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About Laguna Altura

The location of a new 597-house village off Laguna Canyon Road just south of the 405 freeway offers a unique combination: a 10-minute drive to the beach, access to Irvine Unified School District and nearby shopping.

The Village of Laguna Altura is gated, with a guard. All of the homes are detached and incorporate features based on extensive market research of how residents use their homes and what they are looking for.

"We wanted to create something special and exclusive" to match the location, Irvine Co. spokeswoman Erin Freeman said.

Amenities in the Italian-themed community include a pool, three parks and a scenic walking trail. The homes at Laguna Altura, which were designed by Bassenian/Lagoni Architects in Newport Beach, are being constructed by The Irvine Co.’s home-building unit, Irvine Pacific.

Irvine Pacific sat dormant for 18 years while the developer had builders such as TRI Pointe Homes and New Home Co. construct its residences. But in 2013 the company started building its own homes again because it is “more efficient” than outsourcing, said Dan Young, president of The Irvine Co.'s residential development corporation.

Some of the home features based on The Irvine Co.'s consumer study include the 'great room,' which blends the family and dining rooms into a large, unified space that opens to the kitchen. The 'great room' includes a 'home management center' where dad or mom can pay bills; check email, etc. without leaving the community area.

The kitchens include larger islands, which the developer calls 'the heart of the home' because people gather there to eat, do homework or just hang out. The homes also have wider hallways and staircases. Outside, the homes have covered patios or 'California rooms' – an open-air area with three sides and a roof designed to take advantage of Orange County's mild climate.

The company is leveraging several advantages: Land costs are low because they've owned the property seemingly forever, construction financing is available because of billionaire owner Donald Bren's deep pockets, and since the company's privately owned, Bren doesn't have to worry about shareholder reaction.

Of course, the general location helps, too. The city of Irvine has a safe-and-clean reputation and is home to about 200,000 jobs.

As with most Irvine real estate, a strong selling point for Laguna Altura will be the access to Irvine Unified, which is considered one of the top public school systems in the United States. The schools serving the area are Alderwood Basics Plus Elementary, Rancho San Joaquin Middle and University High.

Nearby retail includes a neighborhood shopping center and Irvine Spectrum Center, home to Target, Nordstrom and roughly 130 shops. The Irvine Co. owns both of the centers.

Laguna Beach is just 10-minutes away with a scenic drive through Laguna Canyon, and open-space trails are within biking distance.

Interest in the homes at Laguna Altura has been strong, even without formal advertising,