The Irvine Co. announced Wednesday that it has created a separate office and industrial company, the latest in a series of moves to decentralize management and operations at Orange County's largest land development company.
The company also said that because the new company was created from a merger of two existing operations, about 30 employees were laid off. The dismissed employees include construction, marketing, development and property management workers.
The new company, formally called the Irvine Office and Industrial Co., will be responsible for building and leasing all of the Irvine Co.'s office and industrial office projects throughout Irvine and Newport Beach. The new company will have about 150 employees, slightly more than 10% of the Irvine Co.'s total work force of 1,400.
Creation of the new company comes at a time of unusually high office vacancy rates in the county, a factor that company officials acknowledged can be better handled by the new operation.
"We can be more efficient and responsive to the market now than in a centralized organization," claimed Richard Sim, the new company's first president. "We can run the business in a more professional and efficient manner."
However, officials said creation of the new company had little to do with the current leasing market but rather was a continuation of a push toward decentralizing operations that was set in motion two years ago by Irvine Co. owner and chairman Donald Bren.
The office and industrial company is the sixth to be created from the vast operations of the Irvine Co. Over the last two years, separate companies have been created to handle the Irvine Co.'s land development, retail property, hotel and land management operations. The company's home building arm, the Irvine Pacific Co., was created many years ago.
The latest move leaves only the Irvine Co.'s agriculture operations, which are slowly winding down as the company develops its vast holdings, within the direct management of the corporate staff.