Plans to convert the former Trinity Broadcasting campus in Costa Mesa into an international language school have been nixed in the wake of the pandemic, as a notable local real estate investor has stepped up with new plans for the iconic property.
The Khoshbin Co. recently completed the $22 million purchase of the 6.2-acre Bear Street site. The Irvine-based investment firm is now planning an office renovation that aims to “revitalize [the building] back to its glory days,” said President Manny Khoshbin.
The property, on the southern edge of the San Diego (405) Freeway across from South Coast Plaza, holds an ornate 65,000-square-foot building previously used by Trinity Broadcasting, a Christian media network, from the 1990s until 2017.
“Given its unicorn location, we plan to spend millions to renovate this building into a creative campus with desirable amenities to the standard of Fortune 500 companies,” Khoshbin told the Business Journal last week.
EF Education First sold the property for $388 per square foot, or about 14% less than the $25.5 million that it paid for the property in March 2020.
Anthony DeLorenzo, Gary Stache, Doug Mack, Bryan Johnson and Justin Hill of CBRE represented the seller in the deal; The Khoshbin Co. was self-represented.
“This is an iconic asset in Orange County and offers the new owner an incredible repositioning opportunity in a prime location,” DeLorenzo said.
The Khoshbin Co. initially planned to use the building as a new home base for the firm and its entities, with a renovation that would add an on-site restaurant, coffee shop, private members club and creative office space.
A car museum was also initially in the cards, according to Khoshbin, who counts an extensive collection of high-end sports cars.
Those plans are somewhat in flux. Khoshbin said he’s already been approached by companies interested in leasing the entirety of the office at 3150 Bear St.
“I’m open to renting this campus to a high credit national tenant,” Khoshbin said.
In the near term, The Khoshbin Co. plans to soon kick off tenant improvements that will add administrative and other office uses in part of the property for the real estate investor, while the remainder of the property will be dedicated to coworking and executive offices.
Khoshbin expects to wrap upgrades by early next year.
“We are extremely excited to the future of this property as it has endless potential to be something great.”
Education Plans Nixed
The sale marks the latest chapter to the campus, which has seen several ownership changes over the past four years; Trinity sold the site for about $18.2 million in 2017, according to CoStar Group Inc. records.
The former broadcasting building running along the 405 was well known for its elaborate light show that used to run during the holidays.
EF bought the building from Alliance South Coast Properties LLC, a Pasadena-based real estate investment and development company, last March after months of planning to convert the property into a college-like campus for north of 1,000 international language students.
EF was planning to add 50 classrooms, a student services area, cafeteria, faculty offices, outdoor recreational facilities including a pool, and new dormitories that could hold about 600 students. Approximately 720 additional students were expected to live off-campus with host families. It got city approvals for the project near the end of 2019, but never moved ahead on its plans.
Sources indicate the pandemic and its impact on travel and in-person teaching brought those plans to a halt.
Khoshbin Landing Sale
The purchase marks the most notable local real estate acquisition for Khoshbin in several years, since buying what’s now known as Khoshbin’s Landing in Newport Beach, in 2015 for a reported $28.9 million.
The 33,000-square-foot Khoshbin’s Landing site, a two-building property along Mariner’s Mile that includes about 20,000 square feet of offices and waterfront restaurant space, is no longer part of his company’s portfolio.
Craig Atkins, chairman of Irvine-based homebuilder City Ventures, paid $40 million for the site near the end of 2019.
Khoshbin said his company used that deal to finance transactions outside of the state, such as a 120,000-square-foot mixed-use property in Oklahoma and a nearly 400,000-square-foot office tower in Houston, marking a return to Texas for Khoshbin; he once owned nearly 2 million square feet of office and industrial space there.
Now, The Khoshbin Co. counts a nearly 500,000-square-foot portfolio across three states.
The firm is looking to take advantage of the current downturn, with plans to expand its office portfolio, he said last week.