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Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023

LPA Expansion Showcases Engineering, Open Design

LPA Inc., Orange County’s largest architecture firm, is expanding its headquarters in Irvine’s University Research Park.

The company, which also provides engineering, interior design and landscape architecture services, leased another 15,210 square feet of office space at its headquarters at 5161 California Ave.

LPA’s now leasing 47,830 square feet at the building, which is owned by the Irvine Company and where the company’s been based since 2004.

The expansion is a reflection of LPA’s expanding engineering services business. It also gives the company an opportunity to showcase some of the energy-efficient, open-space office designs it’s been pitching to clients, according to company officials.

“The space looks very different from the headquarters we designed seven years ago because we’re a very different firm (now),” President Dan Heinfeld said.

In 2007, the company added an engineering division following a combination with Irvine-based Lee George Structural Engineers.

LPA now employs about 230 people, with about 200 based here.

The company ranked No. 1 on the Business Journal’s September architecture firm list, based on billings. It reported about $44 million in billings for the 12-month period through June 2010.

Larger office projects LPA has worked on of late include Western Digital Corp.’s new headquarters in Irvine’s Park Place campus. It also recently was selected to help build a facility for the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum.

LPA’s expanded Irvine space includes conference rooms with folded glass walls that can be added or removed. Workstations are designed to encourage collaboration among employees as well as clients and consultants.

The company also has offices in Roseville and San Diego, where it’s expanding. LPA said it recently moved into a 5,000-square-foot building in San Diego’s East Village. The building was built in 1898 and previously served as a bakery for Wonder Bread.

Phoenix Save

A new investor helped Costa Mesa-based real-estate investment firm McCarthy Cook & Co. avert foreclosure on a Phoenix-based office tower.

McCarthy Cook managed to retain ownership of the 480,000-square-foot Viad Corporate Center after bringing in New York-based investment firm Morgan Stanley as an investor and restructuring debt.

The deal was structured as a purchase by McCarthy Cook and Morgan Stanley at a price of $56 million, according to a report in the Arizona Republic.

McCarthy Cook originally bought the 24-story building—which houses the headquarters of Viad Corp., a marketing and events management company—in 2006 for about $106 million.

It had been in default on a $65 million loan tied to the property since late 2009, according to the Arizona Republic report. The total debt had grown to more than $81 million by mid-2010.

Bank of America was pushing for a sale of the property, which had been operating out of receivership, until the Morgan Stanley investment was announced.

It’s unclear how much of a stake McCarthy Cook—whose local holdings have included Costa Mesa’s Metro Center at South Coast office complex—still has in the Phoenix property

McCarthy Cook has struggled to keep the building’s largest tenants since it was acquired in 2006. Viad Corp. once leased about 150,000 square feet at the building, but now has only about 25,000 square feet, according to local reports.

Smart Sale

Seal Beach-based shopping center developer and investor Heslin Becker Properties LLC said it has sold a 30,476-square-foot building in Stanton for $8.1 million.

An investment group called 7050 Katella Ave. LLC, which counts ties to Los Angeles-based real estate brokerage Altemus Co., bought the building. The purchase price works out to about $266 per square foot.

The property previously was home to an Albertsons store, which closed several years ago.

Heslin Becker bought the property about three years ago for a reported $4.2 million, renovated the building and signed Smart & Final to a lease that runs another 17 years.

Retail Hire

The Newport Beach office of CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. has brought on a new retail brokerage team.

Scott Riddles is a new senior vice president. He previously was with the local office of SRS Real Estate Partners, a retail offshoot of the Staubach Co. His clients include CarMax, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Jared Jewelers and Total Wine.

Riddles and his former SRS Real Estate team, including Derek Fitch, Rob Crumly and Ryan Riddles, are joining CB Richard Ellis’ Newport Beach office.

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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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