AO celebrates 50 years in Old Towne and beyond – Orange County Register

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AO in Orange launched its 50th anniversary celebration Wednesday, March 27 in the town it’s called home since day one.

Mayor Dan Slater, a Realtor by trade, pronounced it “AO Day” for the city as the company celebrated its milestone at the Women’s Club.

The architect and design firm got its start in 1974 in the historic Barger building on East Chapman Avenue. Founded by Jack Selman, the company now occupies five buildings in Old Towne. Shoppers walk by its headquarters, perched above several retail stores facing Glassell and Orange streets, in the heart of the plaza.

Orange Mayor Dan Slater, from left to right, presents a proclamation declaring March 27 as AO Day to company executives Hugh Rose, Jack Selman, RC Alley, Ken Smith and Steve Gaffney. (Photo courtesy of AO)
Orange Mayor Dan Slater, from left to right, presents a proclamation declaring March 27 as AO Day to company executives Hugh Rose, Jack Selman, RC Alley, Ken Smith and Steve Gaffney. (Photo courtesy of AO)

The party on Wednesday was a testament to AO’s family spirit, with the club filled with employees and supporters who donned bright orange shirts, headbands, hats and AO pins on their lapels. The company has grown to 350 employees from fewer than 50 just 15 years ago.

Paolo Leon, an architect and partner at the firm and an Orange resident, said AO is also celebrating a design milestone in its multifamily division with 1,600 units completed across the region. Some of those apartments include Aura & Vita Apartments, Cameo Apartments, Renaissance at Uptown Orange and Windsor at Main Place.

“I think this AO at 50 is a great opportunity to reflect on whom we’ve been as a firm, and a great opportunity to glean something from the past” and bring it to the future, Leon said.

The luncheon participants struck a jubilant tone when the Selman, the firm’s CEO and patriarch, was given an MVP letter jacket, complete with his name and the number 1974 stitched across the back.

AO also has offices in San Diego, Sunnyvale and Oakland; Atlanta; New York and Orlando.

This 26,000-square-foot industrial building at at 7571 Santa Rita Circle in Garden Grove recently sold for $6.8 million. (Photo courtesy of Lee & Associates, Orange)
This 26,000-square-foot industrial building at at 7571 Santa Rita Circle in Garden Grove recently sold for $6.8 million.(Photo courtesy of Lee & Associates, Orange)

Garden Grove industrial building fetches $6.8 million

A 26,000-square-foot industrial building in Garden Grove recently traded hands for $6.8 million, according to Lee & Associates in Orange.

The property at 7571 Santa Rita Circle sits on 1.12 acres.

The buyer is listed in public property documents as Beach Creek Partners LP. The seller is listed as St. Nira Ventures LP.

The sale closed in late February.

Newport Beach-based Waterford Property Co. in a joint venture has expanded its workforce housing portfolio with a recent purchase in Texas. The company, along with The Vistria Group and Northern Liberties acquired this 395-unit complex called Domain at Midtown Park in Dallas. (Photo courtesy of Waterford Property Co.)
Newport Beach-based Waterford Property Co. in a joint venture has expanded its workforce housing portfolio with a recent purchase in Texas. The company, along with The Vistria Group and Northern Liberties acquired this 395-unit complex called Domain at Midtown Park in Dallas. (Photo courtesy of Waterford Property Co.)

Waterford buys complex in Dallas

Newport Beach-based Waterford Property Co. in a joint venture has expanded its workforce housing portfolio with a recent purchase in Texas.

The company, along with The Vistria Group and Northern Liberties, in partnership with the Dallas Housing Finance Corp., acquired a 395-unit complex called Domain at Midtown Park in Dallas.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the firms, but The Real Deal reported the property appraised for $85 million in 2023. The seller was Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust.

The owners said they are immediately restricting rents for new, qualified residents in order “to create stable workforce housing as part of an agreement with DHFC.”

In exchange for the rent restrictions, the ownership group gets 100% property tax abatement for 99 years. That amounts to nearly $2 million, according to previous tax years provided by PropertyShark.com.

“Core to our investing and impact philosophy is that creating more affordable housing is a crucial element in building more resilient households and vibrant communities,” said Margaret Anadu, a senior partner and head of real estate at The Vistria Group.

The complex was built in 2016 and includes a clubhouse, fitness center, business center, BBQ grill area, outdoor lounge, cabana/pergola, dog park, and resort-style pool, storage units and a golf simulator.

The tenant base, according to Waterford, is made up mainly of moderate-income workforce employees and families. The joint venture is restricting rents on 51% of the units for residents who make 80 percent average median income, 39% of the units for families who make 140 percent AMI, and 10% of the units at market rate.

On the move

KTGY has promoted three associates in its Irvine office. They include:

Brad Golba, associate principal, works on innovative design and code-compliant solutions for all developments.

Geoff Graney, associate principal, with more than 20 years of design and planning expertise.

The real estate roundup is compiled from news releases and written by Business Editor Samantha Gowen. Submit items and high-resolution photos via email to [email protected]. Please allow at least a week for publication. All items are subject to editing for clarity and length.

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