Commercial Real Estate

Newport Beach Sees Commercial Projects Scrapped

Orange County Commercial Real Estate Projects Have been canceled

2017 was an interesting year for commercial real estate in Orange County and one that brought a lot of promises with it. However, there were also some major disappointments. Indeed, in Newport Beach, there had been plans for two very large-scale projects. Had they been completed, they would have delivered hotel developments, new retail facilities, and luxury housing. However, local residents protested and even threatened with lawsuits, forcing the Newport Beach City Council to drop the plans.

Newport Beach is a beautiful beachside community where the median house price reaches into the millions. Indeed, Forbes consistently ranks it as one of the country’s most expensive places to live.

Our annual list of America’s Most Expensive ZIP Codes is compiled by Altos Research, which looks at median home price data for more than 29,500 ZIPs covering 95% of the U.S. population. Here we highlight the 500 priciest postal codes for 2017.

Newport Beach ranks 40th, with a median house price of $3,679,483.

A proposal has been made and permission has been granted for Related California to build a 25 storey condominium building with 100 units, on the site of the Orange County Art Museum, found at 830 San Clemente Drive. Early in 2017, however, the Newport Beach Council rescinded this approval.

After listening to dozens of speakers, most opposed to the project, council members voted 5-2 Tuesday night to rescind their November approval. Council members Will O’Neill and Scott Peotter dissented.

The project by Related California was one of five major projects in the area.

“Famed architect Robert A.M. Stern is designing the project, which would be his first residential project in Orange County. The development’s design includes devoting more than 60% of the property to outdoor open space.”

The property belonged to the museum, which wanted to sell it to obtain funds to be used for moving to Costa Mesa. However, opponents of the plan were concerned that the project would turn into a large-scale development. They campaigned successfully for a referendum and this eventually led to the council rescinding its approval.

Similarly, in November 2017, a year long dispute finally came to an end when approval was repealed by the council for Newport Banning Ranch LLC to develop Banning Ranch. Banning Ranch is a former oil field measuring 401 acres, found between Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. Opposition against this plan initially started in 1990.

In 1999 Costa Mesa resident Welsh formed a Sierra Club task force that opposed development, and the Banning Ranch Conservancy environmental group formally organized in 2008.

Newport Banning Ranch LLC had wanted to construct 900 new homes, add a hotel and retail park, and still convert a huge proportion of the land into a nature park. However, according to environmental activists, the land is home to a host of endangered animals, as well as a variety of rare species of wildlife, and no construction should take place at all. Armed with this information and the belief that no proper environmental assessment had been completed, they filed suit and were successful in their endeavors.

It is very important to know there are 76 wildlife species that can be found either on the Banning Ranch Property or in the vicinity that are endangered (Federally and/or State of California), are on the State Fully Protected List, are listed as a State Species of Special Concern, and/or are on the State Species Watch List.

A representative of Newport Banning Ranch LLC has since stated that, within the next two years or so, they will make a new proposal for a scaled-down version, hoping that this version will be respectful of environmental concerns.

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