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Firm's Success Based on Quality : Ellis Sloan Burnett Bucks Trends in Its Developments

August 04, 1985|EVELYN De WOLFE

Overnight successes in the real estate industry are often triggered by good fortune and good timing, but "blue chip" reputations are harder to come by, and usually happen without fanfare.

Ellis Sloan Burnett Properties, Santa Monica, represents a segment of the industry in the commercial/industrial development sector--the smaller companies that have maintained a strong track record and steady stream of quality projects.

Usually working with a major investor partner but sometimes developing on their own, the partnership of Edward C. Ellis, Mark Sloan and Robert R. Burnett has completed 2.3 million square feet of diversified projects since 1977.

Currently in progress are preview showings and tours of Mission Oaks Business Center, the company's just-completed, 82,000-square-foot, high-technology corporate headquarters/research and development facility in Camarillo.

Built on an extensively landscaped, 4.25-acre site within the 120-acre Mission Oaks Business Park, the two-story, high-image, tilt-up structure faces Camino Ruiz between Adolfo Road and Verdugo Way, and is a design of Leroy Miller & Associates of Santa Monica. It incorporates a 22,400-square-foot mezzanine that may be expanded to a full second floor.

Financing for Mission Oaks Business Center has been provided by First National Bank of Chicago. Lyle Parks Jr. Inc. of La Habra is the general contractor, and the Ventura office of Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services is the exclusive leasing agent.

Ellis Sloan Burnett is also involved in the development and management of the on-going, multi-phased $200-million Los Angeles Corporate Center in Monterey Park, is midway into construction of the Ontario Airport Business Park in the California Commercenter adjoining Ontario International Airport, and in the process of leasing Industry Business Center in City of Industry.

Company activity is geared to a hands-on team effort by its principals, each contributing a different set of skills.

Ellis, who is involved in overall planning, started in real estate as a broker for commercial, multifamily and industrial projects, served as president and chief executive officer of Pacific Coast Properties Inc. and founded Edward C. Ellis Associates in 1975, later renamed Ellis Sloan Burnett Properties.

Sloan, formerly with Kenneth Leventhal & Co., is the firm's liaison with its major institutional partners and responsible for proper identification, acquisition and financial negotiations of properties.

Burnett, an architect with expertise in urban land economics and formerly with Kaiser Engineering in Oakland, was community planner for the UC San Diego campus. While involved with marketing and sales, Burnett's primary responsibility is coordinating the development activities and directing architecture and construction.

"We don't want a large organization," Burnett said. "We keep sufficient staff so that the partners can be closely involved through development to lease-up or sale. We like to develop projects, not manage people. Development is what we enjoy, and we limit ourselves to working with only about 600,000 square feet at one time."

"The team is always looking at additional properties, several hundred in fact, each year, and we like to develop both in new areas and in redevelopment areas," Sloan explained.

"Los Angeles Corporate Center is a private redevelopment project for which no city funds were used. Ontario Airport Business Park, on the other hand, exemplifies a new area, multitenant complex, located in what we believe to be one of the fastest growing areas of California, with ample affordable housing to enhance the aspect of labor supply."

The ESB team deliberately centers on "proven areas" and always looks for "a little something extra."

That something extra, Sloan explained, is arrived at through market studies and gut feelings. "Being sensitive to a new area means getting the best possible location and sensing the overall growth potential. We examine hundreds of potential projects every year, and end up doing five or six."

The location for Ontario Airport Business Park in the extensively landscaped, controlled environment of California Commercenter, is the best industrial area in the Rancho Cucamonga/Ontario area, Burnett added.

"It is also an extension of the Long Beach Harbor Free Trade Zone, an aspect that enhances our project there, and is within the Ontario International Airport Foreign Trade Zone," Burnett said.

"In gearing the project for multitenant use, we have also created a project that is flexible, expandable and adaptable. We have several different-size buildings at the Ontario location and we can go down to 1,200 square feet in the multitenant phase."

At the mid-point of its 10th anniversary, Ellis Sloan Burnett has 600,000 square feet of buildings under construction or in leasing, and 1,300,000 square feet leased and under management.

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