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North County

“No Vacancy” is what faces companies looking for industrial space in the Santa Clarita Valley. Located in the northernmost reaches of Los Angeles County, the area has a 1.2 percent industrial vacancy rate, according to CB Commercial Real Estate Group Inc.

The vacancy rate is even lower in Valencia, one of the four communities making up Santa Clarita and the community with the greatest concentration of commercial properties.

At Valencia’s Industrial Center, the rate is 0.94 percent, an all-time low for the 30-year-old park, said Marlee Lauffer, a spokeswoman for Newhall Land and Farming Co., Santa Clarita’s largest property developer and owner.

The low vacancy rate is due to a spate of expansions and relocations, primarily from the San Fernando Valley, said Craig Peters, first vice president with CB Commercial.

Among those are Aerospace Dynamics Inc., which added 86,000 square feet to its pre-existing 142,000-square-foot operations in the Valencia Industrial Center; Future Media, which purchased a 28,500-square-foot building to expand its pre-existing 42,000-square-foot facility; and HR Textron, which leased 37,500 square feet to add to its pre-existing 185,000 square feet.

The owner of another large business park is getting ready to benefit from the strong demand for industrial space. Last month, Santa Clarita Business Park Co. purchased the Santa Clarita Business Park, a 220-acre park located on Soledad Canyon Road and Ruether Avenue, from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which had taken possession of property through foreclosure.

The park currently has about 750,000 square feet of building space and is planned for 2.5 million to 3 million square feet when fully built out, said Peters.

Despite all the activity in the industrial sector, more attention has been drawn to an office deal in Valencia. On June 4, Princess Cruises announced it is relocating its entire 600-employee Century City customer service division to a soon-to-be-built facility near Valencia’s retail mall, Town Center.

Thomas Lee, president and CEO of Newhall Land, calls this announcement a turning point.

“A lot of office employers will take notice that a significant employer has moved out here,” said Lee. “It will put us on the map for more sophisticated employers. Right now there’s not a lot of office employers. We have great industry, great retail. The piece that has been missing is office development.”

Over in the Antelope Valley, commercial real estate activity has been more limited. But two recent developments may soon change that, said Vern Lawson Jr., executive director of the Antelope Valley Economic Development Corp.

As of Feb. 1, 60 square miles of the Antelope Valley has been designated an enterprise zone, meaning companies within that zone will receive $24,000 in state hiring tax credits over five years for each new job they create.

Also, as of this month the Antelope Valley’s air quality is no longer regulated by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, but is instead regulated by the new Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District.

That makes the Antelope Valley the only L.A. County location outside the AQMD’s jurisdiction and, according to Lawson, more business friendly.

“Companies are thinking of leaving California altogether in part because of air quality regulations,” he said. “We now present an option for companies to stay in L.A. County.”

Lawson pointed out that in June, Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp. moved its headquarters from Pacoima to a 110,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the Lancaster Business Park at K and Division streets. Federal Express developed a 35,000-square-foot warehouse facility in the same business park.

In nearby Palmdale, Ron Creagh, the city’s assistant city manager and head of economic development, said he also expects increased interest in Palmdale.

“I have received in excess of 30 inquiries over the last four to five months,” he said. “They are mostly from the San Fernando Valley and most are high-tech, clean industries.”

Creagh said he recently concluded negotiations with Senior Systems Technology Inc. to move its 350 employees from Chatsworth to Palmdale. In addition, Anderson-Barrows Metals Corp., which has been based in Palmdale since the early 1990s, doubled its space by adding a 54,000-square-foot manufacturing building.

Major Events

Princess Cruises announced it is relocating its 600-employee customer service center from Century City to a 130,000-square-foot building in Valencia, to be constructed by the Newhall Land and Farming Co.

Aerospace Dynamics Inc. purchased an 86,000-square-foot building in Valencia Industrial Park for more than $4 million to expand its existing operations of 142,000 square feet.

Chili’s, Macaroni Grill and Payless Shoe Store opened at the Valencia Marketplace.

The Santa Clarita Business Park Co. purchased the 220-acre Santa Clarita Business Park from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The owner expects to sell land parcels to users and developers.

Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp. opened an 110,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the Lancaster Business Park.

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