312-Apartment Complex Approved for Commercial Park Near John Wayne Airport

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Main News Photo

(Orange County Register)

Plans to make the commercial area near John Wayne Airport a bit more residential and reflect the rest of the seaside town’s look and feel is moving forward.

On Tuesday, the Newport Beach City Council gave the OK for a local developer to begin work on a proposed 312-apartment building that will be stacked over an underground parking garage in the Koll Center Business Park. The project was approved unanimously 6-0, with Councilman Will O’Neill recusing himself because he is a member of the Pacific Club located nearby.

The project will go back before the council on Feb. 9 for final approval.

The project – known as Residences at 4440 Von Karman – would be built on 13 acres bordered by Birch Street and Von Karman Avenue, now used as a surface parking lot. It will include a one-acre park with amenities and that will be open to public use and a second 284-space freestanding parking structure. Thirteen of the units are marked as affordable, according to developer plans.

The commercial area near the airport has become a popular location for more residential development as the nearly built-out city struggles to meet the states’ demand for additional housing, especially for lower incomes.

Picerene, the developer for the new project, has already built a similar apartment project not far away. One Uptown Newport opened in 2019 along Jamboree Road.

City Councilman Noah Blom voiced his support for how the airport district area is developing, saying he recently had spent time there.

“We do need more things there,” he said. “And those things come by getting developments like this in place.”

A project in that location has been in the works for years. Two years ago, another developer proposed residential dwellings in the form of a three high-rise tower development. Each tower was proposed to have 13 stories of apartments. But after reviews by community groups and the city’s Planning Commission, that project didn’t get a lot of support.

“This is a good project,” Mayor Brad Avery said. “It’s what we need. It’s what California needs. It’s what the city needs. We are working our way toward a denser future.”

Category: Economic Development, Housing