Mark Mueller


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

Phone: 949-833-8373 Extension: 226

Recent Stories

Hines’ OC Head To Run Asia Office, HQ

Commercial real estate development and investment giant Hines plans to ramp up its work in Asia, and has tapped the head of the firm’s busy Orange County office to lead the charge.

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Blizzard Pivots to Content Development Jobs

GAMING: Irvine firm now tops in office space

A sizeable round of job cuts in Irvine is unlikely to have much impact on the local space needs of Blizzard Entertainment Inc., the online video game publisher whose collection of area properties now makes it Orange County’s largest office tenant.

WeWork for Industrial Space? Irvine Spot Tries Coworking

A prominent Irvine industrial building near John Wayne Airport that was caught up in an international caper featuring federal allegations of illegal commodities trading a few years ago has a new business plan: becoming Orange County’s first big coworking site for warehouse users.

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OC Insider

The New Oil

Data science and advanced analytics firm Alteryx Inc. appears to be just scratching the surface of its potential growth, no small feat considering the $4.5 billion valued company’s stock nearly tripled since the start of 2018.

Sapphire Chef Goes Global With New Biz

RESTAURANTS: Ghahreman’s Dellah on fast track for growth

Chef Azmin Ghahreman is widely considered one of Orange County’s top culinary figures.

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OC Insider

Legal Briefs

Reformation at the OC District Attorney’s office won’t take place overnight, according to newly minted DA Todd Spitzer.

OC Insider

Canadian Dollars

Pensions are a hot topic in this week’s edition: note Canada’s No. 2 pension fund taking a 40% stake, and providing a $400 million war chest, to Steve Jones’ Allied Universal (see story, front page).

IRWD Kicks Off Work for Creative Office Project

REAL ESTATE: 70,000-SF building near Spectrum HQ

A wetter-than-normal start of the year didn’t stop the Irvine Ranch Water District from beginning a new creative office project on vacant land it owns next to its Sand Canyon Avenue headquarters.

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Security Blanket

Palmer Luckey's Anduril Touts Border Technology, Refines Irvine HQ Plans

Anduril Industries, one of Orange County’s more closely watched startup firms, is ramping up its public profile, not to mention its defense and security-focused technology offerings, while shedding more light on its local growth plans.

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Real Estate Data Firm Bought

Irvine’s ATTOM Data Solutions has been acquired by Lovell Minnick Partners, a Philadelphia-based private equity firm, on undisclosed terms.

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Skincare Co. Drunk Elephant Explores Sale

Newport Beach Co-HQ; Could Command $1B

Drunk Elephant LLC has its eyes on being the next cosmetics company with roots in Orange County to pass the $1 billion mark in valuation (see related story, front page).

The King Speaks

Bill Gross spoke to just two reporters last week after announcing his impending retirement.

City of Hope Buys NB Office; Irvine Project Still in Works

The City of Hope is coming to Orange County, a few years earlier than expected.

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Agent of Record(s)

How Leigh Steinberg Landed the NFL’s Newest Superstar

Leigh Steinberg doesn’t represent any of the Los Angeles Rams or New England Patriots playing in the Super Bowl.

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Comeback Kings

Everyone likes a good comeback story.

Beacon Roofing Commits to New North OC Project

Take Largest of Four Buildings from Panattoni

Panattoni Development Co.’s Orange County Commerce Center, a four-building industrial project straddling Anaheim and Placentia that’s one of the largest industrial developments now underway in the county, has its first tenant.

Apartment Construction Remains Brisk

26,500 New Rental Units Since 2010

OC’s new home market saw a 10% drop in sales volume last year (see story, page 1), but the region’s multifamily future remains bright.

Builders Top 5,000 Sales Again; Prices Near $1M

Close to $5 billion was spent on new Orange County homes in 2018—builders’ second-best sales year in the last 15.

