Mark Mueller

Editor

Mark Mueller covers commercial and residential real estate for the Orange County Business Journal. His beat also includes title insurers and mortgage lenders, as well as government stories that relate to real estate. He can be reached at mueller@ocbj.com.

Email: mueller@ocbj.com
Phone: 949-833-8373 Extension: 226

Recent Stories

OCBJ INSIDER

Leases in the Air

Laguna Beach residents and the area’s LGBTQ community likely remember the multiyear “Save the Boom” campaign of local activist Fred Karger, which attempted to save and then resurrect the city’s iconic Boom Boom Room, a gay bar that closed in 2007.

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World Gym Moves HQ to Costa Mesa

FITNESS: Expanding new studio concept

Add another storied gym chain to Orange County’s collection of fitness businesses that call the area home.

OCBJ INSIDER

A Harbor Hit

Craig Atkins has the high and low ends of OC’s housing market covered.

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Evolus Flagship Drug Grabs Botox Business

DRUGMAKERS: Allergan trade secrets disputed

The initial release of Evolus Inc.’s first product appears to have gotten the attention of doctors and patients looking for an alternative to Botox.

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Oakley Scores With NFL Partnership

SPORTS: Tinted visors; $200 glasses for fans

Oakley Inc. was able to do what New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown couldn’t this offseason: get the National Football League to revise its stringent rules on the types of helmet-related gear its players can wear.

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Top Price for Newport Heights Medical Campus

REAL ESTATE: 60K-SF complex fetches $840 PSF

A newly built medical office complex in Newport Beach has traded hands at one of the highest per square foot prices ever seen for a non-hotel property in Orange County.

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OCBJ INSIDER

Adding Security

This week’s edition is bookended by a pair of notable charitable endeavors, a cover feature on Deidre Pujols and her family’s efforts to combat human trafficking, among other causes, and a Leader Board from Squar Milner’s Deborah Harrington on the rich tradition of the Boy Scouts in OC, much of it running along Jamboree Road.

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OCBJ Insider

Small Accounts, Big Names

Acorns Grow Inc. ranks No. 11 among the area’s software companies by local employee count, sprouting 20% in the past year to 240 at its decked-out new HQ near UCI—its emergence is one of several notable trends in this week’s tech-focused edition (see our Special Report beginning on page 19).

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Consultancy RGP Makes Digital Play

SERVICES: $30.6M buy part of new strategy

Resources Connection Inc. didn’t wait long to back up Chief Executive Kate Duchene’s mid-July stated corporate goal of becoming more digitally focused; it just made a major investment in that specific sector.

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OCBJ INSIDER

The Value of Coworking

WeWork’s financial DNA has a lot more in common with Uber than Irvine Co.

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FDA Discloses Edwards Recall

Shares of Edwards Lifesciences Corp. were down 3.5% in midday trading Thursday, after the Food & Drug Administration said the company had recalled part of a transcatheter heart valve system made since last year.

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Irvine Co. Promotes Three

Irvine Co. promoted a trio of executives who report directly to Chairman Donald Bren at Orange County’s dominant real estate firm.

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Korean Buyer For 2 Luxe Resorts?

HOSPITALITY: Ritz, Montage trade expected

A South Korean financial services group has emerged as the likely buyer for two of Orange County’s poshest coastal resorts, which could trade hands for $900 million or more on a combined basis.

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Moneyfútbol

Newport Beach’s Jeff Moorad is looking to bring some elements of “Moneyball” to Europe.

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Esports Venue Operator Goes Public

Allied Esports Entertainment, an Irvine-based company that runs facilities for online gaming enthusiasts, as well as the World Poker Tour, went public Monday by reverse merger.

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OCBJ Insider

Trophy Buildings, and Trophies

The July 19 passing of renowned architect César Pelli is being felt in OC’s Arts District.

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Radiation Detection Firm Traveling to Kentucky

1 of 2 SoCal Firms Accepted to Bootcamp

Irvine-based device maker Clinitraq Inc., a 3-year-old firm whose core product helps monitor healthcare workers’ exposure to radiation, is taking a three-month business trip to Kentucky.

Chipmaker OctoTech Launches 5 Products

RFIC Offerings For IoT, 5G Uses

Add Irvine’s OctoTech Inc. to the growing ranks of chipmakers in Orange County.

Irvine Warehouse Could Be Seized

COWORKING: CubeWork’s first OC location in doubt

The future of Orange County’s first big coworking site for warehouse users appears to be in flux, after the owners of the prominent building in Irvine that’s home to the shared-space facility were caught up in a federal tax evasion scheme that made national headlines last week.

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Kura Sushi Goes Public

Shares of Irvine’s Kura Sushi USA (Nasdaq: KRUS) surged during its first day of trading as the operator of 22 U.S. revolving sushi bar restaurants completed Orange County’s first initial public offering this year.

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OCBJ Insider

Boat Exploits, and Heroics

You’ll see more than a few references, and photos, of notable yachts and sailboats in this week’s OC’s Wealthiest issue, the 19th edition of one of our more closely watched issues of the year.

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New CEO at New Home Co.

Larry Webb, co-founder and chief executive of the New Home Co. Inc. (NYSE: NWHM), is transitioning to an executive chairman role at the Aliso Viejo builder at the end of August.

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Orange Curtain: Local Wealth Defies Global Dip

ECONOMY: 46 with $500M+; 25 Billionaires

Have you heard that it’s a tough time for the richest of the rich?

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OC’s ‘Dronefather’ Partners With Uber

DEFENSE: $25 Million for new Karem Aircraft unit

Lake Forest’s Karem Aircraft Inc., an aerospace development firm that makes manned and unmanned rotorcraft vehicles mainly for the military is spinning off a venture to build an all-electric air taxi vehicle for Uber.

