Plans for 'creative office space' at former L.A. Times site head to Costa Mesa Planning Commission

A vision to reshape the former Los Angeles Times newsroom and printing plant in Costa Mesa into a creative campus with hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space will go before the city Planning Commission on Monday.

Commissioners will review a preliminary master plan to develop 655,000 square feet of office space on 23.4 acres east of Harbor Boulevard and west of Susan Street, between South Coast Drive and Sunflower Avenue.

Currently, the site is occupied by the former Times facility, offices, a helipad and a baseball field.

The preliminary master plan calls for the property to be developed in three phases. The first, dubbed The Press, would redevelop and repurpose the Times building to create 339,063 square feet of office space.

With building heights reaching 56.5 feet, The Press would feature voluminous interior space and a series of tiered mezzanine levels to provide flexible use.

Renderings show the inside of the building decked out with images of printing presses — a nod to the property’s history.

Also planned is development of a roughly 3-acre outdoor space with covered patios and amenities such as an amphitheater, a bike path and sports courts.

“Ultimately, it’s going to provide creative office space with great outdoor amenities, which is what today’s tenants are looking for,” Hoonie Kang, a partner with Kearny Real Estate Co., said in an interview Thursday.

Kearny is working on the project with Tribune Real Estate Holdings, a subsidiary of former Times owner Tribune Media. Kearny and Tribune Media own the plant and property.

Tribune Media spun off its newspaper holdings — including the Daily Pilot — into a separate company called Tribune Publishing in 2014. Staff of the Times and Daily Pilot moved out of the Costa Mesa property in October that year. Last year, Tribune Publishing rebranded itself as tronc.

The Press would take up about 14 acres of the overall site, according to Kang. Plans for the remainder haven’t been finalized, he said, though the preliminary master plan contemplates building two new five-story office buildings with accompanying four-level parking structures.

Future projects also could include “retail, hotel, things like that,” Kang said.

New microbrewery proposed

Also on Monday, commissioners will review a proposal to open a Bootlegger’s Brewery next to The Lab commercial center.

Plans call for Bootlegger’s to occupy 2,703 square feet of existing building space at 696 Randolph Ave., about a quarter-mile from two other microbreweries on Randolph — Barley Forge Brewing Co. and Gunwhale Ales.

Along with room for the industrial side of the operation — brewing, storage and office space — the proposed Bootlegger’s would include a 745-square-foot tasting room for visitors.

A 295-square-foot outdoor patio also is proposed.

Proposed hours of operation are 10 a.m. to midnight Sundays through Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.

As part of the proposal, the existing driveway that provides public vehicle access to the property from Randolph would be closed off and instead used as a pedestrian paseo.

Vehicles would access the site through The Lab, which is immediately to the north. About 30 feet of fencing would be removed to enable pedestrians and cars to move between the two properties.

If approved, the microbrewery would be the third Bootlegger’s location, joining sites in Fullerton and Redlands.

Monday’s Planning Commission meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

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