Taco Bell Extends HQ Lease Deal

RESTAURANTS: Irvine lease tops for quarter

Taco Bell Corp., the largest restaurant chain operator based in Orange County, has re-upped the lease for its headquarters in the Spectrum area of Irvine, real estate sources tell the Business Journal.

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Albertsons’ Hub in Brea Sells for $200M+

REAL ESTATE: Biggest OC sale in past year

A massive industrial building in Brea that serves as a distribution center for much of Albertsons Cos.’ operations in Orange County quietly changed hands around the start of the month, in what records indicate is the largest single-building property sale here in over a year.

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Irvine’s Parcel Pending Bought for More Than $100M

Parcel Pending, an upstart Irvine-based company that uses electronic lockers and proprietary software to store and access delivered packages, has been acquired by a mail and shipping company based in France.

Big Game Laughs

A Super Bowl prediction: Rams fans in the area will be smiling at the end of next week’s big game in Atlanta.

Anaheim’s Latest Big Office Sale: Former Fisker HQ

Family Investment Group Pays $41M for Building

The former Anaheim headquarters of Fisker Automotive and Technologies Group LLC has sold for the fifth time since 2006 and at what property records indicate is the highest price over that time.

Cash-Flush Urovant Grows at UCI Research Park

22,000-sq.-ft. Lease for Drug Company With 2018 IPO

Urovant Sciences Ltd., an Irvine-based clinical-stage biopharma company that started operations in 2016 and went public last September, is about to get a much larger home near the University of California-Irvine.

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PCH’s Moshayedi Mile

Mo Honarkar made headlines last week for a string of property buys along the coast of Laguna Beach.

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China Carmaker Setting Up in OC

AUTOMOTIVE: Joins Zotye, Karma

Add GAC Motor to the growing cadre of Chinese automakers establishing operational hubs in Orange County.

Chip Switch: Skyworks Expands Local Ops

REAL ESTATE: Takes over former Broadcom office near UCI

Skyworks Solutions Inc., Orange County’s third largest maker of computer chips by local employee count, appears poised to significantly expand its operations after striking a large lease near its existing Irvine offices.

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Irvine Esports Co. Going Public

GAMING: Allied, World Poker Tour part of $214M merger

Orange County’s role as a hub in the fast-growing esports industry will become even more pronounced after one of its main corporate players, Allied Esports International Inc., sets up headquarters in Irvine and goes public this year via a reverse merger.

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Senior Housing Developers Pay $21M for IBC Site

DEVELOPMENT: SmartHome site eyed for congregate care

A Dallas-based developer of senior living properties has bought a 3-acre site along Barranca Parkway in Irvine, and plans to start construction later this year on one of the city’s largest and amenity-heavy residential complexes for older residents.

Buchanan Street Adds to Rental Portfolio in Colorado

$72.5M Buy Tops for ’18 In Colorado Springs

Buchanan Street Partners closed 2018 on a high note, completing one of the largest apartment transactions of the year in Colorado.

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Hotel Laguna Revamp Planned by New Owner

Honarkar Takes Over 7 Properties Along PCH

Businessman Mo Honarkar, a Laguna Beach resident who’s among the city’s largest real estate owners, said last week he added seven new properties along South Coast Highway to his portfolio, including the iconic Hotel Laguna.

Mo, Better Booze

Mo Honarkar could soon supplant Dane Eiler “the Greeter” Larsen as Laguna Beach’s best-known local after buying a stretch of city properties along Coast Highway, including the iconic Hotel Laguna (the Insider’s favorite wedding spot), which Honarkar vows to restore “to its former glory.”

Bob’s the Builder

Olson Brings Hotel Glitz to NB, Irvine, Dana Point

It’s been a whirlwind period of growth for Bob Olson, who over a 10-year stretch has gone from Orange County’s biggest and best-known hotel developer, to the largest in Southern California, to the most prolific in the Golden State.

