Focusing on suburban markets, Trammell Crow Co. has been on a buying spree, snapping up enough property to build 20 office buildings since 1997 for a total of 1.7 million square feet. The company has been developing properties from Northridge to Diamond Bar in the past year, making it the most active office developer in L.A. County with total construction of 812,000 square feet in 1999.
“Our focus is on being prudent with our investments and to be responsible developers,” said Tom Bak, managing director for Trammell’s development investment group. “By chasing other outside markets, we can offer our tenants real value in terms of pricing and quality of product.”
At the heart of the inventory is Corporate Pointe at West Hills at 8433 Fallbrook Ave., the second largest office development in L.A. County last year at 372,000 square feet. A former Coast Savings Property, the site was purchased from the bank’s successor, Washington Mutual, and is being totally rehabilitated.
The $53 million low-rise development will consist of five freestanding buildings ranging in size from 30,000 to 155,000 square feet. One strong suit of the facility will be free and ample parking (constructed at five parking spaces per 1,000 square feet, compared to the average of three to four), enabling Trammell to attract tenants with a high density of employees such as Internet companies. In addition, the facility will offer an on-site cafeteria and redundant fiber-optic cables. Trammell has a letter of intent for a lease on 100,000 square feet from one tenant and is in negotiations with others.
The company also developed a Northridge project called the Centre at Harmon International Business Campus. The three-story, 125,000-square-foot building has received a letter of intent from one tenant for 60,000 square feet and another is pending for 40,000 square feet.
In addition, the company began construction in January 1999 on the Gateway Corporate Center in Diamond Bar. The 160,000-square-foot facility already has secured Travelers Insurance as one tenant, which took on a 10-year lease for 70,000 square feet.
“It’s a demand-driven market right now. In 1997, our average deal size was $9 million in 1999 it was $30 million,” Bak said.
Past projects include the 1 million-plus-square-foot Commerce Business Park that was developed over the past 25 years and the Citadel along the Santa Ana (5) Freeway.