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Conexant Towers Sold Again, for $136M

Two Newport Beach office towers that are home to a pair of chipmakers are changing hands again.

Real estate investor and coin dealer John Saunders and other investors are buying the two 10-story buildings from KBS Realty Advisors LLC, which owned them for about a year.

Conexant Systems Inc. and spinoff Mindspeed Technologies Inc. have their headquarters in the buildings near John Wayne Airport.

The price: $136 million for the towers, which total 370,000 square feet.

That puts the deal at about $368 per square foot, one of the priciest office buys for the county.

Saunders bought the building, known as Koll Center Newport, with others as part of Core Realty Holdings LLC, a Newport Beach-based company that pools together investors on real estate buys.

The sale represents a 23% gain in value since the towers last sold about 14 months ago.

At that time, Conexant sold the buildings to KBS, a venture of Peter Bren, Donald Bren’s brother, and former Koll Development Co. executive Chuck Schreiber.

The deal is set to close next month, according to Kevin Shannon, senior vice president for the Torrance office of Grubb & Ellis Co.

Shannon and Paul Perkins represented the buyer and seller.

Core Realty is set to be the fourth owner of the buildings since 2004.

The towers, at MacArthur Boulevard and Jamboree Road, were built in 1979.

In late 2004, Conexant exercised an option to buy the buildings under a lease with Deutsche Bank AG, the prior owner.

Conexant in turn sold the buildings last March to Newport Beach-based KBS, pocketing about $49 million.

The chipmaker is in the west tower under a 10-year lease.

Mindspeed is in the other tower under a sublease from Con-exant that runs until 2008.

Across the street, The Irvine Company is said to be close to finalizing a buy of twin towers at Newport Gateway Center for $375 to $385 per square foot, which would be a record.

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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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