A New Planned Community Set In Santa Clarita


A New Planned Community Set In Santa Clarita By SHELLY GARCIA Senior Reporter Separate but related efforts by the city of Santa Clarita, the local school district and a private developer, along with a number of different home builders is creating a de-facto planned community in Santa Clarita, the first such place to emerge in an area that has been dominated by the mother of master-planned communities, Newhall Land and Farming Co.’s Valencia. At the core of the effort is Centre Pointe, a 240 acre industrial park under development by Spirit Properties that sits between the 5 and 14 freeways on either end and Soledad Canyon Road to the north. When completed, the $225 million development, including some 3 million square feet of buildings master planned with interior roadways and street lights, will accommodate users of 2,000 square feet up to 35,000 square feet and employ somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 new workers. In walking distance is the newly constructed George Caravahlo Santa Clarita Sports Complex, a 20-acre development with a fully equipped gym, racquetball and basketball courts and an aquatic center that workers in the industrial complex can access and a 2,600-student high school now under construction. Within a seven-mile radius of the complex, 30,000 homes are currently under construction or in planning stages from a variety of different developers. “There were three entities, the school district, the city and Larry Rasmussen (principal of Spirit) all starting to proceed on their own,” said Gail Ortiz, public information officer for the city of Santa Clarita. “They had a meeting and talked about what they were doing, and they decided they could do it better together.” Newhall developed its community along Interstate 5 creating what has become a densely populated residential and commercial hub west of San Fernando Road in the city of Santa Clarita. Meanwhile a large area to the east that extends out to the Antelope Valley Freeway (14), has remained relatively undeveloped. Developers bypassed that portion of the city because it had no direct freeway access getting there meant virtually circling the city and backtracking through back roads. And the site itself required large-scale infrastructure improvements to level out the hills, stabilize landslides and move utility lines. The work is extremely costly, requires specialized expertise and is especially unforgiving if mistakes are made. Out of retirement But Rasmussen, who has never developed a commercial property before, for more than 30 years specialized in just such work, developing infrastructure for freeways, dams and airports as well as commercial complexes. He came out of retirement and dug in. Working together, the school district, the city and Rasmussen were able to design each part of the project with the other parts in mind. The roadway could be designed to connect the school site and the industrial park; dirt could be moved from areas where there was too much of it to places where there was not enough; water and utility lines could be relocated as needed. Spirit did the design, graded the entire site and, most important, designed and, along with the city, built Golden Valley Road, which provides direct access to the school and will eventually traverse the area, connecting Highway 14 to Interstate 5. “Congestion is the number one issue,” said Rasmussen. “Number two is the quality of the schools. The road is a direct tie-in for everybody. This road is important to us, but it’s more important in the grand scheme of things.” Working with Jim Linn and Nigel Stout, brokers at Grubb & Ellis, Rasmussen developed Centre Pointe to fill a niche for smaller businesses and developers than those Newhall caters to. “The smallest lot you’ll find at Valencia Gateway is well over an acre,” said David Clark, a principal of Clark Management & Development, which is in escrow to acquire 13 acres at Centre Pointe. “Whereas in this project there are lots as small as 25,000 feet. It lends itself more to the smaller building.” Clark plans to construct about 14 buildings on the property, ranging in size from 8,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet. “If I were to buy a 15-acre lot somewhere else, I would have to put in a street and utilities,” Clark said. “Small, finished lots are hard to come by.” Other aspects of the park are also designed to cater to smaller users. Each building stands on its own lot, so it can be marketed for sale or lease. Each has its own secured yard and, unlike Valencia’s industrial complex, users can park their trucks outside. “I’ve got a fleet of trucks I’ve got to park somewhere,” said Rob Kennedy, president of Kennco Plumbing Inc., who bought a 15,000-square-foot build to suit now under construction. “We’ve been looking for a number of years. It drew us because being in the center of town, knowing Golden Valley Road was going to go through, it gives us great access. So I looked at all those factors and it was a great place to be.”