The Contractor & Developer
Looking at the major real estate developers in Orange County, Mike Harrah certainly stands out—and not just because of he's 6'6 and weighs 275 lbs. While Mike Harrah's appearance may not conjure up expectations of a CEO and real estate developer, he's responsible for the construction of some of Orange County's most stunning structures and the preservation of some of her greatest architectural gems. His development of Lake Havasu City continues to draw tourists from around the world and the preservation of the Performing Arts and Events Center in Santa Ana, California cemented Harrah's role as a developer committed to the restoring the grandeur of Orange County's capital city.
Ranked one of the top 25 B to B US contractors by Building Industry magazine from 1980 to 1990, Mike is the President of Caribou Industries and operates forty-five world class companies know for premier real estate, executive aviation, five-star restaurants, hotel resorts and entertainment venues in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada. Since it's founding in 1989, Caribou Industries has maintained its commitment to “Preserving the Past and Ensuring the Future” through the development of inner city properties and venues.
Developing His Style
When Mike Harrah finished high school in the 1960s, he bought a one-way ticket to Hawai'i, and planned on spending the rest of his life as a beach bum. After picking pinapples for 66-cents an hour, Mike decided to roll up the towel and head back home. He studied architectural engineering at Cal State Long Beach and worked framing homes in Orange Park Acres and Anaheim Hills. Mike made his first big break when he used his nights and weekends to build an 11,000 square foot home, then selling it for $925,000 in 1971.
Making His Mark
After selling his first project, Mike combined his work ethic with a developer's vision and began making his mark on the southern California and western United States landscape. Beginning with apartment complexes in Riverside, Mike has built hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and luxury condominium towers. Featured projects include the London Bridge Resort in Lake Havasu, Arizona; Orange County Performing Arts Center, Santa Ana; Hotel Coral Reef, Kauai and The Pinnacle, Honolulu.
Transforming Santa Ana
One of Mike Harrah's trademark investments has been the transformation of Orange County's largest city, Santa Ana. By purchasing large portions of the urban landscape, he's been able to rescue the city from urban blight and by renovating vacant and historic buildings then leasing them to local, state and federal government tenants, he's been directly linked to the 50% crime reduction seen since he began renovating buildings. A new arts district boasts restaurants, galleries and entertainment venues and his proposed 37-story office tower at One Broadway Plaza will be a centerpiece in the city's revitalization. One Broadway Plaza will be the tallest building in Orange County and will feature green building components, gourmet restaurants, street-level retail and a heliport.