At 323 feet, Irvine's newest office tower is also Orange County's tallest

Illuminated by the sunlight streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows on the top floor of Irvine's newest — and tallest — office tower, Doug Holte stopped last week to reflect.

Standing 323 feet tall, 200 Spectrum Center eclipses the recently completed 315-foot office building at 520 Newport Center Drive in Newport Beach as Orange County's tallest.

"We wanted to create a vibrant workplace community that helps business flourish," said Holte, president of Irvine Co.'s office properties.

But the building's height isn't its only claim to fame.

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In the weeks and months before its grand opening Thursday, the building became one of Irvine's most photographed structures, with 75 pictures of the tower — its sleek steel-and-jewel-box exterior reflecting the bustling Irvine Spectrum area below — appearing on Instagram.

The Orange County high-rise boom reflects a larger trend. Tall buildings are under construction or proposed in Century City, Hollywood, downtown L.A. and Koreatown. What will be the tallest building on the West Coast — at 73 stories — is rising off the 110 Freeway.

The Irvine building also is one of the last pieces of architecture planned for the Spectrum area.

Irvine Co. declined to disclose the cost of the new tower, designed by architect Pei Cobb Freed, who also designed the US Bank tower in Los Angeles and the Goldman Sachs skyscraper in New York City. The 426,000-square-foot building features 360-degree views, an outdoor patio area and a fitness center.

The tower is 43% leased, with Mazda North American Operations, shared-workspace group WeWork and gaming communications company Curse Inc. among the main tenants. Mazda's name will adorn the top of the building.

The first tenants will begin moving in around April.

Next on the horizon for the area is 400 Spectrum Center, a replica of 200 Spectrum Center in height and design. Crews have broken ground on the next tower, which is expected to be completed in fall 2017.

Meanwhile, adjacent to the 200 tower, Marriott is expanding its hotel. On the other side, Broadcom is building a new campus.

The Irvine Spectrum was first imagined in the late 1980s as a sprawling center for retail, restaurants and business parks.

A controversial proposal to convert the nearby former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station into an airport was still up for consideration, meaning residential development wasn't part of the Spectrum plan.

The airport idea's demise was a game-changer for Irvine Co. The developer's vision of an area where people could work, live, eat and seek entertainment grew from there, as it eventually built 5,000 apartments at the Spectrum, Holte said.

Irvine Co. drew inspiration for the Spectrum from business giants such as Google and Facebook, which built lavish campuses in fairly empty areas in an attempt to attract top talent.

Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Schott said she's pleased to see the Spectrum continue to blossom with the addition of the shining glass tower.

"This area really creates a different quality of life for Irvine," she said. "This is going to be a great place to be."

Fry writes for Times Community News.


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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on February 29, 2016, in the News section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "They took a high-rise to new heights - At 323 feet, Irvine's newest office tower is also Orange County's tallest. - SURROUNDINGS" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe