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Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023
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OCBJ INSIDER

Water Vibes

Among the gleaming new offices, housing, hotels, and entertainment venues proposed for the OCVibe project surrounding Anaheim’s Honda Center, perhaps the most striking part of the $4 billion mixed-use venture—as seen in new renderings on pages 28 and 29 of this edition—is a vibrant Santa Ana River that serves as a focal point for the development.

As any visitor to the area now can clearly see, the storm channel’s a river in name only these days.

As California’s State Coast Conservancy noted earlier this year, the “area offers little to no shade for visitors to enjoy leisure time on the riverbank or walks along the river. The area is unsightly and uninviting to visitors looking for a break from the highly urbanized area of Anaheim.”

Efforts are underway to revitalize the corridor.

The city in in the planning stages for the OC River Walk, which aims to transform the river corridor to “increase public recreation, enhance the aesthetics and ecology of the river, and improve visual and physical access to the river,” according to state filings.

Along with a variety of riverbank reconfigurations, plans call for the installation of two river water impoundment structures to create semipermanent water bodies, which would collect water from the OC Water District Groundwater Recharge System, filings indicate. The water could be used by kayakers and for other non-motorized activities.

A new road—River Road—will be created as part of the first phase of OCVibe to complement the city’s project.

For more on the Samueli family’s plans to revitalize the area, see Katie Murar’s front-page feature.

Carl St.Clair, one of the country’s longest-tenured orchestra conductors, has a multiyear encore in store.

Now on 33 years as musical director at Pacific Symphony, St.Clair recently had his contract extended for two seasons, meaning “that I will remain music director through 2023-24, if not longer,” he said in a Sept. 18 letter to friends of the symphony.

However, “after much soul searching over the past several months, I have asked our Board Chair John Evans to begin a succession plan and to commence a search for my successor,” he said.

Until Pacific Symphony “secures a successor who will build upon our artistic achievements and successes, I am committed to continue as music director,” St.Clair, who turned 70 this year, said in the letter, noting “there is no specific timetable” for a change. He plans to remain engaged with the orchestra and stay in OC.

After a blockbuster 2021 for OC IPOs, deals have been few and far between this year.

Some that have taken the steps to go public this year haven’t found success. Tustin software platform Nogin (Nasdaq: NOGN) started trading at the end of August, via a reverse merger with a SPAC whose shares were listed at $10; the e-commerce company’s stock had fallen to around $1.40 as of this week, for a valuation around $90 million.

Larger deals could be arriving, with an IPO for American Healthcare REIT in the works; see page 11 for more. Reports say Irvine’s Ingram Micro, which went private in 2016 in a $6 billion deal, is also looking to go public again.

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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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