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St. John Moving Fashion House to Anaheim

St. John Knits is moving its local base from Irvine to Anaheim later this year, after striking a new 85,000-square-foot lease.

The womenswear firm is moving headquarters to “better accommodate the brand” as it exists today, a St. John representative told the Business Journal.

“Orange County is our home, so our goal was to stay close, and this facility features a collaborative environment to help us grow in the long term,” officials said.

The move marks a boost in space for the luxury retailer, whose current base near John Wayne Airport runs about 32,000 square feet. The company’s Irvine footprint also includes a neighboring 20,000 industrial facility in the business park.

The fashion house has over 200 employees in Orange County and the new headquarters will allow the entire team to operate under one roof.

“The new landlord has other tenants in our industry, and we are truly excited to plant new roots for the next chapter of St. John,” the representative said.

Top Leases

The two-story building in Anaheim, known as Fifty-Five Fifteen, is owned by an affiliate of Klein Investments, a Newport Beach-based family investment group, property records indicate.

The office at 5515 E. La Palma Ave. runs 155,351 square feet in total; it’s near the Riverside (91) Freeway and Imperial (90) Highway.

About a decade ago, the building held the headquarters of now-defunct Fisker Automotive.
St. John signed the lease in the fourth quarter of 2023. It was the second-largest new office lease transaction in OC last quarter, according to data from commercial brokerage Cushman & Wakefield.

The area’s largest reported lease for the quarter was struck by Canon USA Inc., which inked a 92,893-square-foot space at Irvine’s Google Center office campus, according to C&W’s data.

Redevelopment Plans

St. John’s current Armstrong Avenue base in Irvine, part of three-building portfolio totaling about 145,000 square feet, was recently listed for sale with an asking price of $40.3 million, according to data from real estate market tracker CoStar Group Inc.

The airport-area site is being marketed by brokers at CBRE as a possible redevelopment play, with the potential to hold a new industrial building running about 180,000 square feet.

Redeveloping the former locations of the apparel company has proved lucrative for area real estate firms over the past decade.

Prior to the Armstrong Avenue location, St. John was long based at an industrial building at the busy intersection of Jamboree Road and Michelson Drive, about a mile from the airport. That space has since been redeveloped into creative office space, and currently counts e-bike company Super73 and media firm Viant Technologies as its tenants.

That building, at 2722 Michelson, sold for $103 million in 2021. It was the most expensive single-building office sale in the airport area of Irvine that year.

Brand Focus

St. John Knits, focused on luxury women’s clothing and accessories since 1962, counts 44 retail stores in 13 countries as of June. This includes a local spot at Fashion Island in Newport Beach.

The company has been in the process of transitioning from a manufacturing business to a “brand company” with a new focus on its marketing efforts, according to parent company Lanvin Group Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: LANV).

Its year-long marketing campaign in 2023 was in partnership with television showrunner and producer Shonda Rhimes. The brand ambassador is known for creating shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Bridgerton.”

St. John recorded revenue of around $51.4 million for the six-month period from January to June 2023, up 11.3% compared to the year prior.

St. John is Lanvin’s third-largest unit by sales and accounted for about 20% of the operator’s total revenue in 2022, according to regulatory filings. Lanvin is currently valued at $363 million.

The parent company said in regulatory filings that the Irvine business has the potential to top more than $200 million in annual sales by 2025, with China and other Asian markets presenting a major opportunity for growth.

St. John reported sales over $90 million for 2022.

Its largest market currently is North America, representing 89% of its revenue.

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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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