When he was in his late 20s two decades ago, Marshall Ezralow specialized in building moderate-rental apartment buildings in great quantities, with standardization of design to speed construction.
In the five years before 1972, he built and managed 18,000 apartment units, 10,000 in the San Fernando Valley.
"I was the second largest apartment developer in the country in 1971 and 1972," he said. Ezralow sold his company in 1969 to Shareholders Capital Corp., but he stayed on as president. He still manages several thousand apartments.
He switched his emphasis to industrial and commercial projects in 1975, and stayed away from building apartments for the next eight or nine years.
Develop and Manage
Today the 50-year-old Ezralow, a graduate of Montebello High School, specializes in multi-tenant office buildings. Marshall S. Ezralow & Associates has developed and manages in excess of 4 million square feet of office, commercial and industrial space in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Ezralow outlined his development philosophy while in his newly decorated office next to his flagship 9-year-old Mid Valley Athletic Club in Reseda. The 70,000-square-foot health club is part of a nearly 200,000-square-foot business park built on the 12.5-acre site of the Reseda Drive-In Theater.
He moved to his headquarters at 6900 Canby Ave. from the Westside seven years ago for the logical reason that most of his 200 employees live in the Valley. "I'm in the office three times a week, so it makes more sense to have the office here with me driving in from the Westside than having nearly 200 Valley residents drive to the Westside."
The San Fernando Valley is the last reasonably close-in area that is in the center of a huge population base, in Ezralow's view.
"Everything I have in the Valley is fully leased and I've never had a vacancy," he said. "I have projects in Lancaster, drawing from that market, but the Valley is the ideal market for most of Los Angeles."
Ezralow's newest project, the $9.3-million Arrow Business Center, under construction on Arrow Route and White Oak Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga, is typical of his multi-tenant developments in that it is geared to the needs of small- to moderate-size space users.
Scheduled for completion in June, the 151,000-square-foot project will have individual buildings ranging from 7,500 to 20,000 square feet. Office space will be available from 400 to 9,000 square feet, while industrial space--with office areas--is being offered in the 800- to 15,000-square-foot range.
"Developing these projects is very similar to developing apartments," he said. "They are management intensive, with many tenants that require our kind of organizational structure to handle."
Looks for Project
Like the Japanese and other foreign buyers, Ezralow is always on the lookout for a few good projects. "We are constantly looking for income and investment properties, including property that can be rehabilitated. I think a lot of the old manufacturing districts in Van Nuys, North Hollywood, Reseda and other communities will be recycled and rehabilitated like our Mid Valley project here in Reseda."
In addition to apartments for moderate-income tenants, Ezralow and partner Brian dler are developing speculative houses in Beverly Hills and Bel-Air--in many cases for the same foreign investors who are his competitors in property acquisitions.