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Boeing to Sell 48-Acre Parcel in Seal Beach

Real estate: The firm wants to turn the undeveloped land into a business park. It's one of the last sites of its kind in the area.

March 15, 2000|DARYL STRICKLAND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Boeing Co. said Tuesday it plans to sell 48 acres of undeveloped land next to the headquarters of its space and communications unit in Seal Beach.

Boeing said it is working with city officials to develop a business park at the site. The company has been shedding facilities and real estate as land prices, especially in coastal California, have moved to record levels.

The company declined to disclose the land's value or a time frame for completing the project. A city official said the parcels would be marketed to high-tech and light-industrial users.

"It would be a logical use of land and would bring highly skilled and highly paying jobs to the site," said Keith Till, Seal Beach city manager.

But the sale of 44 vacant acres and a 4-acre parking lot will have no effect on employment, the company said. Boeing's real estate unit has been working with city officials to secure entitlements for new roads, and plans to sell land to corporate tenants.

"We are in a good economic cycle and are experiencing a very tight market for developable land for sale," said Phil Cyburt, president of the company's real estate unit, Boeing Realty Corp. Boeing took over the Seal Beach complex as part of its $3.2-billion acquisition of Rockwell International Corp.'s defense and aerospace operations in 1996.

"It's one of the best undeveloped pieces of land left in western Orange County," said Clyde Stauff, senior vice president at Colliers Seeley, an Irvine real estate brokerage.

Large industrial sites, such as this one, are scarce throughout Orange County, analysts said. Buyers seeking large tracts have been forced to look elsewhere, such as the Inland Empire.

With vacancy rates for new buildings falling below 5%, analysts said, there's little land for sale. In fact, most industrial land holders have been getting record rates for leasing rather than selling their holdings.

The land shortage has pushed up prices roughly $2 per square foot above their peak of $12-$13 in the late 1980s, Stauff said.

The Boeing site could command prices of $15 per square foot or more, he said.

"It's a good time to be a landowner," Stauff said. The site would be attractive for companies that may use the port in nearby Long Beach, but prefer to keep their business in Orange County.

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