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Business Bites

Other items of interest Orange County Business Journal Vol. 42, No. 1

Sales totals at Orange County’s largest master-planned communities fell by more than 50% in 2018 amid the close-out of some larger projects in the area, according to a new report from John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Edwards’ Office Expansion Push Leads to Costa Mesa

Big Office Lease Reported At The Met Complex

Orange County’s largest public company, Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE:EW), appears to be expanding its local operations and is taking up space in areas outside its Irvine home.

Ex-AutoGravity Execs Launch Biz

INNOVATION: Trio start Digital Motors

Andy Hinrichs, the co-founder and former chief executive of Irvine-based AutoGravity Corp., one of Orange County’s fastest-growing and better-funded fintech firms, has begun to take the wraps off his latest startup venture.

Lights, Karma, Action

Yachts usually take center stage during the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, but Bob Olson’s ornately-decorated home on Balboa Island caught plenty of attention on the first day of the city’s annual holiday extravaganza, both for its exterior decorations and the guests for a Dec. 20 event there.

Glaukos Buys Development Site Next to Aliso Offices

$7M for 2.8 acres of Land Next to Element Campus

Glaukos Corp. isn’t done with its expansion plans in Aliso Viejo.

Precarious Predictions

The Business Journal’s final issue of 2018 features our 2019 Economic Preview, and who better to give their take on where the economy is headed than 2000s Bond King of the Decade Bill Gross.

Business Bites

Other items of interest Orange County Business Journal Vol. 41, No. 52

The interior space at the former Laguna Hills Mall will close on Dec. 31, according to the property’s owner, Merlone Geier Partners.

OC Register’s HQ in Anaheim Sells for $83.1M

REAL ESTATE: 5-office complex next to stadium

The five-building office campus in Anaheim next to Angel Stadium that holds the headquarters of the Orange County Register and others has sold for $83.1 million.

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CKE Closes Shop

AltaMed’s Buy Marks End to Restaurant Co.’s OC Presence

An Anaheim office built for CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc.—parent company of one of Orange County’s iconic businesses, burger chain Carl’s Jr.—has been bought by a healthcare provider, marking an end to CKE’s corporate ties in the area.

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Former NBA Player Nets Retail Center Next to SCP

Childress Ventures Pays $9.6M for Corner Site

Former NBA hoops star Josh Childress has bought a shopping center and office building across the street from South Coast Plaza.

CRE Fundamentals Solid; Warning Signs Appear

Orange County’s real estate market refused to be distracted, or largely impacted, by forces outside the area in 2018.

Anaheim Power Play

Ducks Owner Pays $125M for Office Site Next to Stadium

Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli has made his largest reported acquisition, buying a three-building office complex that sits next to the Honda Center, home of his hockey franchise.

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Hines Global REIT Unloads Irvine Office for $46.6M

Busy Corner: Hotel Next To Office Sold in October

The intersection of Main Street and Von Karman Avenue in Irvine, already one of the busiest in the city, is now one of the busiest for real estate transactions.

Watty Sets Sail

It’s one thing, perhaps expected at this point, for Texas to poach local companies looking for cheaper business environments.

$48M Sale for One of IBC’s Remaining Housing Sites

REAL ESTATE: Mix of rentals, for-sale from Alliance, KB Home

One of the last sites in the Irvine Business Complex approved for housing redevelopment under the city’s current 15,000-unit cap for residential entitlements in the fast-growing area has traded hands for a hefty price.

Surf City Offices Trade for $124M

Largest OC Deal for Pendulum Property Partners

Irvine-based Pendulum Property Partners, a real estate investment and development firm that started operations in 2016, has made its largest area purchase to date, buying Huntington Beach’s most prominent office complex.

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A Break in Direction

Dec. 4 will see a swearing-in ceremony for Anaheim’s two new city council members, one re-elected council member, and a new mayor, Harry Sidhu, a pro-business Republican candidate, Disney ally, and former city councilman.