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Centrum Complex Centered in Orange County Freeway Hub

April 14, 1985

A new urban center is taking shape in Orange County.

It is known as Centrum because it is literally centered at the intersections of the Orange (57), Santa Ana (5), Garden Grove (22) and Costa Mesa-Newport (55) freeways.

Valued at more than $100 million, the 528,000-square-foot complex is being developed by McLachlan Investment Co. in Orange, within walking distance of Fashion Square, where a $150-million expansion is planned of more than 1 million square feet of retail space, about 1.5 million square feet of office buildings and 1,400 hotel rooms.

Centrum will consist of three buildings: Centrum South at 725 Town & Country Road and the two-phase Centrum North at 1120 W. La Veta Ave. Centrum South and Centrum North will face each other across the Garden Grove (22) Freeway.

A joint venture with Cigna Capital Advisers Inc., Centrum South is scheduled to open this week. It is a five-story, 90,000-square-foot building with progressively larger floor sizes for each higher floor. This inverted pyramid approach was designed by architects Ware & Malcomb of Irvine.

The approach was so appealing to Allstate Insurance Co. that it signed a $2-million lease for the 22,000-square-foot fourth floor before the building was completed. Allstate will house its Southern California regional headquarters in Centrum South, taking immediate occupancy. Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services is handling leasing for the entire development.

Parking for Centrum South and Centrum North's first phase will be in landscaped surface lots. People who work there will only park once to go to the offices, restaurants, financial institutions, retail stores and service businesses, all a few steps away.

"When people can walk to lunch, shop or go to the bank or medical services from their office buildings, there's a definite effect on employee morale and even productivity," Greg Brown of Coldwell Banker, said.

He likens Centrum to such places as South Coast Town Center and Newport Center. Besides being near Fashion Square, Centrum is across the street from the Town & Country Center, an earlier Orange County landmark development with shops and gourmet restaurants.

Centrum North is being planned across La Venta Avenue from St. Joseph Hospital and its adjoining medical complexes including Children's Hospital of Orange County.

Phase 1 of Centrum North will be an eight-story, 173,000-square-foot building, which is under construction and scheduled for completion late this summer. It is being developed as a joint venture with Far West Savings & Loan Assn. of Newport Beach. Leasing is already under way.

Phase 2 of Centrum North will be a 12-story tower with 258,000 square feet of offices, planned for completion in late 1987.

Centrum North will be constructed of reflective blue-green glass with earth-tone brick used at lower levels as an accent to its two-story entrance. Centrum South is constructed of tan precast concrete highlighted by recessed glass. Snyder-Langston Inc. of Irvine is general contractor for both phases.

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