The Irvine-based firm has emerged as the buyer of the South Orange County campus for California State University, Fullerton, a two-building complex in the Spectrum area of the city that the school is scheduled to close this summer.
An affiliate of TGS, led by local billionaire C. Frederick Taylor, paid $49.6 million for the two buildings at 1 and 3 Banting, property records indicate.
It’s the biggest reported office acquisition in the Spectrum area of the city in nearly a year.
The pair of two-story offices total about 138,000 square feet; the property traded hands for around $360 per square foot.
It’s the most expensive reported local real estate investment to date for TGS, and brings the firm’s portfolio of owned and leased properties to the north of 300,000 square feet in Irvine. Most of that space has been added since mid-2019.
TGS’ plans for the just-bought offices haven’t been disclosed. The ultra-secretive company did not respond to inquiries about the purchase.
Sources indicate the buildings could serve as a new headquarters for TGS, which currently operates out of a much smaller, 14,000-square-foot building it owns in the Woodbridge area of Irvine.
There’s been no sign that TGS plans to shutter that smaller office; in fact, the company expects to expand its footprint there with additional development, according to city records.
The Business Journal first reported on the impending sale of 1 and 3 Banting in February, when CSUF said it had accepted a purchase agreement for the two Irvine properties, and planned on leasing one of two buildings back until June 30, when it would cease instruction.
Both the buyer and sales price were undisclosed at the time. CSUF initially only listed one of the offices for sale, at an asking price of $21 million, before interest in the entire campus caused the school to change its plans.
The closure will mark, for now, the end of the university’s physical presence in South OC after nearly three decades.
CSUF bought the Irvine campus in 2013 for a reported $30.5 million.
The Banting buildings are located less than a mile from a new data center TGS is building just off the San Diego (405) freeway.
The company paid $28 million for the site of that development, at 23 Pasteur, last May.
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo sold the one-time office site, situated next to a building used by Irvine retailer Tilly’s Inc. for its e-commerce operations.
The new owner has since torn down the Wells Fargo building, which ran some 125,000 square feet, and an adjoining parking structure. It is currently building a new 48,260-square-foot data center.
Technology “is a crucial part of our business and influences every aspect of the work that we do,” according to a job posting on TGS’ web site. “To that end, our company owns and operates a large datacenter to support our worldwide securities trading business.”
That deal followed a full-building lease TGS struck last February on the opposite side of the San Diego (405) freeway, at Irvine Co.’s Spectrum Terrace office campus.
The newly completed office at 17500 Laguna Canyon Road runs about 115,000 square feet. TGS has not indicated its plans for the Spectrum Terrace building, which appears to be unoccupied.
Other than the data center, TGS’ plans for the new facilities in the city are largely unknown. There’s been no indication the company is looking to lease out any of its space to other tenants.
The company is discreet in nature; it uses computer algorithms to invest via a so-called “quant” strategy, and is estimated to employ less than 100 people in the city. Local hiring efforts have been ongoing primarily in engineering and research roles, according to its website.
“Our team includes researchers and engineers from some of the top universities in the world, winners of national and international competitions in math, physics, and informatics, former professors, and a cast of talented professionals,” the company says on its website.
TGS’ founding team includes Taylor, one of Orange County’s wealthiest businesspeople.
Estimates of Taylor’s wealth range from $1.3 billion to multiple billions. He is also reported to be a major philanthropist, although like TGS, his giving efforts are highly discreet and largely under the radar.
The late David Gelbaum, as well as Andrew Shechtel, are the other founders of TGS, which also has offices in Princeton, N.J.