When it comes to industrial and office development in the Antelope Valley, Lancaster and Palmdale have had their share of home runs.
Yet, there have been some whiffs as well.
For every BYD Motors Inc., a Chinese manufacturer of electric buses, or Kinkisharyo International, a Japanese light rail-car manufacturer, that opens up shop in north Los Angeles County, there are just as many strikeouts.
Take, for instance, Ecolution, a Lancaster company that proposed a $100 million automated recycling center in the city and then backed out in 2013 when unable to secure enough waste to make the venture profitable.
Or there’s the 130,000-square-foot building in Palmdale once occupied by contract manufacturer Senior Systems Inc. – until the company went out of business three years ago. Potential buyers have toured the empty building and at least one was close to making a deal, but it fizzled.
Kari Blackburn, senior project manager at the economic development department in Palmdale, said the city is anxious to breathe new life into the building at 600 Technology Drive but so far has had little luck.
“We have had lots of lookers but we have not found the perfect one yet,” Blackburn said.
Part of that might be perception.
For many Angelenos, the Antelope Valley is simply the boonies, a land of scrub brush to be observed through a car window on the way to Las Vegas or Mammoth. And it is vast, stretching nearly 1,200 square miles on the edge of the Mojave Desert and straddling Los Angeles and Kern counties.
But all that open space is also the attraction. The industrial market in the Los Angeles basin around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is tight with a vacancy rate hovering around 3.5 percent, while new construction in the San Fernando Valley is costly given land values. Santa Clarita still has space but it’s not as plentiful or as cheap as found farther up the 14 Freeway.
Read the full story and check out our entire real estate quarterly in the Jan. 26 issue of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.