REColSFVFeb/bb/21 inches/mark2nd A response management company that’s been a fixture in the San Fernando Valley for 30 years is growing under new ownership and is headed for expanded (and expandable) new digs in the next valley to the north. The firm, Harte-Hanks Response Management, has preleased an entire 115,220-square-foot industrial building (plus 20,000-square-foot mezzanine office) in Valencia. The company, formerly known as Inquiry Handling Service, has been based in the City of San Fernando for three decades. It was purchased last June by NYSE-traded media firm Harte-Hanks Communications. So what exactly does the response management group do? It helps the sales and marketing divisions of its clients particularly big in the computer, electronics and software fields increase sales by handling functions such as telemarketing, literature distribution, sales-lead management and seminar coordination. The parent company, headquartered in San Antonio, also publishes newspapers, owns television stations and offers direct-mail services. Harte-Hanks Response Management signed the long-term relocation lease just after Newhall Land & Farming Co. began developing the building on a speculative basis (i.e., without a pre-construction tenant commitment) in its high-momentum Valencia Commerce Center business park just off the Golden State Freeway (I-5). Scott Knight, the response management group’s general manager, noted that the division will double the size of its current facility, on Parkside Drive San Fernando, when 140 to 150 employees make the move to Valencia. Harte-Hanks can expand its future home, at Franklin Parkway and Commerce Center Drive, up to about 175,000 square feet as is needed, he added. Besides preferring a modern new facility in a prestige area like Valencia, Knight also said the growing company wanted to make sure its facility would include 500 parking spots within five years. After Harte-Hanks bought Inquiry Handling from the local owners last June, Knight explained, the new owner signed a short-term lease with the sellers who continue to own the San Fernando property. Ross Thomas of Delphi Business Properties negotiated the lease transaction, terms of which weren’t disclosed, on behalf of Harte-Hanks. CB Commercial Real Estate Group’s Doug Sonderegger and Craig Peters, who handle leasing at Valencia Commerce Center, noted that industrial vacancy in the area has dipped to a scant 1.8 percent. Harte-Hanks is the latest of several expanding companies seeking modern facilities in a master-planned environment that have relocated from the bigger Valley to the south. The Valencia Commerce Center is within the 3,200-acre master-planned Valencia Gateway commercial/industrial complex being developed by Newhall Land, the NYSE-traded master limited partnership that has long been Santa Clarita Valley’s dominant developer. Plastics firm to expand The fact that Harte-Hanks snatched up the entire building just after construction commenced illustrates the level of tenant demand in Valencia. During the same week that Harte-Hanks signed its lease, another fast-expanding tenant already in the Valencia Gateway development committed to a Valencia Commerce Center “spec” building just after construction started. Cosmic Plastics Inc., which makes plastic resins used for injection molding, preleased the entire 71,750-square-foot industrial building on Industry Drive. The company owned by Lillian Luh will relocate from about 32,000 square feet in two buildings it now occupies in Newhall Land’s nearby Valencia Industrial Center, the other big business park at Valencia Gateway. CB’s Peters and Sonderegger represented both landlord and tenant in negotiating that long-term lease transaction, terms of which, again, weren’t disclosed at Newhall Land’s request. But the veteran brokers did specify that Valencia Gateway ended 1996 with just over 1 million more square feet occupied than at the beginning of the year. In addition to the Harte-Hanks and Cosmic Plastics buildings, the brokers said they’re getting “good activity” from tenants interested in the other two speculative buildings now under construction, totaling just over 76,000 square feet, at Valencia Commerce Center. Next up: Another Valencia Commerce Center phase including eight buildings totaling 435,000 square feet are in planning. Not surprisingly, investors have just purchased some of the buildings Newhall Land developed and leased at Valencia Gateway. During the last two months of 1996, musical drum maker Remo Inc. purchased the 216,000-square-foot building it occupies, and Beverly Hills-based Crown Associates Realty Inc. bought the 93,000-footer occupied by Ultra Violet Devices Inc.