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Curbed LA: Huge urban creative office complex will rise in Orange County

by Elijah Chiland

Could Silicon Beach, having already spread into Venice and beyond, be ready to make an abrupt southeastern leap into Orange County? If so, there’s a pretty impressive new office complex going up in Tustin that’s just waiting for a big tech startup to come disrupt something.

The 38-acre campus is called FLIGHT, and it was approved last week by the Tustin City Council. Developed by Lincoln Property Company in partnership with Alcion Ventures, it will bring 870,000 square feet of creative office space to an area that currently has virtually none.

Mark Motonaga, a partner with project designer Rios Clementi Hale Studios, tells Curbed that the concept for the complex was inspired by the former Marine Corps base that occupied the project site from the 1940s until the 1990s. As such, many of the buildings have been designed to maximize open space in a way that recalls the structure of airplane hangars. Plans call for 14 foot ceilings and for elevator banks to be moved to the exterior of the buildings.

Unlike other office parks in Orange County and beyond, where campuses are self-contained and largely shut off from the city, FLIGHT will be accessible by two streets running through the site—as well as a nearby Metrolink station. The project will also be constructed alongside the first part of a planned 26-acre public park called Legacy. Parking will be hidden behind structures, which Motonaga says will give the campus a more urban feel.

The landscaping for the eight-building complex, which is also being designed by Rios Clementi Hale, will pay tribute to the agricultural history of Tustin, featuring orderly groves and big blinds of trees. Small amphitheaters, gardens, and outdoor working spaces will appear through the site.

The offices will also share use of a large food hall with space for 12 different vendors offering a diverse array of specialty foods—a necessity for appealing to today’s creative types.

Construction on the site is expected to start in early 2017 and It remains to be seen what kind of companies will set up shop once the campus is complete. But renderings show a complex very different from the imposing, vaguely suburban office parks that currently dot the Orange County landscape.