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Orange County Museum of Art takes steps toward its planned move from Newport to Costa Mesa

Orange County Museum of Art takes steps toward its planned move from Newport to Costa Mesa
The Orange County Museum of Art, shown during an exhibit in 2016, plans to unveil a design May 31 for its planned new site at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. OCMA currently is in Newport Center in Newport Beach. (File Photo)

The Orange County Museum of Art appears closer to making its long-planned transition from Newport Beach to Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

The museum says it will unveil the design for its new home May 31, though it’s unclear exactly when it plans to move out of its current site at 850 San Clemente Drive in Newport Center and into the Costa Mesa arts and entertainment complex.

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Recent public records show the museum’s sale of the Newport property has been finalized.

A grant deed filed this month with the Orange County clerk-recorder’s office shows OCMA granted title for the property to Vivante Newport Center LLC, a subsidiary of Nexus Development Corp., a real estate developer with offices in Santa Ana and Phoenix.

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With the sale in sight earlier this year, the city of Newport Beach settled two lawsuits involving the museum and local activists who opposed OCMA’s plan in 2016 to sell the land to Related California, which proposed a high-rise condominium project known as Museum House. OCMA had planned to use the proceeds from that sale to fund its move to Segerstrom. Instead, the City Council revoked its development approval for the 100-unit, 25-story Museum House tower in February 2017 when faced with enough petition signatures from opponents to force a referendum.

In a lawsuit settlement agreement, OCMA revealed its intention to sell the museum property and an adjoining parcel to Nexus, contingent on the sale closing by the end of June. It did not state the tentative sale price or what might be built there.

Museum and Nexus representatives did not return messages this week seeking comment.

Seimone Jurjis, community development director for Newport Beach, said the city has not received an application for a proposed project on the site.

Nexus’ portfolio includes office, retail, industrial, hotel, residential and senior living facilities, according to its website. Vivante is the name of the company’s assisted-living facility in Costa Mesa.

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