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Wednesday, May 29, 2024


Our last edition of both 2018 and 2019 featured predictions in the OC Insider on GDP growth for the upcoming year from Chapman President Emeritus and famed economist Jim Doti, and famed bond investor Bill Gross.

Doti was closer to the mark with his 2019 prediction of 2.4% (off just a tenth of a percent), while Gross’ decision to take the under on GDP growth (he predicted 1%) for 2020 proved prescient during what turned out to be a recessionary year.

The Pimco co-founder gets the Insider Cup (disclaimer: not a real cup) this go-around.

As for 2021, Doti predicts GDP growth of 5.7% for the upcoming year; see Kevin Costelloe’s front-page story for more. Alas, Gross found himself tied up in court proceedings last week pertaining to his well-publicized neighbor dispute in Laguna Beach, and wasn’t available for comment.

Other area execs interested in vying with Doti for the Insider Cup next year are welcome to submit their predictions to me. The Business Journal believes 2021’s GDP could end up higher than Doti’s optimistic prediction.

In our July 27 OC’s Wealthiest publication this year, we asked one of the area’s biggest collectors of high-end properties to discuss their strategy for buying luxe homes.

“Location, location, location—with great views,” said the buyer, Bill Gross, who has owned numerous waterfront and cliffside properties in Laguna Beach and Newport Beach over the years.

A prediction for 2021: both he and software exec (and UCI computer science grad) Mark Towfiq would like to add “and great neighbors” to that line.

A judge’s ruling on their dispute hadn’t been made by the time we went to press on Friday.

Luxe home brokers predict 2020’s surprisingly strong year for area sales to continue into 2021; see Katie Murar’s year-end luxury homes column on page 69 for more.

OC might need some more local mortgage execs to step up for that to be the case, as loanDepot’s Anthony Hsieh and Kind Lending’s Glenn Stearns bought the two most expensive homes in OC last year.

For more on Hsieh’s wild ride in 2020, see the next print edition of the Business Journal, which runs Jan. 4.

One 2020 prediction that’s already come true: In an October Insider item, I noted the likelihood of Irvine’s EV truckmaker Rivian using its hometown to test out new electric-powered delivery vans designed for Amazon.

Amazon is an investor in Rivian and has plans to put 100,000 of the company’s vans on the road in the next decade.

The October item noted that Irvine’s often served as a testing ground for Jeff Bezos-funded projects, from the new Amazon Fresh grocery store in the Market Place shopping center that’s seeing brisk traffic, to robots that deliver packages.

Online EV trade publication Electrek last week said that Rivian was spotted testing a prototype of the Amazon delivery vans near one of the company’s facilities in the area.

They were accompanied by a trio of Rivian’s R1T pickup trucks, which are expected to hit the market in 2021.

Another trade pub spotted the same collection of vehicles being tested at a nearby off-road park.

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Mark Mueller
Mark Mueller
Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of the Orange County Business Journal, one of the premier regional business newspapers in the country. He’s the fifth person to hold the editor’s position in the paper’s long history. He oversees a staff of about 15 people. The OCBJ is considered a must-read for area business executives. The print edition of the paper is the primary source of local news for most of the Business Journal’s subscribers, which includes most of OC’s major corporate and community players. Mark’s been with the paper since 2005, and long served as the real estate reporter for the paper, breaking hundreds of commercial and residential real estate stories. He took on the editor’s position in 2018.

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