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Monday, Jul 15, 2024

Big Doings on Development in Fountain Valley

The conversion of a former office property on Brookhurst Street into a residential community and hotel is the latest sign of development life in Fountain Valley.

An affiliate of Seal Beach-based homebuilder Olson Co. recently closed on the purchase of an 8.6-acre site at the southeast corner of Brookhurst Street and Slater Avenue, located about a block east of the San Diego (I-405) Freeway.

Until recently, the parcel, located next to Fountain Valley Civic Center, held a 121,375-square-foot office building once occupied by Safeco Insurance.

The building has stood vacant in recent years, as Olson worked with the city to get the property re-entitled for other uses.

Plans approved by the city earlier this year call for 27 single-family homes, 61 townhomes and a 127-room Ayres Hotel at the site, along with about 2,300 square feet of retail space.

An affiliate of Olson is one of the region’s more active urban-infill residential developers, it paid about $13.6 million for the property, according to a recent market report from Newport Beach-based Voit Real Estate Services Inc.

That is the priciest office sale seen in Orange County so far this quarter, according to the brokerage’s mid-quarter data.

The sale was brokered by Jeff Cole and John Gallivan of the Irvine office of Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

The building was previously owned by Seligman & Associates Inc. of Southfield, Mich., according to brokerage data.


Olson didn’t waste much time moving ahead on demolition work after buying the property, which is expected to be called Solano Walk and is located next to the Fountain Valley Civic Center.

The offices at the site were torn down about a month ago, right after Olson closed on the sale, according to Andy Perea, director of Fountain Valley’s city planning and building departments.

Some of the homes at the site could be ready for sale by year’s end, according to Perea.

The project is one of two developments—along with a 12-unit community in La Palma called Tapestry Walk—that Olson has in the works in OC. Prior projects in Fullerton and Garden Grove have sold out, according to the company’s website.

The four-story Ayres hotel is expected to be completed by mid-2013, Perea said.

The entire project is expected to take about two years to complete.

The housing and hotel site along Brookhurst is one of three larger developments in the works for Fountain Valley.

About one mile away, just off the 405 Freeway, Hyundai Motor America Inc. is moving ahead with the estimated $150 million redevelopment of its headquarters campus.

Hyundai’s headquarters will double in size to 469,000 square feet, with room for as many as 1,400 workers, up from about 800 employees in the old building at the site.

The project is expected to wrap up around the end of next year. The car maker has taken up temporary residence in offices near South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa while construction moves ahead.


Next up for construction in Fountain Valley: a nearly 101,500-square-foot manufacturing and distribution plant for Yakult U.S.A. Inc., which makes yogurt-like probiotic drinks.

Groundbreaking on the project—located along an 8.9-acre site on Newhope Street that once held a commercial nursery—is expected around the end of this month, according to Perea.

The project is set to be one of the larger industrial projects to go up in OC in several years.

Yakult, part of Tokyo-based Yakult Honsha Co., bought the land at 17235 Newhope St. about two years ago for a reported $5.8 million, or about $650,000 per acre.

The project got final city approvals earlier this year. Plans call for the construction of three buildings: a 79,600-square-foot manufacturing facility; a single-story office totaling 11,200-square-foot office building; and a storage facility running about 11,000 square feet.

The factory is expected to double the company’s production to about 250,000 bottles a day.

The Japanese beverage maker is expected to relocate its U.S. headquarters from Torrance to the Fountain Valley facility upon its completion. The site should employ about 150 workers, according to city figures.

It will be the company’s first U.S. factory.

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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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