The Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) is rethinking its real estate footprint locally through a pair of notable leases totaling north of 120,000 square feet, while the public health services organization prepares to break ground on a new, 68,000-square-foot facility in Irvine.
As part of the recent transactions, the OCHCA renewed one of its Santa Ana leases, totaling 81,882 square feet. That deal is for part of Park Tower, a 159,499-square-foot facility at 200 W. Santa Ana Blvd. in the city’s Civic Center submarket.
The building is situated next door to the agency’s headquarters at 405 W. 5th St.; it operates out of a portion of the county-owned, 113,785-square-foot facility.
OCHCA last quarter also signed a new lease totaling 40,580 square feet in Anaheim at 1515 E. Orangewood Ave.
The leases are a consolidation of sorts, with the OC HCA moving some of its services from existing locations in the county to the Santa Ana and Anaheim outposts, while the new Irvine facility will be the new home for multiple divisions that are currently based in “antiquated buildings that are too small for the current division,” according to Mindy Winterswyk, assistant director of HCA.
The two transactions were among the top leases signed in the county during the second quarter.
Its new lease in Anaheim spans two floors of the 84,980-square-foot building, and runs for about 15 years.
The Santa Ana renewal also spans 15 years, expiring in April 2038, according to CoStar Group records.
OCHCA, which has been based in Santa Ana for north of a decade, plans to use the two facilities for mental health services and outpatient clinics for substance use disorders, among other uses.
The organization has been in growth mode since the onset of the pandemic, with increasing demand for public services and resources.
That demand spurred the need for a new health facility, the agency has previously said, with the Orange County Board of Supervisors in November approving a new facility for the organization in Irvine.
The OCHCA, primarily using funds from the federal coronavirus response, plans to build a 68,000-square-foot facility that will relocate some of its operations from its current Santa Ana hub and include a new public health lab.
Construction on the nearly $80 million facility is expected to begin soon at 8226 Marine Way, near the southern edge of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, a short walk from Irvine’s train station.
The nearly 10-acre site includes two parcels—one owned by the county, and one by the Navy.
The expected cost of the OCHCA project works out to about $1,150 per square foot.
That’s a significantly higher price than typical office construction in Orange County; other high-end buildings in the area usually cost well under $500 a square foot to build.
The two-story building is expected to house Emergency Medical Services operations, a public health laboratory, the disease control department and administration offices for HCA staff; the facility will hold about 210 employees. The project will also include 239 parking spaces, according to filings.
About 25,000 square feet of the building will be dedicated to the public health lab, including a “biosafety lab” component.
“The facility is to be capable of providing essential services to the public after a disaster,” board filings indicate.
“If we learned anything from the last few years, it’s the importance of investing in public health and science,” Supervisor Katrina Foley said in a prior statement.