South Coast Metro

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South Coast Metro Skyline

South Coast Metro is an area in Orange County, California loosely defined by its proximity to South Coast Plaza and John Wayne Airport, and comprising the surrounding portions of Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Newport Beach.[1] Used often in real estate listings, it distinguishes the more cosmopolitan environment of the South Coast area from the surrounding suburbs. This area of the Santa Ana/Costa Mesa line is a mix of upper- and middle-class communities, while the racial makeup is diverse. It is not recognized by the USPS or other government entities as a distinct region.


South Coast Metro's boundaries are generally defined as:

When used in residential addresses, the South Coast Metro moniker is generally restricted to apartment complexes, and often is not used on actual mailing addresses. While there is no official zip code for South Coast Metro, a freeway sign signaling the area does exist on the southbound Costa Mesa (55) Freeway at MacArthur.

Metropolitan Environment[edit]

The South Coast Metro area includes its namesake, South Coast Plaza, along with approximately twenty high-rise office buildings, hotels and residences. This includes the 21-story Center Tower, the tallest building in Orange County at 285 feet.[2] The area also includes additional retail shopping, entertainment, and several upscale restaurants.

South Coast Metro area at night, looking southeast

In addition to South Coast Plaza, South Coast Metro encompasses the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory theater company. The South Coast Repertory building was expanded and renovated in 2002, with the design done by architect César Pelli. Pelli also designed the Plaza Tower, opened in 1992, and the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, which opened in 2006.

Several prominent outdoor sculptures and other works of arts are displayed in the area around these buildings by artists such as Isamu Noguchi, Jean Dubuffet, Henry Moore, Richard Serra and others. This sub-section of South Coast Metro is sometimes referred to as the Costa Mesa Theater and Arts District.

A satellite of the Orange County Museum of Art, called The Orange Lounge, is located inside South Coast Plaza. Recently, plans have been drawn to move the main museum, currently located in Newport Beach, to a high-rise building in South Coast Metro also containing apartments.


South Coast Metro is served by the San Diego (I-405), Costa Mesa (SR-55), and Corona Del Mar (SR-73) freeways. During rush hour, the 405-55 interchange becomes one of the most congested in the United States, with an average daily traffic volume of 433,000 cars.[3] The congestion has worsened in recent years despite an upgrade completed in 2005 which included the addition of carpool lane connectors.

Public transportation is provided by bus lines operated by the Orange County Transportation Authority. South Coast plaza is currently the most-served location in Orange County, connected by 12 bus routes.

South Coast Metro was to be served by several stations of the abandoned CenterLine light rail project, including an underground station at South Coast Plaza. As a replacement, a bus rapid transit line connecting the area to nearby John Wayne Airport, downtown Santa Ana and Anaheim is being considered for implementation in the future.

Future Expansion[edit]

Both the cities of Costa Mesa and Santa Ana have plans for additional development in the South Coast Metro area, which over a dozen high-rise buildings currently planned or approved. However, many of the residential projects, along with others in Orange County, have been delayed in light of the economic downturn.

Two high-rise residential towers, dubbed Skyline at Macarthur Place, were recently constructed in the northeast corner of South Coast Metro by developer Skyline OC. The 25-story towers are marketed as high-end luxury condominia, and are now the tallest buildings in Orange County by number of floors.


  1. ^ Giuliano, Genevieve, & Kenneth A. Small (1991). Subcenters in the Los Angeles region. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 21: 163-182 (p.170).
  2. ^ "" OC Almanac
  3. ^ "" Orange County Register - "405/55 car-pool lanes get hookup"

External links[edit]

  • [1] Satellite View of South Coast Metro, Google Maps