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TUSTIN, CA-Shea Properties of Aliso Viejo expects to begin construction within the next six months on the first 340,000 sf of office space at the Tustin Legacy project, a redevelopment of the former Marine Corps Air Station here. Shea recently closed escrow on the first 300 acres of land that will become phase one of Legacy Park in Tustin, an 820-acre mixed-use community located between Red Hill Avenue, Edinger, Jamboree and Barranca that broke ground last October.

Legacy Park will feature a variety of business and commercial districts, residential neighborhoods, retail services, hotels, restaurants schools and 275 acres of parks and open space. The project is being developed by Tustin Legacy Community Partners LLC, whose sole members are Shea Properties, as the manager of the project, and Shea Homes Limited Partnership, in collaboration with the City of Tustin. Home builder Centex was once part of the project but has pulled out.

The initial 340,000-sf commercial development that Shea expects to begin over the next six months will be an office and R&D campus of two- and three-story buildings along Red Hill and Warner avenues. In the third quarter of 2009, build-to-suit corporate and campus headquarters space will become available.

Shea’s plan calls for rounding out phase one of the project with a pedestrian-oriented mixed-use district combining commercial and residential development. That portion of the project is slated to open in 2010.

Steve Center, SVP of leasing for Shea Properties, comments that the plan to begin construction of the 340,000 sf of office and R&D space “is a clear declaration of Shea Properties’ bullish position regarding Orange County’s office market.” He notes that the office portion of the development will be part of a project that will include hotels, restaurants, shops, a health club and housing, all designed in an outdoor-oriented plan to take advantage of the Southern California climate.

Center notes that the site is entitled for more than six million sf of office space and has “already attracted the interest of numerous high-profile corporate tenants.” The site is close to virtually all of the major freeways and arterial routes traversing Orange County as well as the Tustin Metrolink Station and the John Wayne Airport.

The Shea project and other land that formerly was the Marine Corps Air Station Tustin is being transformed into a 1,600-acre development that will include 4,600 homes; 10 million sf of nonresidential space including major office, retail, entertainment, business park, educational and community support facilities. More than 275 acres will be dedicated to parkland and recreational open spaces.

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