OCBJ: New Home for New Home Co.

Irvine HQ Move; Smaller Footprint

Though New Home Co. isn’t doing much homebuilding work with Irvine Pacific anymore, it’s still keeping its relationship with Irvine Co., by inking a new lease at one of the Newport Beach landlord’s office properties.

After more than a decade of being based in Aliso Viejo, New Home Co. (NYSE: NWHM) recently moved its headquarters to the Irvine Spectrum area, signing a 13,055-square-foot lease at the Discovery Park office project.

“It’s a great office and a more efficient use of space for us,” New Home co-founder and Executive Chairman Larry Webb told the Business Journal.

“It’s great to be in an Irvine Co. building, we have a longstanding relationship with them and they know how to manage properties well.”

Irvine Start

Webb, the former head of Irvine’s John Laing Homes, started New Home Co. in 2009 with Joe Davis — a former head of residential development for Irvine Co. — Tom Redwitz and Wayne Stelmar; all but Webb have since retired.

The new headquarters represents somewhat of a return to the area for New Home, which got its start in the city, in a small office suite off of Jeffrey and Trabuco Road. It’s first big development was Lambert Ranch, also in Irvine.

Less than a year later, the company moved to the Summit office campus in Aliso Viejo, ramping up space over the years to ultimately occupy about 20,000 square feet.

Flex Approach

The new office at 15231 Laguna Canyon Road in the Spectrum submarket, is about 6,000 square feet smaller than the company’s previous headquarters.

The company hasn’t taken notice of the space reduction, largely due to a smaller employee pool and a more efficient office layout.

Of the company’s 50 employees, just 10 to 15 are currently working from the office as a result of the pandemic.

“I think we’re going to be more flexible with schedules than we’ve ever been before, especially since we’ve seen that we don’t all have to be in the office all the time,” said Webb, noting that the office will get closer to full capacity at the end of the year as more employees get the vaccine.

New Fee Building

The office is also closer to one noteable New Home project in the area: Atlas, a fee-building venture with FivePoint Holdings LLC (NYSE: FPH) at the Great Park Neighborhoods.

The new partnership helps to offset a new loss in business from New Home’s previous fee-building venture with Irvine Co.’s Irvine Pacific, which is now winding down. The homebuilder has built about 4,000 units for the company’s residential arm over the past decade.

Other area New Home projects are in Rancho Mission Viejo, Brea and Orange. The company, one of three publicly-traded home- builders based in Orange County, ranks No. 12 on this week’s list of top builders in OC last year with 106 sales, not counting its fee-build- ing work for Irvine Pacific, which ranked No. 3 with 318 sales.