Why OC Condos Are Growing In Popularity

Why OC Condos Are Growing In Popularity

By Carrie Rosenfeld for GlobeSt.com.

Irvine, CA — A limited supply of condos in the market driving demand and a shift toward the urban, walkable lifestyle that embraces the convenience of nearby office and retail amenities are helping drive the condo market, MVE’s Matt McLarand tells GlobeSt.com EXCLUSIVELY.

A limited supply of condos in the Orange County market driving demand and a shift toward the urban, walkable lifestyle that embraces the convenience of nearby office and retail amenities are helping drive the condo market, MVE + Partners principal Matt McLarand tells GlobeSt.com. The firm is designing the recently approved Blue Bay, a seven-story, 120-unit, luxury condo project in the Irvine Business Complex here that will be developed by Natura City.

Blue Bay will feature contemporary architecture that aims to bring an elevated urban character to the IBC. It’s innovative load-bearing metal structure will allow for more glass and transparency, resulting in a sleek design and expansive mountain views. The development features an elevated amenity and pool deck, along with a townhome street frontage. Located near the Diamond Jamboree shopping center in IBC—an area that used to be a traditional suburban industrial park with only office, industrial and commercial buildings—Blue Bay will feature units ranging from 842-square-foot one-bedrooms to 2,260-square-foot four-bedrooms. Construction is set to start at the end of 2017, with completion slated for the end of 2019.

We spoke exclusively with McLarand about the Orange County condo market and why this particular project is especially noteworthy.

GlobeSt.com: Why does the OC condo market seem to get more exposure right now?

McLarand: There is an interesting phenomenon occurring right now. First, there is a limited supply of condos in the Orange County marketplace that is driving demand for more product. Additionally, there is a shift in living preferences toward a more urban, walkable lifestyle that embraces the convenience of nearby office and retail amenities. We are seeing this shift in preference across multiple generations, from Millennials to Baby Boomers. Whether they are downsizing or looking for their first place, people are seeking smaller living spaces with amplified amenities, close to retail and services.

An example of this is the rapid response to the completion of the Meridian in Newport Center. Built for the empty-nester or downsizing Baby Boomer, Meridian sold out within 60 days of completion. Buyers were drawn to the lock-and-leave concept where everything on the property is taken care of in the amenity-rich area of Newport Center and Fashion Island. We anticipate this to continue as our style of living evolves, especially as the idea and convenience of a low-maintenance lifestyle continues to gain traction.

GlobeSt: What about this project is especially noteworthy?

McLarand: Blue Bay is unlike any building system being explored in California right now. The building features a distinct urban character highlighted by extensive glass and windows, which is achieved by a structural design consisting of a load-bearing metal framing system with internally located shear walls. Typically, such glass-window wall applications are reserved for concrete construction commonly found on residential high-rises. By utilizing steel, we have created an eco-friendly design that preserves high-quality construction and materials. In turn, we are able to create setbacks throughout the design that give the building a unique character and allow for more rooftop decks.

Additionally, Blue Bay is strategically designed in response to the commercial context immediately adjacent to the development. To maximize the livability of the community, the plan incorporates a variety of townhome and terraced penthouse units situated along the urban edge of McGaw St. and oriented toward the mountain views to the northeast. The remaining units are oriented internally to face courtyards, minimizing the impact of noise and views of the surrounding commercial buildings.

GlobeSt: How will this project affect architecture in the Irvine market? And as a firm, what kind of commitment of resources have you made to this initiative?

McLarand: We are excited about the potential of this structural approach to be embraced within the residential building industry, particularly in Orange County. Blue Bay is a unique project that provides an elevated building quality. This approach to constructing buildings presents an opportunity to fill a gap in the market of residential projects that could go as high as 14 stories without encumbering the often-restrictive costs of a conventional concrete structure.

We have committed to an ongoing exploration of building systems to maximize cost effectiveness while delivering top-quality designs. This is part of what our R&D team explores on a regular basis. Ideally, this project will encourage the use of high-quality construction and materials that in turn will improve the function and visual appeal of residential buildings within the area.