The largest office development planned for the market around John Wayne Airport in over a decade has moved from a concept to reality.
Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. recently began putting up steel for its Boardwalk project, a two-building office development in Irvine on Jamboree Road a half-mile south of the San Diego (I-405) Freeway.
The nine-story, glass-sheathed project, whose buildings will be connected by a series of indoor and outdoor bridges, will total about 545,000 square feet when it is completed next year.
It also will include a host of amenities that the developer likens to a boutique hotel.
The office campus will feature an on-site concierge, a 2-acre courtyard featuring restaurant and retail space, outdoor conference rooms, a fitness center, and employees trained by the same people who help with staffing at some of the area’s high-end resorts.
“We’re trying to think outside of the box for every aspect” of the project, said Chris Tipre, Trammell Crow vice president.
The outdoor space at Boardwalk is designed to accommodate 20% of the building’s occupants at any given time, according to the developer. It’s one of several nods to the creative-workplace features that are now becoming essential parts of most area office developments.
The biggest selling point of the speculative project for the time being is that steel is going up.
The project “becomes real when you go vertical,” said Thomas Bak, senior managing director for Trammell Crow’s Southern California operations.
Boardwalk is the first large speculative office project to break ground in the office market around the airport in over seven years.
Trammell Crow expects to top off the steel by September, with the curtain wall going up shortly thereafter. In addition to the offices, a multistory, 2,200-unit parking structure is being built.
Snyder Langston is the general contractor for the offices, and Bomel Construction is in charge of the parking structure.
The developer plans to finish the project by next summer.
Other details—including the project’s cost, rents and potential tenants—are being kept close to the vest by Trammell Crow.
Company officials say they have 10 proposals out for space at the buildings, with potential deals ranging from a few thousand square feet to tenants looking to take both buildings for headquarters.
The developer’s sweet spot for space is 64,000 square feet, which would cover full floors at both buildings, with two 30,000-square-foot spaces connected by a 4,000-square-foot indoor or outdoor bridge space.
There are few offices in OC’s market, particularly in the airport area, that can accommodate that much contiguous space. Most offices in the area have floorplates that run 20,000 square feet to 22,000 square feet.
The 30,000-square-foot floorplates—and the potential to double up thanks to the connecting bridge—is something that doesn’t exist in the market today, Bak said.
Trammell Crow bought the 7.5-acre site last year from General Investment Funds Real Estate Holding Co. in Chevy Chase, Md., for an undisclosed price. The site is adjacent to the Irvine campus of Parsippany, N.J.-based Allergan PLC.
Healthcare and biomed tenants are expected to take an interest in Boardwalk, as are law firms, technology companies and financial services firms, among others, according to Tipre.
The company has opened a marketing pavilion at the construction site to show off the project, which is about 120,000 square feet larger than Irvine Company’s recently completed 20-story office at 200 Spectrum Center.
A sister tower is being built by Newport Beach-based Irvine Co. in the 400 block of Spectrum Center Drive. The developer also has six low- and mid-rise offices under construction in the Spectrum area.
Boardwalk is about half the size of the total of the first phase of five buildings now in the works at Broadcom Ltd.’s campus, also in the Spectrum.
Some of those buildings are expected to be occupied by tenants other than the chipmaker, which has been cutting local positions this year.
The current level of office development in OC hasn’t dissuaded Trammell Crow from moving ahead with construction, Bak said.
“There’s enough room for all of us,” he said.
Being first in the airport area does carry some advantages, according to the developer.
Getting steel out of the ground erases “any doubts that this project is real,” the company said.