REAL ESTATE : Segerstroms and IBM Hire 2nd Brokerage to Market Building

Compiled by Michael Flagg Times staff writer

The Segerstrom family and International Business Machines Corp. have hired a second brokerage to market their new 21-story office building near Costa Mesa's South Coast Plaza mall.

The developer and the computer company retained Coldwell Banker commercial real estate brokerage, the brokerage said recently.

Coldwell's brokers will try to sign up tenants for the 458,000-square-foot building, which is scheduled to open in November.

Coldwell replaces Security Pacific Frost Trinen Inc., a smaller Costa Mesa brokerage that often works for Segerstrom and had been marketing the building.

The building is a joint venture between Segerstrom family members and IBM, which will lease 165,000 square feet.

Orange County's glut of office space, particularly around John Wayne Airport, has meant lower office rents for most owners of newer buildings. But most landlords could count on signing up enough tenants to fill their buildings if they lowered the rents enough.

Now, however, the stream of tenants shows signs of drying up at least through the recession, according to several recent market surveys. Companies are less likely to move or expand in times of economic uncertainty.

That could mean that Coldwell, one of the county's largest brokerages, will face a tough time pre-leasing even such a prestigious building as this one, which was designed by renowned architect Cesar Pelli.

Coldwell said in a press release that interest in the building among potential tenants is "very strong," but as yet no large tenant has been announced besides IBM.

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