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MedPartners to Open Facility in Anaheim

Offices: Management services provider to lease four-story building for data center.


MedPartners Inc. said Thursday it plans to open a data center with 300 technology workers in Anaheim.

The bulk of these employees will move from the company's regional headquarters in Long Beach and about eight other Southern California locations. Company officials also said they are planning to hire some additional workers.

The Birmingham, Ala., company, a major provider of management services to physicians, will lease a four-story building previously occupied by county government on Orangewood Avenue near the Santa Ana Freeway. MedPartners will keep its regional headquarters in Long Beach.

The data center was necessary to accommodate the company's rapid growth, said Mark Wagar, president of MedPartner's Western operations. Southern California is the company's largest market with 5,000 physicians serving more than 1.5 million patients. The new 24-hour data center will manage all of the patient and billing information for these groups.

The decision is good news for Anaheim, where office vacancy rates have remained higher in the last two years than in many other parts of the county. The city has attracted manufacturers and industrial firms but had been slower to line up new tenants for office space until recently.

Office vacancies, which stood at 26% in the first quarter of 1996, have declined to 13.3% in the first quarter this year.

"We're very excited about the move," said Gay Forbes, Anaheim's economic development manager. "It's exactly the kind of business we are hoping to attract to the city--the information management side."

MedPartners, which plans to move into the building in October, had considered several other Southern California locations before deciding on Anaheim. The city helped attract the data center with lower electric and water rates from the city's utilities, as well as a fiber optic telecommunications system that can transmit information more quickly and accurately than conventional phone lines.

Landlord Koll Real Estate Group of Newport Beach signed the seven-year, $11-million lease 1 1/2 months after purchasing the building for $5 million.

Dubbed Metro Center, the building previously housed some county administrative operations that were eliminated after the county's bankruptcy. Recently, Koll began renovating the building, putting in new landscaping, paint and signage.


Anaheim Office Vacancy Rate

MedPartners Inc.'s move to Anaheim from Long Beach should help the city's office vacancy rate continue its general decline, which has been occurring for about a year. The city rate still runs a bit higher than the overall county mark:

1st 1994

Anaheim: 13.0%

Orange County: 16.2%

1st 1997

Anaheim: 13.3%

Orange County: 12.0%

Source: CB Commercial; Researched by JANICE L. JONES / Los Angeles Times

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