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Von Karman’s Cluster of Data Centers Could Expand

Menlo Equities LLC hasn’t found too much success leasing out its Quintana office campus near John Wayne Airport. But the Palo Alto-based company appears to be seeing strong user interest at an industrial complex it owns next door, thanks to tenants of a different type.

The real estate investor, which has a number of office and industrial property holdings in the airport area, recently filed plans with the city of Irvine to convert an empty portion of a 405,327-square-foot industrial facility it owns at 17871 Von Karman into a 180,000-square-foot computer data center.

The redevelopment requires the addition of 19 emergency generators on the property’s exterior, among other changes to the building. The cost of the project hasn’t been disclosed.

It would join an existing 200,000-square-foot data center at the same property, which Menlo bought in 2011 for $47 million. Savvis Inc. leases that data center, one of several on a short stretch of Von Karman. That’s no accident, according to the owner’s filings with the city’s planning commission.

“Underneath Von Karman Avenue is a very dense fabric of fiber optic networks operated by at least seven different telecommunications carriers” that has attracted the interest of companies like Savvis, Latisys, and Hosting.com, which host data centers for Internet and technology companies, according to city filings.

Interest in that type of facility has picked up in Irvine since the recession, and the presence of data centers “can act as a catalyst for companies to locate in the area to take advantage of the technological infrastructure,” the planning commission filing said.

Similar clusters of data centers are in El Segundo and downtown L.A., according to Menlo.

The company owns an estimated 1.1 million square feet of commercial real estate in Orange County, much of it near the intersection of Von Karman and Main Street, where its 420,000-square-foot Quintana office campus.

The midrise campus, previously home to the now-defunct Washington Mutual, has been largely empty since Menlo purchased it in 2010.

Menlo has been holding out for a large tenant to take up the bulk of the space, but to date it’s announced no prominent leases.

Alere Purchase

Newport Beach-based Alere Property Group LLC has paid nearly $44 million for a seven-building industrial park in Cerritos.

The privately held real estate investor and developer recently closed on the purchase of the Cerritos West Industrial Park, a 17.5-acre property about a mile south of the Santa Ana (I-5) Freeway on Carmenita Road.

The 395,177-square-foot industrial park was sold for about $111 per square foot by a fund sponsored by Los Angeles-based CBRE Global Investors.

Buildings there run as large as 34,000 square feet, and tenants include Future Metals, Bunn-o-Matic and Maruka USA. The property is 100% leased.

Santa Ana Sale

Irvine-based real estate investment and management firm MCA Realty got a record-breaking price for a Santa Ana building that previously held its headquarters.

The company recently sold a two-story office at 2740 N. Grand Ave. The 15,570-square-foot building is just south of the Garden Grove (22) Freeway. A U.S. Bank is its largest tenant.

The building sold for a little more than $6.5 million, or about $421 per square foot. That’s the highest per-square-foot price on record for a Santa Ana office of that size, according to data from the local investment properties team at CBRE, whose brokers worked on the deal.

An Irvine-based private investor bought the office.

CBRE’s Gary Stache, Anthony DeLorenzo, Doug Mack and Pat Scruggs represented the buyer and seller in the transaction.

The largest Santa Ana property remaining in MCA’s portfolio is the Brookhollow Freeway Showroom Center, a four-building, multitenant industrial and retail showroom project next to the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway that totals 87,609 square feet.

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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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