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Burnham’s Boulevard: Adds to Westcliff Drive Holdings

Burnham Ward Properties LLC, one of the more prominent real estate owners along the 17th Street and Westcliff Drive retail corridor that straddles Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, has added another notable address to its portfolio there.

The Newport Beach firm said earlier this month that it bought the Mariners Medical Arts building at 1901 Westcliff Drive.

The roughly 20,000-square-foot property, built in 1963, is described as “historically significant” by the new owners, noting it was designed by famed master architect Richard Neutra, who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright for a period.

The Orange County chapter of the American Institute of Architects has cited the property as one of the county’s most significant buildings.

Terms of the sale were not immediately disclosed. The building was last owned by an affiliate of Irvine’s Bral Realty Advisors, according to CoStar Group Inc. records.

Prior ownership a decade ago considered demolishing the site; those plans didn’t move ahead as they were met by opposition from local preservationists. Some work to the two-story building has since taken place.

The new ownership group says it “plans to restore the midcentury building, including the modern features that make the building notable.”

“It is exciting to lead the preservation of this historically significant building located in our backyard,” said Scott Burnham, CEO and partner of Burnham Ward Properties. “It is rare that opportunities like this come along so we know how important our stewardship of the building is to the community.”

The new owners note the building embodies special architectural and design features that integrate interior and exterior spaces to form a setting conducive to medical treatment, as the building was specifically designed for.

Neighbors

The Mariner Medical Arts site is about a block from Irvine Avenue, which separates Westcliff Drive and Newport Beach from 17th Street and Costa Mesa.

Burnham Ward and its affiliates have plenty of familiarity with the immediate area.

The just-bought property is a few doors down from Burnham Ward’s Castaway Commons project, a 30,000-square-foot project it revamped several years ago into a mix of high-end retail, restaurant space, and medical practices.

The investment firm and its affiliate Burnham USA Equities also count several retail properties along 17th Street, such as the 17th Street Village center. 

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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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