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Costa Mesa’s The Press: Work Presses On

Construction continues at The Press development site in Costa Mesa, a long-awaited creative-office project that now has a clearer delivery timeline but no announced occupants.

The redevelopment project at the 24-acre former L.A. Times printing facility off Sunflower Avenue, near Harbor Blvd. and the San Diego (405) Freeway, is currently being marketed to prospective tenants. It is described as the “largest adaptive office re-use project in Orange County,” according to leasing brokerage Newmark.

All told, the office and retail site will total more than 400,000 square feet, with the first 146,000-square-foot phase expected to deliver to tenants by second quarter 2021.

Officials involved in the project earlier this month touted completion of the base build for the first phase of the project, which has yet to announce any tenants.

“The project is really taking shape with phase one already ready for tenant improvements,” said Newmark Senior Managing Director Jay Nugent, who is handling office leasing with colleague George Thomson.

“Construction never slowed during the coronavirus pandemic, which is a major testament” to the development team led by Foster City-based SteelWave LLC and Dallas-based Invesco Real Estate, he said.

The duo bought The Press site for $65 million in 2018; construction kicked off last year.

The project cost for converting the industrial site at 1375 Sunflower Ave.—across the street from Costa Mesa’s Ikea store—tops $200 million.

Market Hall

The second 255,000-square-foot phase of the project is “deeply under construction,” Nugent said. It is expected to deliver to tenants later next year.

This portion of The Press includes the planned 51,000-square-foot “Market Hall,” a restaurant and retail hub led by Shaheen Sadeghi, the founder of Costa Mesa’s LAB Holding LLC, the retail development group known for Anaheim’s Packing House food hall, as well as The Lab and Camp ‘anti-malls’ in its hometown.

Market Hall is the largest project in Orange County to date for LAB Holding and could accommodate upwards of 60 vendors. It is expected to open by the start of 2022, around the same time as tenant move-in dates.

Retail Insite’s Chris Hodgman and The Lab’s Jason House are heading leasing for the retail portion.

User Interest

Newmark said it has issued proposals to office tenants ranging from 20,000 square feet to over 200,000 square feet.

“I believe we will likely have north of five or six tenants for the entire project,” Nugent said.

Ideal tenants are companies in the innovation, technology or gaming sectors that “would really appreciate the atmosphere and vibe at The Press.”

“OC has typically been a commodity-driven office market, which can limit its appeal to creative office tenants,” Nugent said. “The Press provides these tenants an opportunity to build the culture they want in a historic location.”

Design for the project hasn’t shifted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The low-rise nature of the project with multiple entry points, plenty of outdoor areas and surface parking throughout really bodes well for large companies looking for a safe office,” Nugent said.

“We could envision a large user coming here from a denser urban location.”

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