The final leg of what may be the largest industrial lease ever signed in the Los Angeles area begins Monday, when McDonnell Douglas Corp. starts moving into the last of the six new buildings it will occupy in Carson's Watson Industrial Center South.
Under terms of the agreement, which real estate sources say is worth more than $25 million, the aerospace and defense firm will occupy more than 900,000 square feet of warehouse space. The leases range from five to seven years.
Watson Industrial Center South is a 750-acre project bounded by Wilmington Avenue, Banning Boulevard, 223rd and and 238th streets. It is developed by Carson-based Watson Land Co.
The site is part of California's first Spanish land grant, a 75,000-acre spread the King of Spain gave to soldier and pioneer settler Juan Jose Dominguez in 1784.
'Working Awfully Hard'
Watson Land is owned by Dominguez heirs.
Richard M. Cannon, Watson Land's president, said he was "extremely pleased that the park will have a tenant of McDonnell Douglas' caliber.
"I'm also happy that the project is taking only nine months from start to finish," he added. "We've been working awfully hard around here."
Donald Hanson, a spokesman for McDonnell Douglas, said most of the space will be used to store parts for new planes built at the company's nearby Long Beach and Torrance facilities. A smaller portion of the space will be used to store replacement parts for the thousands of jet and propeller aircraft McDonnell Douglas has built over the last 50 years.
"We looked at a lot of potential sites, but our facilities department picked this one because it had everything we needed," Hanson said. "It's close to our fabrication facilities, fairly close to the airport, and has good freeway and rail access. With parts coming in from suppliers all over the world, good transportation is important."
Douglas began moving into the development last spring. It currently occupies the two finished buildings with a total of about 250,000 square feet of space.
One of the other four buildings is completed and the rest will be ready for occupancy by Nov. 1, and Douglas plans to be completely moved in by Nov. 15, Hanson said.
When the move is completed, Watson Industrial Park will be providing nearly 9 million square feet of mostly warehouse space to a host of tenants ranging from retailer K mart Corp. to luxury auto maker Mercedes Benz, Cannon said.
"There's probably room in the center for another 1 million square feet," Cannon said. "We should be built out by 1989 or 1990."
The McDonnell leases with Watson will also provide a big boost to the economy of Carson and surrounding areas.
A study prepared by the Pasadena Research Institute recently estimated that the leases will generate a direct payroll of about $200 million over seven years, and an indirect $72 million in related consumer expenditures.
In turn, those expenditures will produce about $1 million in new sales tax revenue in Carson alone, the study predicted.