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Primoris Buys AV Land; Offices Expected

Construction and infrastructure company Primoris Services Corp. (Nasdaq: PRIM) has bought a 7-acre site in Aliso Viejo. Real estate watchers expect the nearly $1 billion-valued firm to build a new regional facility there.

The Dallas-based company, whose Lake Forest-based affiliate ARB Inc. ranks No. 5 in this week’s Business Journal list of construction firms in Orange County (see list, page 35), is expected to build a two-building Class A office project on the land, although the company has not confirmed the plans.

The site is just off Liberty Road not far from Aliso Viejo Town Center.

The buildings—part of a 25.6-acre commercial development that includes newly built and under construction healthcare and senior living facilities—could run about 90,000 square feet.

It would be the largest office development built in the city for a specific owner since neuroendovascular device maker MicroVention Inc. opened its 205,000-square-foot Aliso Viejo headquarters about two years ago.

A time frame for the construction starting work has not been disclosed, and Primoris representatives last week indicated that plans for the site had yet to be finalized.

Primoris and its affiliates currently lease space in Lake Forest; they’re estimated to employ about 200 people in the county.

The company paid nearly $10.2 million for the Aliso Viejo land, of which 5 acres is developable, property records indicate.

The deal, if it moves as expected, would mark a notable commitment to the area from Primoris, which previously was headquartered in Lake Forest.

It moved headquarters from OC to Texas in 2010, following acquisitions in Texas and Louisiana that brought more business in the central part of the country and Florida.

The company provides a variety of construction, fabrication, maintenance, and engineering services to major utilities, petrochemical companies, energy companies, municipalities, and transportation customers.

It was founded under the ARB name and initially focused on infrastructure, underground pipeline, and directional drilling work when it was based in OC.

It changed its name and went public in 2008 via a reverse merger.

Primoris earned $2.9 billion last year. In its last year based in Lake Forest, revenue was closer to $600 million.

The company still has high-level ties to OC; board members include Tom Tucker, one of the area’s more connected execs—he’s the founder of Pennhill Land Co. and Republican political action committee New Majority California.

End of the Line

In terms of developable commercial sites, the just-sold spot is “probably the last one left in all of Aliso Viejo,” said Carter Ewing, managing partner of Newport Beach-based CT Realty.

CT Realty—one of the country’s most active developers of large industrial parks— has been overseeing the 25.6-acre Aliso Viejo site since 2016, when it paid the U.S. Postal Service a reported $33.6 million for the vacant land.

It has since split up the site into multiple parcels and sold them off to a handful of separate users; the land sold to Primoris included the last available parcels at the site.

Other development at the project includes two senior living projects headed by USA Properties Fund and Belmont Village Senior Living, a behavioral healthcare facility, and a Kaiser Permanente facility.

New offices “will be a nice complement to the medical offices, senior apartments and assisted-living facilities under construction or recently completed,” Ewing said.

Records from real estate market tracker CoStar Group Inc. indicate that land sales brought in nearly $45 million for CT Realty, which was represented by CBRE Group Inc.’s Larry Schuler, Gregg Haly and Keith Black in the latest sale.

Primoris was represented by Newmark Knight Frank’s Scott Read, according to brokerage data.

Once the full buildout of the campus is complete, “our mixed-use development will have created about 400 jobs and generated $300 million in assessed value on land that hadn’t ever paid any property taxes,” Ewing said.

In the end, “the project has been good for CT, good for City Hall, good for the local community, and good for the five corporate owners that will operate their unique businesses within the park,” Ewing said.

The new Primoris offices, if built, will be the second notable location in the city for a prominent construction and engineering firm based in Texas.

Flour Corp. was previously based in Aliso Viejo, but like Primoris, it relocated to the Dallas area, in 2006. It still has operations in the city.

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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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