Newsletter

Up to Date Real Estate News from the Experts in Urban Living March, 2011

Irvine Planners Approve Design of Large-scale Office, Retail Project

(Part 2 of 2)

The most striking aspect of the Hines project's design is a large, central open area known as "The Green," which is surrounded by six office buildings ranging from 2 to 11 stories and three parking structures. The buildings will be angled to draw optimum power from the sun, Hines officials said.

The guidelines approved by the Planning Commission require the developer to include 2.2 acres of central open space, protect views in and out of the area, allow pedestrian access and create a "signature corner" at Jamboree and Michelson. But the master plan also gives the developer the latitude to not construct approved buildings, or to change their location within the site.

Planning Commissioner Greg Smith argued the master plan gives too much latitude to the developer and not enough certainty for the community.

"Maybe there is a building, maybe there is not. Maybe it is 10 stories, maybe it is six stories," Smith said. "That is pretty important stuff."

Smith also questioned the decision to allow buildings closer to the street than usually allowed under city code, which others worry could limit the city's ability to expand Jamboree if traffic continues to grow.

"I appreciate the open space in this project, but I can't imagine the buildings can't be moved over two or three feet to meet our standards," Smith said. "What we are saying for the rest of the IBC is that there aren't going to be any standards?"

Planning Commissioner David Sparks said the inclusion of cutting-edge, environmentally friendly design necessitated the deviation from previous city standards.

"It very well may be that this flexible build will be the wave of the future," Sparks said. "The configuration is a factor here, and some of our setback guidelines may become antiquities."

When the project was discussed by the City Council last month, Councilman Larry Agran said there would never be a widening of Jamboree, since the goal of the Irvine Business Complex is to focus on pedestrian, bike and mass-transit systems such as the free i Shuttle service.

Hines officials said the office project will be built in two phases. The first includes a little less than 300,000 square feet of office space in two or three buildings and an unspecified portion of the 15,500 feet of retail and restaurant space. The second phase would include 495,000 square feet of office space in three or four buildings, along with the remainder of the retail and restaurant space.


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Financial Update by Maurice

Rates are almost the same from last week, with a small increase to some of the zero point loan structures on the FNMA side. The 10 Year Treasury bond, which determines mortgage rates, has been on quite a bumpy road. The yield in the beginning of January was at 3.43% dropping mid-month to 3.28% and settling at 3.54% at end of business today.

Tomorrow we have a significant report in jobs market. If the numbers are stronger, you will see a quick jump in rates. If the numbers are disappointing, the bond market will soften and rates will hold. On CNBC today Bill Gross of PIMCO, the largest bond company in the US, stated that he sees rates staying steady through 2011. He is probably one of the smartest bond traders in the world, but, I must say he is in the minority. Have you ever been in a big crowd that started moving? If so, you know that once the crowd starts moving,everyone goes with it. If the sentiment on Wall Street does not agree with him, you will certainly see in increase in rates.

On the world view, Egypt has caused great concern to the market place as investors fear that the turmoil can cause a quick rise in oil prices which could lead bond prices to fall.

All of this means put your seat belt on and hold on for the bumpy ride!!

On a disappointing note, our Foreign National program has recently changed where their minimum loan amount is $300,000. The program has a minimum 50% equity required which means the value or sales price must be a minimum of $600,000. But, the good news is we can still loan to Canadians, just at a larger minimum loan amount.

Remember, Muhammed Ali said “Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”


Based in Orange County, California, The Sousse Group is ranked number one in total sales in Irvine, California, 92612 over the past four years with more than $91 million in sales in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 alone and 260 completed transactions. The Sousse Group has earned recognition amongst the top 50 agents in Orange County, California.
Kerry and Maurice Sousse
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The Sousse Group
H?M Real Estate Group
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Newport Beach, CA 92660
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