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Real Estate—Broker Sees Turnaround on Way in Antelope Valley

Is it really, really time? For years now, folks promoting Antelope Valley have promised that a resurgence in the area was about to begin. And while there’s been some real estate activity over the past few years, it pales in comparison to the San Fernando, Conejo and Santa Clarita valleys. Now CB Richard Ellis Inc. has opened an office in Lancaster, hoping to catch the long-awaited wave of migration into the community. Officials at CB acknowledge that the neighboring communities of Lancaster and Palmdale have been slow to replace the business base lost when the aerospace industry collapsed in the early 1990s, but they believe that slowly, but surely, the tables are turning back in Antelope Valley’s favor. “We’ve now been through the cycle and all the economic indicators indicate the area is going to experience a substantial amount of residential, industrial and commercial growth,” said Vince Roche, first vice president with CB, who will head the new office from his base in Bakersfield. Two new brokers brought into the firm, Chuck Hoey and Lenny Dance, will be based at the new Lancaster facility at 43619 N. 17th St. Both will focus on industrial properties. In addition, one of the firm’s retail brokers will relocate to the area and there are plans to hire another broker specializing in multifamily properties. Antelope Valley had been home to a number of aerospace companies during the boom in that industry in the 1980s. But the area’s economy began to spiral downward when those companies either folded or relocated. Antelope Valley officials promoted the region as a less expensive alternative to the housing in the San Fernando Valley, but when the recession hit, and prices fell throughout Southern California, few saw any advantage to moving all the way to Antelope Valley. Now, said Roche, with the economy in the San Fernando Valley and Santa Clarita Valley strong, and prices for land and housing rising, Antelope Valley is once again poised to fill a void for more affordable commercial facilities and housing. “You can point to a couple of key transactions that indicate the area has turned the corner,” said Roche. In recent years, Rite-Aid Corp. and Michaels Stores Inc. have built warehousing facilities in the area. And last year Swissair Group announced that it plans to locate its service division for private airlines to Palmdale. Plans call for hiring some 5,000 to 6,000 employees. Still, Roche admits, the office has its work cut out for it. Unlike the areas with which it is competing, there are few existing facilities for commercial ventures. Industrial companies who are considering relocation to the area will either have to buy raw land and build facilities or contract for build to suit developments. “Part of our job will be canvassing users offering them another alternative,” he said. “Part of our job is promoting the area.” Calabasas Sublease Western General Insurance Co. has subleased 40,174 square feet of office space in Calabasas from Amwest Insurance Group in a nine-year deal valued at $10.2 million. Western General, an auto insurance company, will relocate from Encino to its new corporate headquarters at 5230 Las Virgenes Road at the end of the year. The ratings of two Amwest divisions late last year were downgraded after suffering underwriting losses and going into technical default on a loan. The company has suffered a string of losses. Sheryl Mazirow, senior vice president at Grubb & Ellis, represented Western General. Marc Spellman and John Sabourin of Colliers Seeley represented Amwest. Chatsworth Lease An electronics manufacturing company has leased a 37,940-square-foot industrial facility in Chatsworth. Tedea-Huntleigh Inc. and its sister company Transducer Controls Corp., both divisions of a global conglomerate based in Israel, will be expanding their facilities by about 30 percent with the move. The companies will occupy their new area headquarters at 20630 Plummer St. in July. They are moving from a facility in Canoga Park. Dennis Marciniak of Grubb & Ellis along with Mark Rauch at The Staubach Co. represented the tenants in the 10-year lease valued at $2.5 million. David Hoffberg at Delphi Business Properties represented the landlord, Striks Properties. Van Nuys Land Deal City Storage Group acquired a 70,000-square-foot parcel in Van Nuys for $1.2 million. The Tujunga-based self-storage company will build a 104,000-square-foot facility on the site, located at 7346 Sepulveda Blvd. Joseph Gabbaian and Bert Abel of Grubb & Ellis represented the buyer and the seller, Shaffer Family Trust. Family Affair Steadfast Lakeview Terrace LP, an affiliate of Steadfast Properties, has acquired a 128-unit multifamily building at 12326 Foothill Blvd. in Pacoima for $7.3 million. Dean Zander with Hendricks & Partners in Encino represented the seller, Spieker Cos. Mark McDonald, also with Hendricks, represented the buyer. Woodland Hills Law A law firm has purchased a 5,400-square-foot office building in Woodland Hills for $745,000. The Law Offices of Daniel J. Donahue will be relocating to the facility, at 22553 Ventura Blvd. from Tarzana. Craig Weisman of TOLD Partners represented the buyer. The seller, G. Halpin, was represented by Gribin Properties. Senior reporter Shelly Garcia can be reached at (818) 676-1750, ext. 14 or by e-mail at sgarcia@sfvbj.com.

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