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OCBJ INSIDER

Irvine Co. helped launch several real estate companies during the depths of the last recession, thanks to its executive builder program. Both TRI Pointe Group Inc. of Irvine and New Home Co. of Aliso Viejo were tapped by the developer to build on its land in a fee building arrangement.

See this page’s story on FivePoint Holdings and New Home for how Irvine’s other big master-planned developer is trying a similar program.

This downturn, it looks like Irvine Co. execs are the ones embracing new challenges.

Doug Holte, who joined the firm a decade ago and ran its 50 million-square-foot office division, announced last week he would be departing.

The office division’s portfolio grew by 16 million square feet over Holte’s time at Irvine Co., with more local buildings on the way.

Holte said that he would be “pursuing new options for post-COVID real estate innovation and growth.” A replacement hasn’t been named.

He’s the second division president to leave the company this year. Irvine Co. Resort Properties head Scott Hermes left several months ago; his spot has been filled internally by Roger Ploum.

Also leaving the office division is SVP and Chief Marketing Officer Lauren Kelly, who announced plans to leave last week after six “transformational” years at the company, where she helped usher in several new concepts to the firm’s office portfolio.

Now “is the moment to make a bold move,” she said in an email, alluding to her next steps.

Donald Bren’s top lieutenants usually stay busy and land on their feet after leaving.

Mike McKee, long the No. 2 exec at Irvine Co. before leaving in 2008, went on to take key positions at Irvine’s HCP Inc. (now Healthpeak Properties) and Seattle’s Bentall Kennedy; now he’s a principal at Peter Ueberroth’s Contrarian Group and non-executive chairman at San Diego’s Realty Income (NYSE: O).

Ray Wirta, who retired from Irvine Co. a year ago, remains a director at CRE brokerage CBRE.

Dan Young, who helped create the executive builder program for Irvine Co. when he ran the firm’s homebuilding division, is now helping the Samueli family with the Anaheim Ducks owners’ redevelopment plans around the Honda Center.

And in the Bay Area town of San Mateo, Young is looking to turn a 14.5-acre area into a mixed-use development with more than 900 homes and 40,000 square feet of commercial space.

The Concar Passage project, whose local ties also include architecture firm MVE & Partners and apartment developer Mike Hayde, won approval from San Mateo’s planning commission earlier this month and its city council is expected to take up the project this week.

Sares Regis Managing Partner John Hagestad has found the green again in Surf City; see page 8 for the developer’s latest land buy in the city.

At Oregon’s Bandon Dunes golf course, his son Stewart Hagestad, 29, also had a week to remember. He was set to tee off in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur on Friday afternoon.

The matches were reportedly interfering with Hagestad’s matriculation for USC’s MBA program; the school’s hard line on attendance for some mandatory Zoom meetings last week was said to be causing duress for the golfer.

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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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