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Thursday, Aug 11, 2022
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Brokerages Moving in to Take Advantage of Boom

NAI Capital has hired a brokerage team headed by retail specialist Bert Abel to open a branch office in Valencia as the area prepares to add 1.5 million square feet of retail space. The move follows similar efforts by other brokerage firms which have increasingly found their business shifting north as available space in the San Fernando Valley dwindles. “We’re responsible right now for 17 shopping centers in varying stages of construction (in the area),” said Bert Abel, a 10-year veteran of Grubb & Ellis who will head NAI’s new office as executive vice president and branch manager. “Five years ago I was still 60 percent in the San Fernando Valley and some Ventura County. Today the work we do is 75 percent Santa Clarita-based and 25 percent Antelope Valley based and the Antelope Valley is going to take over pretty soon.” Abel will be joined by his former team from Grubb, including John Cserkuti, senior vice president, and associates Allison Abel and Cindy Flynn. In addition, Yair Haimoff, an industrial specialist at NAI’s Encino office, will be moving to the new location and another four brokers, including office specialists are expected to come on board by mid-year. Population growth in the Santa Clarita Valley, which currently houses about 238,000 residents, is expected to double in the next 20 years, and that trend is fueling a burst of retail development. “Our residents are spending money elsewhere because of a variety of reasons and probably because we don’t have a store, a restaurant or an entertainment venue they want,” said Carrie Rogers, economic development manager for the city of Santa Clarita, which has conducted studies on residents’ shopping patterns. “People have been commuting during the week and they would prefer on the weekend to do things closer to home.” The demand for retail stores is increasing as more residents move into both the city of Santa Clarita and outlying, unincorporated areas. “What we’ve been seeing is extraordinary growth potential in that Santa Clarita area and a strong population base,” said Michael Zugsmith, NAI chairman. “We feel there’s a great opportunity given the residential units on board now to have a very successful office there.” NAI’s move follows similar efforts by brokerage firms including Colliers International, Grubb & Ellis and GVA Daum, all of which have added branches in the area in recent years. “Most of the major brokerage houses are doing what we did five years ago,” said Craig Peters, executive vice president at CB Richard Ellis, which early on set up an office in Valencia as a result of the brokerage’s representation of Newhall Land and Farming. “It’s really just a reaction to the amount of business that’s opening up in the market.” Since then Newhall has been acquired by a joint venture of Lennar Co., and other large development groups have made inroads in the area. “There was a point in time that Newhall Land virtually controlled everything,” Zugsmith said. “That’s changed. It’s given an opportunity not just for additional brokerage activity, it’s also given the opportunity for additional developers and service providers within the real estate industry.”

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