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OC Leader Board: Designing the 5-Star Condo

Editor’s Note: Matthew McLarand is president and director of design at Irvine-based MVE + Partners. Pieter Berger is a principal at MVE + Partners and design director of the firm’s Irvine office. The firm, which will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary, ranks No. 8 on the Business Journal’s annual list of OC’s largest architectural firms (see list, page 25).

It’s a known fact that the real estate industry took a hit when the effects of the pandemic stalled new construction projects.

The hospitality sector took a blow and entrepreneurs in this space aren’t optimistic, as evidenced by a year-over-year decline in construction activity, according to March 2023 STR Data.

At MVE + Partners, we’ve experienced the ups and downs of workflow fluctuations over almost 50 years, weathering recessions and market changes along the way.

The company’s founder, Carl McLarand, started MVE’s predecessor in 1974 with a focus on residential and commercial work. This background has helped us in understanding the design of branded residences as they tend to use Type I building systems that you find in commercial work integrated with internationally designed residences.

We’ve been able to grow our business by diversifying into other areas like retail, institutional and mixed-use development.

Hotel branded condos

Coincidentally, our multifamily design studio has also benefited from diversifying its skill set. In recent years, we’ve become known as developers of high-end hotel branded residences with three California projects currently in different stages of development.

Hotel construction may be down, but it’s a seller’s market for luxury condos.

“Until the volume of properties available for sale increases substantially, back to traditional norms recorded pre-COVID, it is unlikely that the luxury market will transition into a true buyer’s market anytime soon,” according to a July report from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

There won’t be a glut anytime soon as the global luxury real estate market will register a compound annual growth rate of little more than 2% each year over the next five years, according to a recent report from Mordor Intelligence.

The Ritz Condo

In Orange County, we are designing the 22-story Ritz-Carlton Residences Newport Beach for locally based Eagle Four Partners and Lyon Living.

While still in its early stages, the plan calls for replacing a portion of the Vea Newport Beach hotel, formerly the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa.

The 295-foot-tall tower will provide over 100 residential units that will overlook Fashion Island, Newport Beach Country Club, Newport Harbor and the Pacific Ocean.

The design draws inspiration from the California Modernism architectural style which is embedded in the original vision of Fashion Island as set forth by Master Architect William Pereira.

Authentic yacht-inspired detailing is integrated into the architecture through the abundant use of natural materials and the emphasis on indoor/outdoor spaces.

Residents will enjoy all the indulgences of the 5-star hotel brand with a concierge and valet, private food services, recreational and lounging areas inside and out, a resort-style pool and spa with lounge seating, a private garden with designated pet areas, fitness facility, and billiards and library rooms.

Walking paths are planned throughout the property connecting it to Fashion Island and the Vea hotel.

The 5-Star Condo

Hotel-branded residences call for a distinct elevated design narrative that reflects the 5-star hotel flag for which they represent. Buyers looking for the premium quality curated services and exclusivity of a hospitality experience usually reserved for a 5-star hotel are now purchasing their own piece with amenities to match.

In Beverly Hills, at the recently completed Mandarin Oriental Residences, which we designed for SHVO, Bilgili Group, and Deutsche Finance, the seven-story glass façade building offers residents of its 54 units floor-to-ceiling windows with extensive terraces, a private porte-cochère with valet services, a library, a meeting room and a rooftop lounge with fireplace.

The private rooftop features an outdoor pool with cabanas, spa with steam room, sauna, and treatment rooms and a state-of-the-art fitness center. An exclusive partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue will offer residents private shopping experiences, a dedicated Saks concierge, and at home stylists.

And for foodies, Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud will be opening his first West Coast restaurant on the ground floor, as well as servicing the rooftop lounge. MVE recently won PCBC’s Gold Nugget Grand Award for architectural design for Best Multifamily Housing Community for the Mandarin Oriental.

It’s the 5-star hotel brand’s first exclusively residential property in the U.S. and the first exclusively branded residential offering on the West Coast.

The Resort Condo

Currently under construction at the former site of Beverly Hills’ Friars Club is the Rosewood Residences Beverly Hills, which will feature all the comforts of a high-end resort with the privacy and security of a gated community.

We are designing the Residences in a unique collaboration with Thomas Juul Hansen, who is known for projects like the 75-story One57, New York City’s most expensive residence, and 300 Collins in Miami.

Homeowners at the Residences’ 17 units will enjoy privately accessed elevators, private garages, large entry foyers and chef’s kitchens with double islands.

Nearly half of the units will have private swimming pools on their expansive terraces, and the development will also offer a communal rooftop retreat featuring a swimming pool, lounge and dining areas, a spa, a fitness center and outdoor relaxation areas with expansive city views.

Select residences will have an outdoor kitchen, a wet bar and a fire pit. The Rosewood Residences will provide a mixed-use component on the ground floor along South Santa Monica Boulevard.

The development, designed for Nahla Capital and GPI Companies, is scheduled for completion in 2024. The Rosewood Residences Beverly Hills will be the hotel flags’ first standalone residential offering in the United States.

The Luxury Investment

The price point into these luxury residences varies.

At Mandarin Oriental Residences, entry prices begin at $3.7 million for a one-bedroom and top out at $11.2 million for a three-bedroom. The Rosewood Residences will offer condos ranging from 3,000 to over 7,000 square feet, with prices starting at $10 million.

These luxury residences are shining examples of how we live by our motto: Exceptional by Design.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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