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Ventura County Rents Lure Commerce From North, South : Office Vacancies Fall to 16% as Firms Relocate

August 04, 1988|DENISE HAMILTON | Times Staff Writer

Commercial office vacancies in Ventura County dropped from 22% to 16% this year as firms from West Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley and Santa Barbara relocated to take advantage of cheaper rents, real estate industry spokesmen said.

Additionally, an increasing number of Santa Barbara residents are moving to the Ventura area to take advantage of cheaper housing, said Thad Seligman, a vice president and sales manager at Grubb & Ellis' Ventura County office.

"In the next few years, we're going to see more and more companies relocating," said Seligman, whose office this week released a study of commercial, retail and industrial real estate in Ventura County.

He added that commercial vacancies might drop as low as 12% by year's end if demand continues strong. Oxnard's 21-story Union Bank Tower is 65% leased, and more than 600,000 square feet of office space is under construction in the so-called "technology corridor" at the county's eastern tip, the report said.

The decrease in commercial vacancies occurred despite retrenching by defense industry firms, many of which are opting for 18-to-24-month leases instead of 3-to-5-year leases, because of the uncertain political and economic climate, Seligman said.

The report found that industrial growth will increase dramatically by the end of the year as projects in Oxnard's 1,600-acre North East Industrial District--which was master-planned for manufacturing and distribution warehouses--reach completion. Those projects include Northfield Industrial Park, Plaza del Norte, Seagate Business Park and Sammis Business Center.

Retail vacancy rates rose from 3% to 7% this year as two major anchor outlets, Oxnard's Liquor Barn and two Lumber City stores in Ventura, left the county. But Seligman said new businesses, including possibly an Adray's discount appliance store, would soon move in to fill the vacuum and bring vacancies back to the historical standard of 1% to 2%.

"There's a huge demand from national and regional retailers. This is the next stop for them to grow," Seligman said.

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