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Office Vacancy Rate Dips in Ventura County

August 31, 1993|Jack Searles

Ventura County has one of the highest office vacancy rates in the nation, but the commercial real estate market in the county finally appears to be breaking out of a long slump.

The county's rate in the second quarter was 22.7%--higher, for example, than downtown Los Angeles' 17.8% but lower than San Diego's 25.2%.

In its quarterly survey, Grubb & Ellis Commercial Real Estate Services found that 1.4 million square feet of Ventura County office space stands empty.

Still, the current rate represents an improvement over 24.2% in the first quarter and 24.4% in the second quarter of 1992.

"More and more business people are expressing an interest in moving to Ventura County from Los Angeles," said Michael Slater, a broker with Grubb & Ellis' Oxnard office.

"They're fed up with the crime and all the other problems in the big city, and they're attracted to the lifestyle of the Conejo Valley," Slater said.

Dirk D. Kittredge, Grubb & Ellis' research director in Oxnard, said two troubled Oxnard office buildings--the never-occupied Chevron Building and the recently renamed 1000 Town Center Drive--continue to act as a drag on the county's office market. The vacancy rate would be only about 20% if it weren't for the 180,000-square foot Chevron structure and the 110,000-square-foot Town Center building, which until recently was named North Coast Executive Center, Kittredge said.

"The Chevron Building is 100% empty and 1000 Town Center is about 60% vacant," he said.

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