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Tenants Unveiled at High-Tech Complex

Real Estate: Ending its secrecy, Enfrastructure identifies the young firms at its full-service campus.

February 08, 2001|KAREN ALEXANDER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

After months of secrecy, Enfrastructure Inc. revealed a list of tenants at its high-tech office complex in Aliso Viejo, a full-service hotel of sorts for young businesses.

They include an Internet application provider from Pittsburgh, a one-man software firm and a hush-hush start-up known as Tribal Knowledge.

Enfrastructure has billed itself as an ideal campus for burgeoning companies, with flexible space to accommodate rapidly changing work forces, month-to-month rents and on-site amenities such as software rental and financial services.

Enfrastructure's founders Scott Blum, who founded Internet superstore Buy.com, and former Koll Co. real estate executive James Watson established the campus with financial support from on-site business partners, including Microsoft, IBM and accounting firm Arthur Andersen.

Enfrastructure did not reveal terms of tenant leases or other specifics of its finances. And it remains to be seen whether Enfrastructure's concept can be successful given the ongoing fallout in the high-tech industry.

Nicholas Duncan is the founder and only full-time employee at e-Forms NOW! Inc., a 3-year-old software company that allows businesses to use and process forms online without writing new computer code. Duncan says he's paying about 50% more for a 10-by-14-foot office at Enfrastructure than he would pay for comparable space elsewhere. But he believes the "intangibles" will make it worthwhile.

For one, Enfrastructure has agreed to help promote his business. Also, "we needed to improve our image," said Duncan, who works from home and confesses he's often in his pajamas. Having an office--and an Enfrastructure receptionist to answer his phone calls--will give him more credibility with potential clients.

"In this day and age after the 'dot-com' slump, credibility is half the battle," he said.

Among the other tenants are:

* CS&O, an Internet application service provider out of Pittsburgh. It has 11 employees working on a contract with Orange County to measure the outcomes of several health organizations that are receiving money from the state's cigarette taxes.

* PI Claims, a four-person start-up that handles personal injury billing and collections for the medical industry. The company is paying $4,200 a month for its work stations, and agreed to give Enfrastructure warrants to purchase up to 7.5% of its company in the future.

But Chief Executive Byron Linde estimates he will save approximately $350,000 in the first year by using Enfrastructure's equipment and computer networks.

* Interactive Media Network moved into its new office Wednesday. The seven-person company makes interactive plasma displays for commercial use. Chief Executive Brian McKay said he expects to ramp up the size of his staff quickly as the 2-year-old company prepares to hit the market. He said the flexibility of Enfrastructure appealed to him.

* Tribal Knowledge, an online liability insurance broker to e-commerce companies. The four-person team will move into two small offices at Enfrastructure in March.

* Watson McAndrew and Associates Chief Executive Don Watson said he will be moving his three-person Internet application service provider firm into Enfrastructure today, just two days after he signed the lease. He could have found office space for half of the $3,600 he's paying them. "But I'd never do it," he said.

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