Depending upon the person doing the counting, opening a new office building in El Segundo is either a wise decision or a case of extremely unfortunate timing.
To developer Gerald L. Katell, the opening this week of the first building of his $90-million, 480,000-square-foot Continental Grand Plaza on the northeast corner of Continental Boulevard and Grand Avenue in El Segundo is fortunate timing indeed.
"El Segundo proper has a vacancy rate of only 4%--one of the lowest in the country--and our six-story, mid-rise building puts about 240,000 square feet of space on the market at just the right time," Katell said.
The two-building project is a joint venture of JZK Associates and Cal Fed Enterprises, a subsidiary of California Federal Savings & Loan Assn. Katell and Harold Josephson are managing principals of the joint venture.
Katell believes that the problem is one of perception: The El Segundo area is all too often lumped with the Century Boulevard or Airport area.
"Aerospace firms, our main target tenant, along with engineering and data processing firms, want a Westchester or El Segundo location," he added. "They're not going to locate on Century Boulevard."
A listing in this section last February of office buildings either recently completed or under construction included the first phase of the Continental Grand Plaza under the heading "Fox Hills and Airport."
The 17 buildings in the list had a total of 3.37 million square feet, a large amount of available space by virtually any standard.
The man responsible for the February figures, Howard Sadowsky of Julien J. Studley Inc.'s Los Angeles office, estimates that available space in the Fox Hills-Airport area today totals 3.6 million square feet. He defends his classification of the area, although he is willing to concede that Fox Hills-Westchester could be considered a sub-area of the market.
"There is an incredible amount of space on the drawing boards for the overall area, anywhere from 2 to 5 million square feet of space," Sadowsky added.
To Katell, who along with Josephson, is also developing the $100-million Brea Tech Center and the $50-million Fairway Center in northern Orange County, Fox Hills is yet another distinct office market--not to be included with the area around Los Angeles International Airport.
International Center, the 100-acre master-planned office park within which Continental Grand Plaza is located, was started 15 years ago by Chevron Land & Development Co., a unit of Chevron USA Inc. The development is less than two miles from the airport.
Designed by the architectural firm of Herbert Nadel & Partners, Santa Monica, Continental Grand Plaza features 40,000-square-foot floors in two wings, with the elevator lobby at the midpoint.
The two-story lobbies are finished in Italian marble, accented with polished bronze trim. Exteriors feature curtain walls of blue-tone aluminum and glass panels.
Parking for 1,900 cars will be in multilevel structures. There are plans for a 3,500-square-foot restaurant in the complex, which also features a multipurpose recreational/exercise facility.
The Goodglick Co. is the leasing agent and also arranged acquisition of the nine-acre site. Construction financing was provided by California Federal and by Glendale Federal Savings & Loan Assn. The contractor is Keller Construction Co., El Monte.