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VENTURA COUNTY REVIEW

Sunbelt Properties Breaks Ground on Huge Project

August 13, 1996|LEO SMITH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Moorpark-based Sunbelt Properties broke ground in Oxnard recently on the largest speculative industrial real estate project in Ventura County in the 1990s.

The planned 268,722-square-foot project, a combined three commercial buildings along Rice Avenue, is scheduled for completion in December, according to Michael Walsh, associate vice president for Los Angeles-based Daum Commercial Real Estate Services.

Walsh and his business partner and wife Melinda Walsh, who run the Daum office in Camarillo, are the exclusive agents for the project. Michael Walsh said he anticipates the building being fully leased by the time construction is completed.

"It is designed for warehousing, distribution and manufacturing, as well as high-tech type uses," Walsh said. "We are looking for businesses in the area as well as from outside the area looking to relocate here."

Negotiations with prospective tenants are underway, Walsh said, but no leases have been signed. Officials of Sunbelt Properties declined to comment.

Phase One of the Sunbelt project will consist of two structures totaling 189,530 square feet at 350 North Rice Ave. and 1000 N. Rice Ave. A third building, a 79,192-square-foot structure at 400 N. Rice Ave., is planned for Phase Two.

Walsh said that ideally, a single tenant will occupy each building, but he said the buildings will be constructed to accommodate additional tenants if necessary.

The timing of the construction, Walsh said, coincides with a particularly low commercial real estate vacancy rate throughout the county.

"The vacancy rate is down around 5% right now for general industrial-type properties," he said. "A lot of buildings have been built in Ventura County in the 10,000- to 100,000-square-foot size range, but primarily we are out of buildings. The inventory of existing properties has dried up."

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