Developer Philip Rahimzadeh jumps on office-to-resi bandwagon

Core Development looks to raze 12-story Wells Fargo building for 162 apartments

LA Developer Philip Rahimzadeh Eyes Office-to-Resi in Santa Ana
Core Development Group CEO Philip Rahimzadeh and the Wells Fargo Building at 2700 North Main Street (Getty, LoopNet)

Core Development Group wants to convert an office complex in Santa Ana into a 162-unit apartment complex.

An LLC tied to the Los Angeles-based firm, run by Philip Rahimzadeh, has proposed converting the Wells Fargo Building to build apartments at 2700 North Main Street, according to the city of Santa Ana planning records. The Orange County Business Journal reported the plans earlier. 

Core bought the 120,600-square-foot Wells Fargo building in January for $18.6 million, or $154 per square foot. It was 48 percent leased. The seller was PRES Companies, based in Irvine, which paid 9.3 percent more for the property in 2016.

The Wells Fargo Building, built in 1968 and revamped in 2000, is now 70 leased to such tenants as Wells Fargo, SpineZone and Sun West Mortgage.

The developer plans to convert the property into an apartment complex to be called Arthouse on Main, which would contain 162 apartments across an unspecified number of floors above 5,000-square-feet of ground floor shops and restaurants.

The project, designed by Los Angeles-based SODA, would have a 7,000-square-foot rooftop deck. It’s unclear whether the complex would include any affordable units, 

A cost estimate and timeline for construction on the 4.5-acre site was undisclosed. A rendering for the future complex was unavailable.

In 2017, PRES envisioned redeveloping the Wells Fargo Building property with a 247-unit complex dubbed 27 Hundred, but the project stalled.

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Values for office properties across Orange County have fallen by half since a pandemic shift to remote work. Some landlords are replacing them with homes or warehouses. 

In March, Irvine-based J+R Group filed plans to turn part of a 178,000-square-foot office building into 76 apartments at 1901 Main Street in Irvine.

In May of last year, Sawtelle-based Kearny Real Estate and Dune Real Estate Partners, based in New York, filed plans to replace a newly renovated office campus in Santa Ana with a 163,000-square-foot warehouse at 3130 South Harbor Boulevard.

Office vacancy across the O.C. was 14.3 percent in the first quarter, “virtually unchanged” from the previous period, according to CBRE Group.  Vacancies have ticked up since early 2020, when it was just above 10 percent.

In February, Philip Rahimzadeh bought a 45-unit complex in Miami’s Coconut Grove for $11 million, with plans to renovate the building and raise rents. 

— Dana Bartholomew

A previous version of the story said the developer was planning to demolish the building and replace it with apartments. Instead, the building will be converted.

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