A number of sky-high development plans for Anaheim’s Platinum Triangle have been proposed over the past two decades. Many got reworked or downsized. Others were shelved altogether.
None of those ambitious ideas had the financial backing of Henry and Susan Samueli, who are among Orange County’s wealthiest families and owners of the Anaheim Ducks.
None of those developments were overseen by Dan Young, the former No. 2 executive at Irvine Co., OC’s dominant real estate company.
And few had the ambition of OC Vibe, a $3 billion plan to transform a 115-acre cluster of land surrounding the city’s Honda Center into a mix of apartments, offices, hotels, dining and entertainment options.
It’s the “largest project that has ever been contemplated or built in the Platinum Triangle to date,” said Young, lead master planner for the Samueli-backed project, whose long-awaited plans were revealed last week.
The mixed-use development, branded under the ocV!BE name, expects to include 2,800 residential units, two hotels, more than 800,000 square feet of office space, a new concert venue, food hall, restaurants, parks and other amenities.
“It’s a complete entertainment ecosystem that will complement the Ducks arena, as well as the residential and commercial developments that have been built in the area in recent years,” Young said.
H&S Ventures, the Corona del Mar-based entity owned by the Samueli family, will operate OC Vibe, which has a construction timeline almost as ambitious as the project’s scope.
The development group aims to receive entitlements next year, with construction likely to begin in 2023.
The first phase is expected to deliver by 2024 and the entire project is scheduled to wrap by 2028, when Honda Center will play host to indoor volleyball for the Summer Olympics.
Last week’s announcement—coming the same time that conceptual plans for the area around the neighboring Angel Stadium were also unveiled (see story, page 43)—could be the biggest economic boost for Anaheim in years.
Both projects when built out are likely to have a value of $8 billion, if not more, the Business Journal estimates.
It’s also a welcome dose of good news for a city that’s been hammered by the pandemic-related temporary closures to Disneyland and events at the Anaheim Convention Center.
“We are fully committed to Anaheim, and we believe this sustainable and integrated community will offer a unique and attractive lifestyle, as well as create jobs,” Henry and Susan Samueli said in a statement last week.
The $3 billion figure cited for the total cost of OC Vibe—roughly $26 million per acre—is even more notable when considering that the Samueli family is said to be financing the project themselves.
“We are not asking for any general fund support, nor any rebates from the hotels, and there are no outside partners,” Young said. “This is all within the world of the Samuelis.”
No future partners are contemplated at this time, officials said. The Business Journal conservatively estimates the family’s fortune—made initially through Henry Samueli’s work co-founding chipmaker Broadcom—to be in the $5 billion range.
Most aspects of the project’s development will be managed in-house, including the 2,800 rental units whose total development cost will likely be in the $1 billion or higher range.
Big residential projects are second nature to Young, the former mayor of Santa Ana who until a few years ago oversaw housing development as president of Irvine Co. Community Development.
He was tapped for the Anaheim project by the Samueli family—which bought the Ducks team in 2005 for a reported $75 million—about three years ago to plot out the project, which initially meant targeting acquisition sites surrounding and close to the Honda Center.
The team, led by Anaheim Arena Management CEO Tim Ryan, kicked off the pre-development process in November 2018, striking a deal to buy 10 acres of city-owned parking lots next to the stadium. They subsequently finalized an agreement to keep the Ducks in the city until at least 2048, with options until 2073.
Nearly 10 additional private acquisitions have also taken place under the H&S Ventures flag, giving the Samuelis control over more than 75 acres immediately east of the Orange (57) Freeway, running north from the city’s ARTIC transit station to Ball Road.
The proposed development will be anchored by the city-owned Honda Center, which the Samuelis have managed since 2003 under Anaheim Arena Management, an affiliate of H&S Ventures.
The current operators have invested some $100 million in the 650,000-square-foot stadium over the years.
“Ever since Day 1, they always told me to keep the building looking like new,” said Ryan, who has worked with the Samuelis for nearly 20 years. He added that the company is planning additional renovations for the stadium that will leave it “in better shape than when we first took over management.”
These renovations are expected to be done in the first phase, which will also include the concert hall, food venues and parking.
Today, there are about 3,800 surface level parking spots at the stadium. That figure will more than double to 8,700 spaces at full build-out, with parking garages, parks and other components replacing the existing parking lots.
The OC Vibe project is described as a transit-oriented community which integrates ARTIC into the larger district.
“ARTIC has significant capacity left, and has been waiting for a master-planned development in order to generate interest,” Young said.
Hotels, Office, Rental Units
Other components at OC Vibe include:
• Two hotels totaling 650 rooms, with “unique brands not in the market today,” Young said.
• A new 325,000-square-foot office tower that will join the 385,000-square-foot Arena Corporate Center, which is owned by the Samuelis. It will bring total office space in the complex to north of 825,000 square feet. “Tenants are moving to more creative offices with great amenities, and we are looking to meet that demand,” Young said.
• A 68,000-square-foot food hall and more than 30 other food and beverage concepts.
• Live entertainment for up to 30,000 people, including a 6,000-capacity concert venue.
• Three miles of trails and 20 acres of urban parks that will host events.
Next up for the 820-acre Platinum Triangle area: the redevelopment of the 153-acre site that holds Angel Stadium.
Los Angeles Angels team owner Arte Moreno made plans at the end of last year to acquire the site from the city for a reported $325 million; a conceptual plan was disclosed by the city last week.
Moreno and the Samuelis, whose combined net worth the Business Journal estimates to be near $8 billion, own or control about 225 acres on either side of the 57 freeway.
The two plans, though separate, will be complementary.
“We have been coordinating with them for quite some time, and they have a plan that is very synergistic with ours,” Young said.
“Our goal is for this to become the ultimate live-work-play environment,” Ryan said. “It’s truly transformative for the city, and the county as a whole.”
According to economics research firm DTA, OC Vibe will provide nearly 13,000 construction jobs and 3,300 permanent jobs upon full operation.
DTA suggests the project will generate more than $2 billion in a one-time economic impact. Its recurring annual economic impact will likely be in the $400 million range.