Author Archives: zovall

Mendocino and Saragota in Stonegate and the Irvine Development Map (Winter 2012)

The members at Talk Irvine have found a few bits of interesting info while scouring the city records.

The Motor Court Company came across two new developments proposed in Stonegate: Mendocino and Saratoga.

And ps9 found the Irvine Development Map for Winter 2012 (PDF) which shows proposed and recently approved developments.

Follow the links to discuss on the TI threads or discuss below. If you've found something interesting in the city records, let us know!

Lambert Ranch – Private Preview

Lambert Ranch is a new development that is being built by The New Home Company. It is located/surrounded by Portola Springs and here is a rough idea of the location (click for a bigger image):

The grand opening is on April 28th, 2012 but they had a private preview event this past weekend. There are a few members in the TI forums who visited and had some feedback:

From kalbi:

Just got back. Checked out The Grove (starting at $1.2 M). Lots are small. Approx 6000 sq ft with about 4300 sq ft in living space. Yard is practically nonexistent. The tour guide was focusing on the “courtyard” as the yard. Love the downstairs for the most part, love the kitchen island in all floor plans and the great room. Also like the casita (Plan 3 has a HUGE separate casita). Upstairs left much to be desired. All secondary bedrooms are rather small. Master bedroom itself is also rather small, bathrooms are decent size.

Also, you can see the 241 from the models as well as the landfill.

The Hills start at the low mil. Bedrooms are a tad bigger than The Grove bedrooms but again, rather small.

Overall impression, decent floor plans but would not buy there because of the price and location.

They have one rec room for the association called the “ranch house” with pool and ping pong table. No tennis courts. I guess ping pong for the asians? 😉

From Arman:

Having looked at 100+ model homes over the past several years in Southern California, these are some of the most impressive I've seen. The Hill was nice, but the Grove was quite unique. What's great about these model homes is that every floorplan is different from every other floorplan in the community, unlike Laguna Altura, for example, which are variations on each other, and were exactly the same as floorplans used in other Irvine Pacific developments. As a group, the homes in Lambert Ranch are quite large as well, something else that is unique in today's economy. Will these sell? Who knows. But, if someone's looking for something new and something of this size in Irvine, it's about the only option available. With Orchard Hills MIA for the foreseeable future (and certainly not opening in 2013 as was advertised on the Irvine Company website a couple years ago), I don't know what else may be in the pipeline that may offer something of similar size or quality in the central OC area.

Any thoughts from anyone else who visited?

Discuss below or on the active TI thread.

New Home Demand in OC Driven by Asian Buyers

A reader sent in this interesting article at Bloomberg:

Asian Buyers Buoy New-Home Demand in California’s Orange

By Nadja Brandt – Mar 13, 2012

Connie Wang paid about $960,000 last June for a new four-bedroom, four-bath house in a sprawling swath of Southern California that’s home to Disneyland and Pimco. Now she may buy a second as an investment.

“You know why Orange County is doing better?” said Wang, a native of Taiwan who splits her time between Shenzhen in southern China, where she oversees a toy-manufacturing business, and Irvine, California, where she raised her three children. “It’s because all my neighbors are from China and Taiwan, and they all bought their homes in cash.”


To accommodate the increase in demand from Asian buyers, closely held New Home is building dedicated wok kitchens at some homes at another of its developments, Lambert Ranch, in Irvine. The small room is adjacent to the standard kitchen, and has a stove and high-powered vent. Most of the properties also have separate living quarters for extended family, according to Marcus-Colvin.

“After our last focus group, we really wanted to accommodate these changing demands,” she said. “A lot of our Asian buyers have asked for these features and the feedback from those we’ve shown the new properties to has been, ‘You really listened to us.’”


Standard Pacific Corp. (SPF), based in Irvine, has begun to cater to culturally specific preferences, including building wok kitchens and incorporating feng shui and numerology rules, such as leaving out unlucky numbers from street addresses, according to Ted McKibbin, president of the builder’s Southern California coastal division.

Under the Chinese system of feng shui, buildings are oriented in a favorable manner, often determined by the location of bodies of water, stars or compass directions.

Feng Shui

“Good feng shui falls under good design principals, the way a cook top and sink are lined up with each other,” McKibbin said. “But with some buyers there’s more focus on that. That’s when things like numerology come into place, which can place challenges in regards to addressing a home and avoiding certain numbers. We do pay attention to that.”

Definitely read the full article at Bloomberg.

I don't think prices are 15-20% above their post peak low of Jan 2009 as the article states. This topic has been discussed plenty on the blog and Talk Irvine. Any thoughts on the article and/or topic? Discuss below or at Talk Irvine.

OC Billionaires

Jon Lansner at the Register went through the Forbes list and identified the 9 OC billionaires on it:

Irvine Co. boss Donald Bren was one of nine Orange County-bred fortunes — three from the property game — that made the Forbes magazine list of the world's billionaires.

At No. 69, the real estate holdings of Bren, 79, were valued by Forbes at $12 billion.

Click through the slideshow to see the others!

Forbes began the authoritative pursuit of the world's billionaires 25 years ago. Our first cut yielded 140 names. This year we've counted an all-time high 1,226 billionaires worth a record $4.6 trillion.

See this post in its original form, and read more on Lansner on Real Estate.

From the full list at Forbes, it looks like there are two others who have a real estate fortune greater than Bren's: the Kwok family in Hong Kong with $18.3 billion (#27) and the Otto family, retail and real estate, in Germany with $17.6 billion (#34).

The Forbes profile on Donald Bren says:

The Irvine Co. portfolio includes 480 office properties. The company also owns 125 apartment communities with 44,000 units, 41 shopping centers, three hotels, three golf clubs and five marinas.

How much are those properties valued at and how much debt is on them?