EMMES Nabs OC Towers in $220M Value-Add Deal

The property marks the firm's third acquisition in the Orange County market, although the company exited the region in 2015, when it sold 4000 MacArthur in Newport Beach.

An affiliate of The EMMES Group of Companies has acquired Main Plaza, two Class A, 12-story office towers in Irvine, Calif., marking the firm’s return to the Orange County commercial real estate scene. The development also includes two retail pads with restaurants El Torito Grill and McCormick & Schmick’s as tenants.

The privately owned real estate services advisory firm did not disclose the amount it paid for the 625,000-square-foot office development but Yardi Matrix data shows that the transaction closed in April for $220 million. The portfolio was sold by San Francisco-based Shorenstein, which had owned the property in the Airport Area submarket since 2008, when it bought the buildings from MPG Office Trust for $211 million, according to Yardi Matrix. The property was part of a $2.9 billion, 24-property portfolio MPG Office Trust acquired from Equity Office Properties Trust in April 2007.

Yardi Matrix reported that the acquisition by the EMMES affiliate, EMMES Asset Management, was funded by a $162.1 million loan held by KKR.

EMMES is repositioning the property, located in the Irvine Concourse, a large master-planned business park and has already rebranded the office campus at 1920 Main St. and 2010 Main St. as Centerview. The firm, with offices in New York City, Irvine and San Diego, plans to make “extensive improvements” to the buildings, which were constructed in 1988 and had complete renovations in 2008. The new work will include modernizing the building systems, renovating common areas and adding additional on-site amenities. The firm is already upgrading a six-level parking structure including automating the garage, painting the interior and exterior and improving lighting.

One of the buildings, 2010 Main St., has 141,948 square feet of space available for lease. The second building, 1920 Main St., has 33,772 square feet available. Both buildings have a mix of general office, financial and law firms as tenants.

“EMMES is thrilled to return to the Orange County market with the acquisition of Centerview. Irvine, more specifically the Airport Area, is considered one of the most desirable office locations due to proximity to the airport, freeway access, walkability and extensive amenity base. We will be making significant improvements to the property that we believe will elevate the experience not only at Centerview, but the Irvine Concourse as a whole,” Mike McCann, senior vice president of EMMES Realty Advisors, said in a prepared statement.

The Centerview property is the third acquisition EMMES has made in the Orange County market, although it exited the region in 2015 when it sold 4000 MacArthur in Newport Beach, Calif. The firm had purchased 4000 MacArthur, a two-building, 377,893 square-foot-office property in 2011. EMMES repositioned the buildings after giving them a major facelift including lobby renovations and other upgrades and brought the occupancy from 29 percent at purchase to 91 percent at sale, the firm stated.

EMMES followed a similar process with The Michelson in Irvine, a 19-story, 536,000 square-foot tower, raising the occupancy from 44 percent at purchase in 2009 to 94 percent at disposition in 2012. The firm noted that the sale was one of the highest value transactions per-square-foot by an institutional investor for a multi-tenant office building in Orange County.