Oct 13, 2014, 3:01pm PDT

I pride myself on keeping close tabs on Irvine Co.’s Silicon Valley moves, but every once in a while a deal slips by.

Well, that just happened. In mid-September, Irvine quietly picked up 3175 Bowers Ave., a 90,000-square-foot research-and-development building just south of Irvine’s under-construction megaproject, Santa Clara Square.

That might raise the question of whether Newport Beach-based Irvine Co. is looking to expand Square, but I’m told this property isn’t going to be redeveloped anytime soon. Indeed, the seller, a joint venture of Four Corners Properties and Westbrook Partners, gave the building a top-to-bottom renovation last year, and Irvine is focused on leasing it out for the foreseeable future. The building, constructed in 1979, got a new glass facade and entry lobby, a basketball half-court and shower facilities.

Irvine’s acquisition and development moves are closely watched because the company has shown a knack for making the right bets. Its 900,000-square-foot Santa Clara Gateway project on the north end of Great America Parkway is more than half leased, and its even larger Santa Clara Square landed a huge win earlier this year with a 410,000-square-foot Ericsson lease.

“We acquired 3175 Bowers as part of the Irvine Co.’s long-term investment in Santa Clara and plan to operate the property within our Silicon Valley office portfolio,” Hanns Lee, regional senior vice president, told me in an email. “We already are seeing strong leasing interest in 3175 Bowers, which will benefit from a gateway location next to our Santa Clara Square specialty retail and office workplace that is being created just across the street.”

For the record, this was probably not a bad deal for Four Corners and Westbrook.The joint venture paid $7.6 million for the project back in April of 2011, according to title records, and pumped an undisclosed sum into the rehab. The sale to Irvine? Public records peg the trade at $32.15 million, or $357 per square foot.

Meanwhile, Irvine is well under construction on Santa Clara Square. It’s the company’s most ambitious office project in the Valley, with more than 1.2 million square feet. Irvine is now building the first phase of the office development. A 125,000-square-foot retail center ā€” which may include a Whole Foods ā€” is also in development.

Nathan Donato-Weinstein covers commercial real estate and transportation for the Silicon Valley Business Journal.