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Community News: Southeast

CITY OF COMMERCE : Business Park to Customize Buildings

June 04, 1995|ENRIQUE LAVIN

Build it to order, and they will come.

Developers plan to build a $12-million, five-building business park on Bandini Boulevard that will be custom-made to the specifications of their tenants--a trend among developers and industrial cities to lure large businesses.

Once approved by the city, groundbreaking for the project could be in midsummer.

Dubbed Commerce Center II, the business park's buildings will range from 20,000 square feet to 115,000 square feet.

Randy Kendrick, co-owner of The Kendrick Co., which is developing the property, said the project has attracted two Los Angeles-based companies, one a garment manufacturer and the other a large food company. Their names are being withheld until negotiations are complete, but if recent trends hold true, the development could house companies that sell directly to the public.

"Commerce is becoming a wholesale outlet to the region because of its centralized location," said Kendrick, whose father, Ray, is his partner. "It gives shopping opportunities to the area at wholesale prices to the public. It's a strong trend in which Commerce is on the leading edge."

The Citadel, the city's highly successful factory outlet-store plaza, has been among those leading that merchandising trend.

And it's not uncommon to see light manufacturing plants offer products directly to consumers rather than going only through wholesalers.

The business complex would bring "jobs from out of the area into Commerce and lets businesses that are already in the city retain jobs there," said Kendrick, who is working with the Seeley Co. and Lee & Associates, both large commercial real-estate firms.

The property, at 6315 Bandini Blvd., was the site of the Davis Walker Corp. building until 1991. The Commerce Amtrak/Metrolink station on 25th Street is within walking distance.

In the last two decades, the 6.6-square mile city, 65% of which is zoned for industrial or commercial use, has seen a steady decrease in heavy industrial businesses. Chrysler, Uniroyal Tires and U.S. Steel departed in recent years to make room for large garment, textile and food manufacturers and importers.

"We are pleased about the project," said Mayor Artemio E. Navarro.

"It will be good to have 12 acres of vacant land put to productive use, providing jobs and adding to the economic vitality of Commerce and the Southeast region."

In addition to short-term construction employment, about 450 long-term jobs are expected to be created by the project.

Commerce Center II is modeled after the $12-million Commerce Center I at Garfield Avenue and Randolph Street, another Kendrick Co. project that was built to suit its tenants, among them Steel Sportswear.

Besides attracting businesses that can generate new sales-tax revenues and jobs, the developers give businesses an option to buy the property once it is built, said Ray Ramirez, assistant director of the city's community development department.

"This allows the opportunity for businesses to stay in town rather than moving out to some other city," Ramirez said.

"If we don't have the building, they will go to another town."

Such was the case of Najarian Furniture Co. After 15 years in the city, it relocated last week from a 120,000-square-foot facility to a 235,000-square-foot building in City of Industry in the San Gabriel Valley.

"Their preference would have been to stay in Commerce but there was nothing in the city," said Kendrick, who built the new building for Najarian.

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