Hillwood Investment Properties, a company owned by the Perot family, bought more than 1 million square feet of vacant new warehouse space near the former Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino as part of a strategy to take advantage of the depressed real estate market.
The Plano, Texas, developer and landlord said Wednesday that it acquired two empty buildings from New York asset manager BlackRock in a deal valued at more than $20 million. The warehouses were built last year by a competitor of Hillwood's next to Hillwood's Alliance California development in San Bernardino, said John Magness, a senior vice president.
"Our plan is to lease them up," Magness said.
Hillwood paid cash and was able to buy the buildings for less than it would cost to build them, he said. Falling occupancy and rents have driven down the value of many industrial properties in the east Inland Empire.
"Companies that built during bubble time are having to sell, usually at a loss," Magness said.
Hillwood is the master developer of Alliance California, an industrial warehouse and distribution complex being built on part of the former Norton Air Force Base, which closed in 1994.
Hillwood was founded by H. Ross Perot Jr., the son of billionaire businessman and former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot. The younger Perot is chairman of Hillwood.
Other tenants at Hillwood's industrial park in San Bernardino include Mattel Inc., Kohl's Corp., Pep Boys and Stater Bros.