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IRVINE, CA-BNC Mortgage Inc. signed a six-year, $10 million lease for 63,000 sf of office space at 1901 Main St. in the Koll Center Phase II project at the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Main Street.

The deal is the largest class A high-rise lease within Orange County’s Airport market this year, according to brokers from Julien J. Studley Inc. who represented the mortgage company. The Studley team included Michael Props, Royce Sharf and Shane Wilder, while John Weiner of CB Richard Ellis represented landlord Main & Mac II in the negotiations.

BNC will occupy nearly 40% of the 171,451-sf building and will be its largest tenant, according to Props, who tells GlobeSt.com that BNC will be moving from 55,000 sf elsewhere in Irvine. The company originates, buys and sells home mortgage loans.

Props says the lease continues a trend of the past year, in which mortgage companies have represented a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster leasing environment for Orange County office space. Squeezed for room to expand because of the land office business they’re doing in light of low interest rates, the mortgage firms have been gobbling office space throughout the region.

With the signing of the lease, Props tells GlobeSt.com, the building, which was developed by Koll Development Co., is now 94% leased. The office building was completed in September 2001 and includes among its tenants AON, GE, Alliance Bank and Smith Barney.

The airport area where BNC is moving is the office market surrounding the John Wayne Airport. That market has been holding its own this year, according to the latest report from Studley, which says class A rates in the airport area did not change from the previous quarter, while South Orange County class dropped from $24.97 to $24.57 per sf per year and overall rental rates fell 30 cents per sf per year.

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