Market hall at the Press development in Costa Mesa gets planners’ go-ahead for construction

A rendering shows a portion of the Press, a planned redevelopment of the former Los Angeles Times newsroom and printing plant in Costa Mesa.
(Courtesy of SteelWave)

Picture the Anaheim Packing District — in Costa Mesa.

That vision came a step closer to reality Monday night, when the Costa Mesa Planning Commission gave approval for construction of a market hall and park at the Press, a redevelopment of the former Los Angeles Times building at 1375 Sunflower Ave.

The Press is expected to transform the former newsroom and printing plant into an approximately 23-acre modern campus with creative office space and the expansive market hall and adjacent park.

Developers announced plans four years ago to transform the site into creative office space, and current developers added plans for the market hall and park. Construction began on the office space last year.

With the Planning Commission’s 6-0 vote Monday, with Chairman Byron de Arakal absent, construction can begin on Phase 2 — the market hall and park — immediately, said Seth Hiromura, managing director of SteelWave, a real estate management, operating and investment firm that is heading the venture with Invesco Real Estate.

The $200-million-plus project includes more than 340,000 square feet of anticipated creative office space. It also features about 51,000 square feet for retail and food uses that will be developed in collaboration with Costa Mesa-based Lab Holding LLC, the firm behind projects such as the Camp and the Lab commercial centers on Bristol Street and the Anaheim Packing District, a food hall and marketplace.

Shaheen Sadeghi, owner of Lab Holding, envisions at least 40 tenants filling spaces in the Press market hall, offering food, microbreweries, nightclubs and bars.

The park, measuring just over an acre, is expected to include two restaurants, plenty of open space and several installations of public art.

The Planning Commission’s vote also approved plans for a bike path through the property.

“I’m really excited about this project,” Sadeghi said. “It’s probably the coolest thing that I’m aware that’s going to happen in Costa Mesa.”

Sadeghi has two developments on the horizon: the Press and the Plant, a commercial-residential project expected to bring 62 new housing units to Costa Mesa’s Sobeca District.

In addition to the Press’ array of food and beverage options — including 29 licensed to sell alcohol — it is expected to be home to several community events, such as farmers markets, yoga classes and live entertainment.

The Press will have 1,414 parking spaces, 13 more than city code requires. Hours for the market hall as a whole will be 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Developers emphasized that the project is designed for seamless flow from office space to market hall and park.

“It becomes that continuous experience,” Hiromura said. “There’s work. There’s entertainment afterward. There’s coffee in the morning.”

The Planning Commission’s decision is final unless appealed within a week.

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