It has been more than 10 years since Ventura saw the completion of a major industrial project, but with the development of the Victoria Corporate Center at 2879 Seaborg Ave., some much needed space will soon be available.
The mixed-use project will feature at least 175,500 square feet of indoor commercial space, 693 parking spaces and 28-foot clear height ceilings. There will also be front-side loading docks and exceptional exposure to car traffic.
“What’s critical about the zoning is that it will allow us a lot of parking,” Alex Olsen of Becker Group Real Estate Investments and Property Management said, “This means we can do gyms and restaurants. We’re doing a microbrewery and an indoor rock climbing studio. There could also be heavy office use.”
The first 43,000-square-foot, $5 million phase already has some of its walls up but the entire project is slated for completion in January of 2020. Olsen said the approval process for the project started back in 2008.
Since there are powerlines going over part of the lot where the project is located, about 10 acres of the land will be developed and the other nine acres, which are owned by the Southern California Edison Company, are currently being leased for $100,000 per year.
“Planning has been the most difficult part of the project so far,” Olsen said.
He added that there is hope amongst Ventura brokers that the Victoria Corporate Center will spur other developments in the area but Mike Tharp of NAI Capital Commercial Real Estate Services is not so certain.
“I don’t think this project will do much to get the others going. It is kind of a standalone project but the timing is good,” Tharp said. “There is not a whole lot of competition. The buildings are built with a good clear height. Most of the older buildings in Ventura do not have those kinds of features.”
Historically, absorption of larger spaces has been a little more difficult in Ventura than in other Central Coast cities but the overall industrial real estate market is healthy. A combination of suitable market conditions were what allowed the Victoria Corporate Center to finally break ground in recent months even though the land was purchased about ten years ago.
“I think things have tightened up,” Tharp said. “Vacancy rates are down and if there’s a suitable tenant out there, they would find a good fit there. This project should also test the market a bit and may motivate some guys that are sitting on the fence.”
Ventura City Councilman Matthew LaVere sees the Victoria Corporate Center as a “win-win” situation as it will provide more local jobs and grow the local economy. As the city nears completion of the planning phases for the commercial zone on the east end it calls Focus Area One, a competitive business district seems to be on the horizon.
“My colleagues on the City Council and I all recognize the importance of these projects to our local economy,” LaVere said.
The City of Ventura is currently in the process of hiring a new economic development manager and LaVere said he plans on proactively working with that person to assist local companies in their expansion efforts and to recruit new companies into Ventura.
A market trends report done on Ventura County by Xceligent Information Technology and Services said that a shortage of modern industrial buildings in the San Fernando Valley should cause some overflow of tenants into the area.
That is great news for Olsen and the Victoria Corporate Center, as there is currently only one confirmed tenant, but there is still plenty of time for expanding businesses to discover the project.
The city is also working to improve its permitting process and to ease the restrictions in getting business done locally.
“Partnering with our great chamber of commerce, I will personally reach out to potential tenants to show that the city of Ventura is here to help them grow and succeed,” LaVere said.
Ventura’s industrial and commercial zones are essential parts of the local economy because of the tax revenue they generate but they also create high-paying jobs that help Ventura’s economy expand.
Industrial using jobs increased by about 500 from July 2016 to July 2017 and vacancy rates increased from 2.6 percent in the second quarter of 2017 to 2.9 percent at the close of the third quarter of 2017. Total available rates went from 4.7 percent to 4.3 percent.
If all goes according to plan, Ventura will soon have some much needed industrial space that it can use to pull itself out of the economic lull that it has been in for a number of years.