Conexant to sell 2 buildings

June Casagrande

NEWPORT BEACH -- Two of Conexant Systems' buildings near John Wayne

Airport are up for sale, a company representative confirmed this week.

But observers have mixed reactions about what the sale could mean to

Newport Beach residents.

The two buildings, at 4340 and 4350 Von Karman Ave., are part of the

chip maker's diminishing operations in Newport Beach. Until recently, the

site seemed a likely Greenlight battleground as the company considered

plans to add more than 600,000 feet to its facilities. But a looming

Greenlight vote and a years-long nose dive by the technology sector have

sent the company packing.

"We've known for quite a while that Conexant probably won't expand

there," said Allan Beek, an environmental activist. "I don't think this

is too significant."

But others worry about the longer-term meaning of any sale of the

manufacturer's property.

"Any new owner might want to redo the project," said Mayor Tod

Ridgeway, who is also a developer.

The site was designed as a manufacturing facility. But it's likely

that, in a national economic climate that continues to see manufacturing

jobs move overseas, any new owner would want to use the site commercially

instead of as an industrial property. That could mean renovations big

enough to require a general plan amendment.

"If the buildings are obsolete, that puts us right back to square

one," Ridgeway said, "right back to another general plan amendment."

Lisa Briggs, a spokeswoman for Conexant, said the company would not

disclose the names of any interested buyers until the transaction was

complete. She did not disclose the company's asking price for the two

buildings.

* June Casagrande covers Newport Beach. She may be reached at (949)

574-4232 or by e-mail at o7 june.casagrande@latimes.comf7 .

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