Irvine Company Creating a ‘Versatile Workplace Community’

LA JOLLA, CA—More and more in commercial real estate, we hear terms like lifestyle, community, wellness, collaboration, flexibility and culture. These don’t refer to just one property sector, but to all of them: office, industrial, multifamily, retail, hospitality, etc. The amount of crossover among the different types of buildings and open spaces in which we spend our time is increasing, and nowhere is this more obvious than in recent developments like One La Jolla CenterIrvine Co.’s latest product in the three-building block of office properties it owns at La Jolla Center in UTC. recently took a walkthrough of the site. The 15-story building at 4665 Executive Dr., comprising 306,000 square feet, offers a variety of modern amenities including a state-of-the-art fitness center with classes; a technologically equipped conference center with training room, boardroom and lounge; and a soon-to-be-opened restaurant, Bistro 24, which will offer healthy gourmet options craft coffee creations served either in a private dining room or al fresco. Other conveniences include a full-service auto-detailing center, covered and outdoor WiFi-enabled outdoor workspaces and a lobby ambassador.

Directly in front of the building, the outdoor commons area, which was not even fully completed when we visited, is visually striking when you first see it from the top of the outdoor parking area. Thoughtfully landscaped, the area will include both covered and uncovered comfortable seating areas. If that doesn’t impress you, the large electronic media wall that faces you when you enter the building should. Picture looking at a giant smartphone screen or tablet, complete with all the information you need to know for your visit to the building.

Doug Holte, president of Irvine Co. Office Properties, tells us, “One La Jolla Center offers the most contemporary and versatile business lifestyle in San Diego. Education, residences, retail and hospitality are all within walking and/or biking distance to this center.”

The firm, which owns 8 million square feet of space in San Diego—half of which is in the UTC submarket—began buying here 10 years ago, Holte says. “This is the culmination of our journey at UTC: a modern, well-planned commercial center. We’ve spent more than $5 million in remodeling the ground floors of our office buildings in UTC.”

In addition, the company is in its fifth year of supporting EvoNexus, an incubator for start-up businesses, with expansion into Orange County. To date, Irvine Co. has supported EvoNexus’ campuses in Downtown and UTC with donated office space—approximately 50,000 square feet have been leased in the firm’s buildings from EvoNexus graduates. “It’s a great canvas for shepherding companies through the entire lifecycle of their business,” says Holte.

Holte adds that the diversity of demand in San Diego, between UCSD, the Navy and Qualcomm, is what makes it so appealing for his firm, and this diversity is what the company tries to reflect in its properties. “We’re trying to create versatile workplace communities. The physical amenities will vary, from a building like this one to a low-rise at nearby Eastgate, which offers more informal workplace options. It’s a physical expression of San Diego values, highlighting usable outdoor spaces like a place to store your surfboard, but also embracing San Diego’s combination of informality with tech savviness. The product is about the companies we serve, creating a sense of community, convenience and choice of layout.”

An example of that choice of layout is the range of floorplate sizes from which tenants at One La Jolla Center can choose, from 10 2,000-to-3,000-square-foot, “Ready Now” suites—that include fancy kitchenettes and ample daylighting in the open-area spaces (with closed offices placed in the suite’s interior, away from the floor-to-ceiling windows)—to large rectangular floorplates with column-free interior spaces that encompass up to 22,800 square feet, approximately.

The large media wall in the lobby is an immediate indication of the technological capabilities within the building.

Liza Strom, senior leasing director, and Lauren Kelly, SVP and chief marketing officer of Irvine Company Office Properties, tell that flexibility, scale and longevity are extremely important to the company. “The ability to learn from the customer and find out what the talent is looking for and to deliver that is important,” says Kelly.

The commons area in front of the building is another example of flexibility, Holte says, a place where teams come together for happy hour or meetings that borrows from hospitality. “The workforce is looking to capture time. There’s no separation between work and life for Millennials—the workplace is an extension of their lifestyle.”

Workplace wellness is another key issue for the firm, which is why it offers a complete fitness center with access from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. and even on weekends. Strom says the firm has entered a partnership with Scripps to promote wellness in the building.

Sustainability is also important; the firm is targeting LEED certification for One La Jolla Center, introducing a dual-plumbing system that will enable it to use recycled water in the restrooms and air-conditioning cooling towers. The system will reduce the cost of water by 80% as compared to using potable water. In addition, the building includes various energy-saving features such as special exterior glass panels that cut heat coming from sunshine and could lead to a 35% savings in air conditioning costs over standard glass. The various conservation measures in the building could reduce the building’s utility costs by 10% annually.

Three major tenants are in place for the newly opened building, including Neustar Inc., which has signed a full-floor lease to occupy approximately 23,000 square feet; Webroot, an intelligent-cybersecurity firm, which will also occupy a full floor of 23,000 square feet; and BioMed Realty has signed a lease for 5,000 square feet.