners of the former Los Angeles Times printing facility in Costa Mesa are switching up redevelopment plans of the 24-acre site next to the headquarters of the Los Angeles Chargers, with a “high-end public market” concept alongside previously planned creative-office uses.

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