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
"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
* June Casagrande covers Newport Beach. She may be reached at (949)
574-4232 or by e-mail at o7 firstname.lastname@example.org .