For more than three years, Ventura County real estate brokers have been trying to sell an aging, 1960s-era industrial building near the Oxnard Airport.
The building finally sold in the second quarter testament, brokers say, to the growing demand for industrial land on the coastal plains of Ventura County.
It wasn’t the only such deal. A 45,000-square-foot former school building and 20,000-square-feet once occupied by GTE both sold after being passed over for two years, said Mick Crocker, a partner with Crocker Dimeo in Camarillo.
“With all these old buildings being snapped up, it shows the need for all this new construction that is going on,” Crocker said.
The 184,000-square-foot Oxnard Airport building was sold to a limited partnership called F & A; Airport Commercial Center for an undisclosed price. It had been listed for $2.75 million, said Bram White, executive president of Daum Commercial Real Estate Services in Camarillo.
An even bigger deal might be ready to close. Vacant for about three years, the 566,560-square-foot facility in Thousand Oaks formerly occupied by Northrop Grumman Corp. has gone into escrow, brokers say.
Such activity is having little impact on the county’s overall industrial vacancy rate, which went up to 7.8 percent in the second quarter from 7.5 percent at the end of the first quarter, according Grubb & Ellis Co.
But brokers said that is largely because new industrial parks and warehouses, most of them under 20,000 square feet, are coming on the market. Thus while more space is available, the vacancy rate is remaining about the same.
More money is also available for construction, Crocker said.
“Local banks have finally started to lend for speculative construction,” Crocker said. “This has led to sales of about 200,000 square feet of land in the Oxnard plains for industrial buildings in the second quarter. They’re in escrow and in the process of getting permits.”
The quarter also saw the announcement of the Conejo Valley’s first speculative industrial project in a decade the 142,000-square-foot Grande Vista Business Park in Newbury Park. Thousand Oaks-based Silagi Development will break ground in the third quarter.
The office vacancy rate in Ventura County is more of a mixed bag.
CB Commercial Real Estate Group Inc. reports a 19.4 percent vacancy rate in the western county (Oxnard, Ventura, Camarillo) vs. 10.3 percent in the eastern county areas such as Moorpark and Thousand Oaks.
However, the western county’s office market saw some good news in the second quarter. There was significantly more investor activity than in previous quarters, according to Bill Keifer, executive vice president of Capital Commercial Real Estate’s Ventura County office in Oxnard.
He said the city of Ventura saw sales of at least three large office buildings to real estate investment trusts, compared to an “occasional” large sale in past quarters.
One of those transactions involved Beverly Hills-based Arden Realty Group selling its 1000 Town Center Drive building to Lafayette, Calif.-based Bedford Property Investors Inc. for a reported $10 million to $12 million. Arden had bought the building in December 1994 for $5.1 million.
El Segundo-based Kilroy Realty Corp. bought two office buildings in Ventura for $12.5 million and $24 million.
An unnamed party is buying the 51.1-acre Northrop Grumman Corp. facility in Thousand Oaks, with 566,560 of office and industrial space. The facility went into escrow in June.
Escrow closed June 4 on a 184,000-square-foot industrial building near the Oxnard Airport. F & A; Airport Center, a limited partnership headed by Dick Fausset of Ventura, was the buyer. A price was not disclosed, but the property had been listed for $2.75 million.
Bungee International, a Chatsworth-based maker of bungee cords, moved to a 65,000-square-foot facility in Oxnard’s Pacific Commerce Center.
Thousand Oaks planning officials approved the 142,0000-square-foot Grande Vista Business Park in Newbury Park. It is a speculative project by Thousand Oaks-based Silagi Development. Ground will break in the third quarter.
Performance Materials Corp. of Camarillo purchased a 49,000-square-foot industrial facility in Newbury Park.
The Ralston Professional Center in Ventura, a 120,000-square-foot office building in Ventura, was purchased by a New Orleans-based partnership called Security National.
Simi Valley-based Rothbart Development received permission from Simi Valley officials to build a retail center called Simi At The Plaza. It will feature a Wal-Mart and Home Depot.
Accurate Engineering and Fabrication Inc. of Newbury Park bought a 77,000-square-foot build-to-suit industrial space in Oxnard’s Channel Islands Business Center.