400 Spectrum Center opens, becoming O.C.’s tallest office building


Hovering tall over the Irvine Spectrum retail and business area, near the convergence of the I-5 and the I-405 freeways, stands Irvine’s newest office building, 400 Spectrum Center. Built by the Irvine Co. in only 19 months, the shimmering blue and gray structure had its grand opening on Wednesday.

The 323-foot high, 21-story edifice, gleaming with floor-to-ceiling Viracon glass and wrapped in linen-finish stainless steel, is now Orange County’s tallest office building. Its sister structure, 200 Spectrum Center, which opened in February 2016, is just a few inches shorter.

Designed by New York-based firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, the office tower at 400 Spectrum Center Drive is 44% leased, according to Steve Case, executive vice president at Irvine Co. Office Properties. Cybersecurity company Cylance has already signed a six-floor lease, and will have its name at the top of the building.

“I’d like to call this the Irvine Company’s version of the iPhone 10,” joked Case during the grand opening, referring to another huge announcement made on Tuesday from Apple. “The Irvine Spectrum has helped us achieve this vision of being the economic engine for Orange County.”

Ten years ago, Case said, the grand openings of Irvine Co. properties 20 and 40 Pacifica, which are in the same Spectrum neighborhood, welcomed offices for 600 regulators from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). “It’s nice to see the innovators come and replace the regulators,” Case said.

In addition to Cylance, an artificial intelligence-driven company that works on projects similar to the massive Equifax hack, other new tenants include SendGrid, Purple Bricks, Case One, Cross Country Mortgage and KS & Co., Case said.

SendGrid, a Denver-based communications platform for transactional and marketing email, is leasing 22,00 square feet of office space, according to information provided by the Irvine Co.

The building features 428,000 square feet of modern office space, 360-degree views of Orange County, “smart” elevators that, with the assistance of lobby ambassadors, provide the quickest route to a floor, and an electronic touch-screen building directory. The tower offers several “Ready Now” offices, which are fully wired suites that allow for fast move-in and limited disruption for growing or established businesses.

The building was built with environmental sustainability in mind; it’s powered by Tesla’s advanced energy storage system and received an Energy Star recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

A fitness center and yoga studio, dubbed Kinetic, are located on the second floor. Outside the tower, an area called the Commons provides for open-air gathering, with a fire pit, plush soft seating, free WiFi and a dining area.

The parking structure includes showers and lockers, bicycle storage and EV charging stations. Coming soon inside 400 Spectrum Center will be a café where employees can order specialty menu items, grab-and-go snacks and, of course, crafted coffee concoctions.

The Irvine Co. reportedly got ideas for contemporary office design from working with companies such as Google and Facebook.

“This is a marvelous addition to the Irvine community,” Irvine Mayor Don Wagner said. “Not just the view, but the opportunity to bring into our city a great diverse mix of young companies, established companies, growing companies, folks that are contributing not just to our vibrant community, but indeed making transformational changes around the country.”

Councilwoman Lynn Schott said she’s heard some residents complain about congestion, but insisted that both 200 and 400 Spectrum Center are helping to change Irvine for the better.

“What I see is a testament to the success of the city, to the success of the Irvine Co., to the success of our business community,” Schott said. “What I see is opportunity; what I see is a vision for the future — a vibrant economy, and families who are going to be served, business owners that are going to be successful. We see nothing but positive.”

RICHARD CHANG is a contributor to Times Community News.