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REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY
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Irvine Co. opens first new apartment communities in OC since recession

A public grand opening will take place tomorrow

By Steve Churm
Executive Editor/Publisher OC METRO
Published: April 20, 2012 09:25 AM

Riding a wave of rising demand for rental housing, the Irvine Co. has gone all in with the opening of four new apartment communities that will ultimately add 1,677 units to the market in the first major project of its kind in Orange County since 2008.

Located between Jeffrey Road and Sand Canyon Avenue in northeast Irvine, the Cypress Village apartment homes clearly reflect the state of housing in the region. Irvine Company officials and others say the soaring renter demand is a direct result of the housing crash, tighter restrictions on mortgage lending, and employment shifts and job losses. This uncertainty has made renting a much more attractive option for young professionals, families in transition or those searching for work or new careers.

“The rental demand has been strong and building for the past two years, and we believe it will continue for at least another 12 to 18 months,” said Kevin Baldridge, executive vice president Irvine Company Apartment Communities, following a VIP and press event formally announcing the new rental communities. Irvine city and elected officials attended the gathering, underscoring the importance and scope of the apartment development.

Since opening earlier this year, Irvine Co. officials report more than 120 apartments have been leased in the amenity-rich communities of Murano, Umbria, Veneto and Cadenza, which offers the largest units, including unique two-story floor plans with up to two bedrooms and two and half baths. Rental rates for the four communities range from $1,478 to $2,791, and each offers upgraded common area amenities such as saltwater pools and spas, outdoor fireplaces and barbecue areas, conference room, business centers, Internet cafes and 24-hour workout facilities. The size of the apartments in the four communities range from 556 square feet for a one bedroom, one bath dwelling to 1,197 square feet for units at Cadenza, which has been the most popular model because of its townhome-like layout.

A public grand opening is set for tomorrow from 1 to 4 p.m., with tours, raffles and games planned for visitors.

The Irvine Company, one of California’s largest apartment developers with125 apartment communities statewide, has been a pioneer in developing rental communities in the West over the past two decades by introducing a wide range of extras for renters. The company has also been among the most active builders of rental housing, and the new communities at Cypress Village is a clear indicator that the rental market is gaining strength again.
    
Three years ago, the Irvine Co. gambled correctly that homebuyers were ready to return to the market, even as the recession continued and the housing market wobbled. Defying skeptics and buying trends, the company built and sold more than 1,000 new homes in less than two years in the Woodbury area of Irvine, triggering optimism that Orange County’s dormant residential development industry was on the mend. Now, two more major master-planned communities are breaking ground, and homes are being built by Five Point Communities at the Great Park in Irvine and to the south and east of San Juan Capistrano by Rancho Mission Viejo.

In an interview yesterday, Baldridge commented on the Irvine Company’s “first-to-market strategy” with the opening of the Cypress Village apartment communities.

“This is the largest apartment community to open in Orange County since the Great Recession,” he said, standing on the veranda of one of the highly decorated new clubhouses at Cypress Village. “The Irvine Company always wants to be a leader in anything it does. We have looked carefully at the data and see a strong demand for rental housing. We’re excited to be the first coming back into the market.”

Many of the apartments at Cypress Village are geared to active renters, including families. With loft-like features, the units have spacious open kitchens and living areas with center islands for entertaining and family interaction. The floor plans offer flexibility in terms of decorating and were designed to attract today’s young professionals, who are tech savvy and want convenience.

Irvine Co. officials also believe the location of Cypress Village, near Interstate 5, and its accessibility to job centers to the south and north will make it highly desirable as a place to live.

Some residents have already moved into Cypress Village apartments, with all 1,677 units available in phases through early 2013.

For more information on the Cypress Village apartments, visit www.cypressaptvillage.com or call 866.371.1063.