ORANGE COUNTY, CA-Between development and leasing activity alone, the Orange County market has been abuzz the past few days with the announcement of $420 million in deals.

On the development side, Shea Properties announced Tuesday a spring 2001 groundbreaking on the first phase of what will ultimately be a 40-acre, 1.5 million-sf mixed-use project in Aliso Viejo called Vantis. Valued at $350 million when completed, Vantis will be a campus-style complex consisting of nine, three- to eight-story buildings, which will be connected to each other and the Aliso Viejo Town Center retail area through a system of pedestrian walkways.

Featuring a futuristic design and high-tech services, including broadband telecommunications, the first phase of the project is expected to be completed in spring 2002. Synder Langston of Irvine is the contractor for the project.

“We figure completion of the build-out will take five to seven years,” says Tim Joyce, SVP in the Irvine office of Colliers Seeley, the exclusive agent for Shea Properties. “This is one of the last remaining parcels of this nature in south Orange County that would have the entitlements to build 1.5 million sf. We look at Aliso Viejo as a hub. We think it is one of the stronger hubs companies can look at to relocate their companies. Prior to completion of the first phase, we anticipate being 50% pre-leased.”

Preparing for cityhood next year, Aliso Viejo has become a popular site for corporate relocations in the past year, with companies such as Fluor Corp., Equity Residential Properties, MindArrow Systems, Freerealtime, Outbound Services and moving into the community.

Thursday Insignia/ESG announced a 15-year office lease, valued at $70 million–one of the largest in Orange County this year. Global Center, a provider of web-hosting and infrastructure solutions, is leasing 232,000 sf at 18311 Jamboree Rd. in Irvine. Both parties were represented by Insignia in the transaction.

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