The Irvine Co. announced that it will dismiss 18% of its work force in the largest cutback in company history, to adjust to an era of slimmer real estate profit margins and a local glut of high-rise office buildings.
The giant Newport Beach land development company said in a prepared statement Wednesday that it was dismissing 240 of its 1,343 employees as "the final step in an 18-month review and restructuring of management operations to respond to anticipated business activity."
Company President Thomas H. Nielsen said about 30% of the employee cuts are in the company's office development operation. He said the company has temporarily stopped the construction of additional office buildings because of soaring vacancy rates in the commercial district near John Wayne Airport, which has been the site of a high-rise building boom.
"We didn't expect the extent of the office building in the area and throughout Orange County," Nielsen said. There is a 33% tenant vacancy rate near the airport--the highest rate in Orange County--according to the real estate firm of Coldwell Banker.