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Karma Automotive signs 262,000-Square-Foot Lease with Bixby

Newport Beach, Calif. – Plans by Bixby Land Company  to develop the former Kawasaki USA headquarters in Irvine, Calif. into a contemporary work environment have led to a lease with Karma Automotive, LLC to occupy the entire 262,000-square-foot facility. Karma, an American car company that manufactures luxury hybrid plug-in vehicles, will begin relocating from neighboring Costa Mesa to this new location, at 9950 Jeronimo in Irvine, later this year.

Bixby acquired the project from Kawasaki USA in 2015 for $44.25 million, re-branding the project to Habitat to deliver a compelling vision for a dynamic, amenity-rich campus that would be ideal for a single user, yet flexible for multiple tenants.

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“Our primary investment objective was to lease the project to a progressive-minded tenant that would value the unique configuration of this two-building project,” said Aaron Hill, executive vice president and chief operations officer at Bixby. The buildings are connected by an extensive two-story atrium that was redesigned by IA Interior Architects as a promising indoor amenities area.

Karma Automotive is owned by Wanxiang Group, who purchased the assets of Fisker Automotive in 2014. Karma last week announced its planned distribution strategy for its new Revero automobile, including an Orange County Brand Experience Center that will be housed at this new location.

The demand for larger blocks of space for a creative work environment in Orange County was a determining factor when Bixby acquired the project from Kawasaki USA last year.

“We’re not at all surprised that a visionary company such as Karma Automotive chose to take the entire project. Frankly, they’re a perfect fit,” added Hill.

Gregg Haly and Jeff Carr of CBRE represented Bixby in the transaction, while Karma Automotive was represented by Kevin Leonard and George Okita of California Commercial Real Estate Services. Terms of the lease were not disclosed.

The lease to Karma Automotive coincides with Bixby’s $10.5 million sale of an adjacent 4.7-acre vacant land parcel to Chapman University, an active investor in the area that also recently purchased two nearby buildings for the ongoing expansion of its Irvine campus.

Bixby, who received multiple offers on the parcel in a competitive bidding process, was represented in the sale transaction by Gregg Haly and Jeff Carr of CBRE. Alex Hayden, Travis Boyd and Rick Sherburne at CBRE represented Chapman University.