ORANGE COUNTY, CA–Steven A. McHolm and Daniel K. Winton have joined the Irvine office of Snell & Wilmer as partners in the Commercial Finance and Real Estate Group. Both were previously partners with Paone, Callahan, McHolm & Winton.

McHolm is a 25-year veteran of the commercial real estate law. His practice involves acquisitions and sales; industrial, commercial and retail leasing; large-scale, build-to-suit transactions; matters related to construction, real property development and finance; and formation of limited-liability companies.

Discussing trends in the county’s commercial real estate market, McHolm says, “I would say it’s more R&D, flex-tech; that kind of product is certainly hotter and certainly growing more [in Orange County]. We have had a few office buildings built in past few years, and they’ve filled up well. But the real kind of backbone of the industry is the kind of product you see in the Irvine Spectrum and the Pacific Commerce Center,” he adds. “In one deal, the client’s biggest concern was the ability to expand. It is the one thing tenants want to be sure of, if they make a large investment in a facility or a campus-like facility…if they need more space they can find it.”

Winton has been handling complex real estate matters for 27 years,representing primarily developers. He contends that when people are secure in their jobs, quality-of-life issues become their primary focus. And that, he said, is the real driving force behind the agenda people have regarding the El Toro airport controversy, the Greenlight Initiative, and other controversial issues in Orange County that affect development.

“The problem we have as companies look to locate or expand in Orange County is a lack of affordable housing,” Winton says. “If a company is looking to relocate here there is sticker shock over housing. Also the entitlement process and regulatory environment has become much more complex and lengthy. With things like the Greenlight Initiative in Newport Beach on the ballot, it’s becoming more difficult.”