Newport Beach building to get a trendier makeover


One of the real estate developers behind the revitalization of 17th Street in Costa Mesa is looking to redefine a somewhat nondescript office building in Newport Beach to bring it in line with its trendy surroundings.

Burnham-Ward Properties, a Newport Beach-based commercial real estate development firm, bought the property at 1617 Westcliff Drive in 2013 for about $9.4 million, according to property records.

The two-story building, called Castaway Commons, is near the boundary of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. East 17th Street in Costa Mesa turns into Newport’s Westcliff Drive at the intersection of Irvine Avenue.


The transformation of 17th Street into a fashionable corridor began about a decade ago and has exploded in recent years, said Bryon Ward, a partner in Burnham-Ward Properties.

“Properties along 17th Street don’t trade hands very often, but when they do, we always take notice,” he said. “We love that it’s being updated because it gives us an opportunity to bring new and exciting concepts to the area.”

The street, once home mostly to chain restaurants and national brands, has become a milelong stretch of unique shops boasting healthful, trendy, local concepts that attract families and young people from around Orange County.

Ward hopes to carry the vibe down the road to Westcliff Drive.

The 34,500-square-foot Castaway Commons currently has several high-end medical and dental tenants, including cosmetic surgeon Terry Dubrow, whose wife is a cast member on the reality TV show “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”

The building also has housed several restaurants, including The Arches and most recently Tap Shack, which for two years has been involved in litigation with the developer, alleging wrongful eviction and breach of contract, according to court records.

Under Burnham-Ward’s plan, the facade will be updated to reflect a more modern style with cedar window moldings and a contemporary curtain wall system with vertical and horizontal fins that act as sunshades. The renovation is underway, with completion scheduled for July.

The medical tenants on the first floor will be moved to expanded suites on the second floor, Ward said.

Though the building’s occupants will consist primarily of business and medical offices, the first floor will be a mix of shops such as a high-end salon with hair and skin care services, a yoga studio and an artisanal coffee house and juice bar.

It also will have a restaurant concept that Ward said has proved popular in Los Angeles. He declined to give the restaurant’s name but said “it’s a vibrant and hip concept that is very popular with Orange County residents that currently go up to Los Angeles.”

The overall wellness theme has worked well for Burnham-Ward in other developments such as the South Coast Collection along the 405 Freeway in Costa Mesa and at spots along 17th Street, including Plaza Sereno, which houses Greenleaf Gourmet ChopShop, Ward said.

“As a company, we are committed to elevating and expanding the customer experience at our properties,” Ward said. “Our success at SOCO and The OC Mix is a powerful demonstration of our ability to deliver on this promise, and Castaway Commons will build upon that success, bringing new, unique and sought-after offerings to a premier market.”