OCBJ Insider

Burritos, Not Botox

Bill Ackman’s latest investment in an OC company is going much more smoothly than its predecessor.

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Moorad Buys Portuguese Soccer Club

Newport Beach’s Jeff Moorad is getting back into sports ownership.

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Sushi Seller Sets IPO Terms

Irvine’s Kura Sushi USA, which operates 22 U.S. revolving sushi bar restaurants, has set the terms for what could be Orange County’s first initial public offering this year.

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NB Bayview Marriott Sells for $78M

HOSPITALITY: Local buyer Clearview plans upgrades

The Newport Beach Marriott Bayview has been sold to a local investor, in the priciest hotel transaction seen in Orange County in nearly a year.

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NB Marriott Sells for $78M

Newport Beach Bayview Marriott was sold for $78 million, or about $307,000 per key for the 254-room property.

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WeWork Goes Big In Irvine Spectrum

COWORKING: Full-office lease at new development

WeWork Companies Inc. has struck a deal to lease all of a just-built office in the Irvine Spectrum, and will operate one of the largest coworking spots in the U.S. at the location.

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William Lyon Homes Buys Mortgage Banker

Newport Beach’s William Lyon Homes (NYSE: WLH) has bought South Pacific Financial Corp., a retail mortgage banking company based in Irvine.

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OCBJ INSIDER

Blessings, and Jams

Glenn Stearns is an optimist—a fact made clear during an interview with our Peter J. Brennan—coming after his namesake mortgage lender filed for bankruptcy, an event that involves another notable OC finance firm, PIMCO (see his front-page story).

Adventus Ventures Raises $3 Million

VC Money For Allevion, Pressao

Irvine-based VC firm Adventus Ventures, which focuses on medical technology companies, last week said it completed a $3 million Series A round of equity financing, led by Korea’s OnFace SDC, a technology investor focused on Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and integrated systems.

Electric Vehicle Concept Puts Containers on Wheels

Few Details Disclosed For Company With China Ties

A secretive new transportation-focused tech company with domestic operations based here is looking to make its mark in the electric vehicle market.

Irvine Revolving Sushi Chain Kura Plans IPO

RESTAURANTS: $57.5M offering, eyes 200+ spots

Kura Sushi USA Inc., an Irvine-based sushi restaurant chain that opened its first location at the city’s Diamond Jamboree shopping center in 2009, has its eyes on being the first Orange County restaurant company to go public in nearly four years.

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OC Insider

Newport, Newport

This week’s Insider was written a thousand miles north of the Business Journal’s headquarters, at the other big Newport along the West Coast: Newport, Ore.

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Cloudvirga Adds to Exec Ranks

Irvine’s Cloudvirga, a fast-growing mortgage software company that has raised more than $77 million from investors since its 2016 founding, has hired Maria Moskver as chief legal and compliance officer.

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Mitsubishi Motors Driving to Tennessee

AUTOMOTIVE: 200 Cypress workers relocating

Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. is relocating its headquarters from Cypress to Franklin, Tenn., a suburb of Nashville, the company said.

Allergan Plans $63B Sale to AbbVie

DRUGMAKERS: Irvine campus could see more change

Chicago-based AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) plans to buy fellow pharmaceutical giant Allergan PLC (NYSE: AGN) for nearly $63 billion in cash and stock.

OCBJ Insider

Campus Plans

In early 2015, Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli stood at a vacant lot at Irvine’s Great Park Neighborhoods, touting the company’s forthcoming campus on the site as a future hub of new technology, research and innovation in OC to a small crowd of media and city officials.

Mitsubishi Moving to Tenn.

Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. is relocating its headquarters from Cypress to Franklin, Tenn., a suburb of Nashville, the company said Tuesday.

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Allergan Being Sold for $63B

Chicago-based AbbVie Inc. has agreed to buy fellow pharmaceutical giant Allergan Plc for nearly $63 billion in cash and stock.

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Quartet Picked For OCTANe Event

Ophthalmology Cos. Get Look

Newport Beach’s IACTA Pharmaceuticals Inc. is one of four early-stage ophthalmology companies presenting at OCTANe’s Ophthalmology Technology Summit at Fashion Island Hotel on June 28.

OCBJ INSIDER

Initial Returns

Business looks good for OC’s cadre of accountancies and management consulting firms, which report strong levels of hiring over the past year—one of many stories you’ll find in this week’s Special Report starting on page 23.

Buena Park’s Yamaha Names Macias as Brand Director

Quiksilver Vet Joins Music Powerhouse

Greg Macias has been named brand director for Buena Park-based Yamaha Corporation of America, one of the country’s largest makers of musical instruments.

‘Virtual Shopping Mall’ App HelpJess Launches

Connects International Shoppers to US Stores

HelpJess, a virtual shopping app that’s been in testing mode for about a year, is launching.

Zotye to Irvine; CUV in 2 Years

AUTOMOTIVE: Selling China brand in U.S.

Irvine has added another notable carmaker to its ranks.

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No IPO, No Problem for Gang of Four

Privacy Has Its Privileges, Including Rising Sales

Four of Orange County’s largest private companies weren’t expecting to stay private as of a few years ago and one of them didn’t expect to be OC-based, either.

OCBJ INSIDER

Trade Talk

China looms large in this edition, in particular the fallout of the ongoing trade spat between the U.S. and China on a variety of area industries, from semiconductors for smartphones (page 12) to cars (this page) to tile and stone distributors (page 1).

Primoris Buys AV Land; Offices Expected

CONSTRUCTION: Site could hold 90,000 SF

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.

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