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New Financing for Irvine’s CAVU Business Park

CAVU Business Park, a two-building, 110,541-square-foot office campus next to John Wayne Airport that’s been eyed for a multi-tower office and hotel development, has a new financing deal and ownership structure.

Newmark arranged a $16.5 million loan for the property along MacArthur Boulevard—on behalf of Camphor Partners LLC, an Irvine-based real estate investor and developer, formerly named Great Far East Inc.

As part of the refinancing deal, the business park traded hands from one Camphor-affiliated LLC to another venture backed by the firm, property records indicate.

CAVU—whose name is short for Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited—is now valued at $30 million, less than the $35.2 million Camphor bought it for in 2015, according to those records.

Camphor did not respond to Business Journal requests for comment.

CAVU’s new ­loan follows Camphor’s old financing deal on the property, which was provided by Torrey Pines Bank and was coming due, according to Newmark Managing Director Brian Bowis, who arranged the deal on behalf of Camphor Partners.

Barclays provided the Irvine-based property’s latest loan.

2022 Renovation

Camphor Partners in 2022 used the Torrey Pines loan to renovate CAVU, which counts two four-story buildings at 18872 and 18952 MacArthur Blvd. The upgrades included new elevator cabs, HVAC systems and common areas, officials said.

According to officials, CAVU has been 100% leased since its renovation and during the pandemic.

“The building is all brand new, is adjacent to John Wayne Airport, is in close proximity to Irvine business district,” Bowis told the Business Journal.

The property’s recent Barclays loan “shows that there’s still demand for office space in the right location,” despite the challenging financing environment for office buildings, Bowis added.

Tenants at CAVU include automotive-focused marketing company AutoWeb, previously known as Autobytel, as well as Twinsteps Architecture, coworking firm The Colab Space, real estate tech company Neozips, oil re-refining company Chemical Engineering Partners and recruiting firm Camden Kelly.

Several of those tenants are “self-employed, smaller businesses,” Bowis said. “They don’t want to work from home.”

Landmark

Camphor Partners eventually intends to go through with its original plan to turn CAVU into a mixed-use development called Landmark, Bowis said.

The firm in 2017 secured city approvals for a pair of 15-story towers, including a 420,000-square-foot office building and a 386-key hotel with 15,000 square feet of retail, on the 7-acre site.

Around that time, Camphor Chief Investment Officer Sean Cao expressed caution about starting the project in the near term, given that the real estate market cycles were likely to head downwards. The project was put on hold after the pandemic.

It’s one of the more ambitious high-rise, mixed-use plans for properties near John Wayne Airport. If built, the Landmark’s towers would be one of the tallest buildings in the immediate vicinity of the airport.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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