The industrial/research and development belt in the western part of the San Fernando Valley, as well as the Conejo and Simi valleys, is a study in contrasts, with high vacancies in many large buildings and high-occupancy factors in a few projects.
Calabasas Tech Center, a $26-million, 260,000-square-foot high-tech research-and-development office park that opened last month, is in the latter category.
The success of the project--it opened with 72% of its space leased--is no accident, according to Michael Baskauskas of Jaric Development Partners, Los Angeles, the developers.
"Calabasas Tech Center is an example of a flexible, down-sized project aimed at tenants who require less than 50,000 square feet of space," he said, adding that the largest tenant--First Interstate Bank's Trust Operations Center--occupies 73,000 square feet, while the smallest tenant--Keller Construction Co.--is leasing only 2,000 square feet.
Leases Valued at $20 Million
The total value of the leases at the seven-building project on Agoura Road near the intersection of Las Virgenes Road and the Ventura (101) Freeway is $20 million. Rental rates range from 95 cents to $1.10 per square foot per month, triple net, with tenant improvements included, Baskauskas said.
"We instructed our architect, Ware & Malcomb of Irvine, to design the buildings so they could be readily subdivided," he said. "Five of the seven buildings have mezzanine levels that can be expanded to provide additional office space."
Among the other tenants are Protocol Computers, with 39,600 square feet; Interactive Machines Inc., 20,850 square feet; Saki Magnetics, a division of TDK, 18,600 square feet; Creative Computer Applications, 16,750 square feet; Cheesecake Factory corporate offices, 16,500 square feet, and Technology Research International, 6,500 square feet.
Baskauskas said that the popularity of the so-called Technology Corridor along the Ventura Freeway has already resulted in overbuilding, with office and industrial vacancies averaging about 35%.
Two Other Projects
"We're cautious of the high vacancy rates, but nevertheless we have plans to develop two other mixed-use office centers in Calabasas," he said. "The success we've had at Calabasas Tech Center confirms our research and continues to support our belief about the strength of the small- and medium-size tenant market."
Jaric's new projects in Calabasas include the $28.5-million, 280,000-square-foot Calabasas Commerce Center, with offices and retail development and Park Centre at Calabasas, a $250-million, 1.8-million-square-foot, mixed-use development.
"What I like about this area (Calabasas) is that it's easy to sell," said Baskauskas, who was a Coldwell Banker industrial broker in the west San Fernando Valley for 10 years before joining Jaric. "It's a perfect backfill area, right in the middle between Warner Center (in Woodland Hills) and Westlake Village."
The unincorporated community in the extreme western part of Los Angeles County wasn't always so easy to sell, he admits, saying that Calabasas was skipped over by the rapid development that followed Warner Center and has since spread west of Calabasas to Agoura Hills and Westlake Village.