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OC Insider: Argyros’ Influence

Two prominent Orange County entrepreneurs — George Arygros and the late Chuck Martin — were the two greatest mentors for Glenn Stearns, according to the mortgage ­exec’s new book, “InteGRITy: My Slow and Painful Journey to Success.”

“Both were very successful businessmen—one with a tremendous amount of street smarts and the other with an impressive education, having earned several college degrees,” Stearns wrote.

“George was the type of investor who tucked things away and never thought about them again. He rarely sold anything. Chuck’s approach was different. Whenever he sold a company, it was for a very nice profit.”

“I learned so much from both men. Chuck eventually became Stearns’s first outside board member” at Santa Ana’s Stearns Lending, he said.

Argyros almost became a business partner for Stearns: in 2008, when the mortgage industry was imploding amid the Great Recession, he and Robert Day, founder of Trust Company of the West, offered to buy half of Stearns Lending, asking Stearns to name his price. “They were throwing me a lifeline.”

He opted against bringing in his friends as partners during that challenging time. “I ultimately came to the conclusion that my friendship with them was worth more than all the money in the world,” he wrote.

For more book excerpts from the founder of Stearns Lending and Kind Lending, see this week’s Leader Board on page 57.

It’s a tale of two affluent cities, when it comes to increasingly contentious affordable housing requirements in the state.

Late last month, Newport Beach’s city council ok’d plans to reduce the minimum affordable housing inclusionary requirement for a 145-acre commercial area near the airport, between MacArthur Boulevard and Jamboree Road.

Prior requirements for the area, dubbed Newport Place, called for a 30% affordable housing requirement; the new threshold is now 15%. Several existing sites in the area are being considered for urban housing redevelopment projects and would be impacted by the changes.

Meanwhile in Irvine, an Aug. 3 planning commission hearing included a study that “assesses the financial feasibility for developers of increasing the affordable housing requirement from the current 15% affordable housing in a market rate project to 20% affordable housing in a market rate project.”

A decision on upping the percentage hasn’t been finalized.

The city of Irvine’s made some curious decisions on its future growth plans this year: the decision to pay $285 million, sight unseen, for the 11-acre All American Asphalt site in the northern part of the city remains a head-scratcher.

That said, credit where credit’s due. Kudos to the city for walking away from the extremely one-sided negotiations with Live Nation to build an amphitheater that would’ve left the city on the hook for much of the nearly $140M facility.

If Live Nation (NYSE: LYV) and its Ticketmaster affiliate still want to extend its monopoly via a new concert venue in Irvine, they can foot the bill themselves; the company’s valued at nearly $20 billion.

Another win for the city: bringing in local retail developer Almquist, the firm behind Stanton’s Rodeo 39 center, for a new food hall at the Great Park.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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