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Kia to move parts facility to Riverside

August 08, 2007|Roger Vincent | Times Staff Writer

Auto manufacturer Kia Motors America has agreed to relocate its national parts distribution center from Chino to Meridian Business Park in Riverside, the park's developer said Tuesday.

The business park is being built on land that was formerly part of March Air Reserve Base, one of several Southern California military bases that are being fully or partially converted to civilian use.

Kia will leave a 258,450-square-foot facility in Chino and move in to a new, 404,000-square-foot distribution center being built on Meridian Parkway in Riverside, said Lang Cottrell, regional president of developer LNR Commercial Property Group.

Parties involved in the transaction declined to put a value on it, but a real estate industry expert who asked not to be identified because terms are confidential said the lease was worth about $35 million.

Kia will open the center in January, said spokesman Alex Fedorak. It will store 15,000 parts and be the primary parts distribution point for 126 car dealers in 14 states. The 25 employees there will also fill orders for the rest of the United States and Puerto Rico.

"Kia continues its expansion in the United States to support the steady increase in sales," B.G. Lee, chief executive of Kia Motors America, said in a statement. "This new parts distribution center will have a major supporting role in both Western regional and national growth."

The South Korean carmaker is the first tenant in the second phase of Meridian Business Park, a 1,000-acre development along Interstate 215 carved from part of the military base in 2000.

Tenants in the first phase include food service distributor McClane Co. and giant British retailer Tesco, which is set to open stores in Southern California this fall and has put its distribution center in the industrial park.

Industrial space is finally getting a little easier to come by in the eastern Inland Empire, said real estate broker David Kim of Studley, who represented Kia in the lease.

"We were extremely tight 18 months ago," he said, with vacancy as low as 2%. It's still difficult for businesses to find industrial space, but vacancy has crept up to 5% or 6%.

"The economy is slowing down a little bit," Kim said. "Fewer orders are coming in and the entire food chain stops from the shelf backward."

Another grocery retailer, Stater Bros., announced Monday that it had renewed the lease on its headquarters and distribution center at the former Norton Air Force Base in Colton for $38 million.

roger.vincent@latimes.com

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