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Team of Brokers Benefits From the Drive to Valencia

Team of Brokers Benefits From the Drive to Valencia By JACQUELINE FOX Staff Reporter Many a broker has been in on one real estate deal or the other in the Santa Clarita Valley since Newhall Land & Farming Co. first launched one of the largest and most valuable land liquidations in history during the late 1960s. But few have had the kinds of careers Doug Sonderegger and Craig Peters of CB Richard Ellis have. CB Richard Ellis took the lead on both commercial and industrial development opportunities in the Santa Clarita Valley early on. In fact, the company locked in an exclusive to represent Newhall Land on industrial sales and leases inside Newhall’s Valencia Gateway project, L.A. County’s largest master planned high-tech and industrial center. And for the last 13 years Sonderegger and Peters, senior vice presidents at CB, have dominated the industrial real estate scene in the area, controlling roughly 80 percent of the market for land sales, investments and long-term leasing, including most Newhall projects. Sonderegger, 47, a Nebraska native and Sherman Oaks resident, has been with CB since 1982. He was already mining the Santa Clarita Valley when, in 1985, he was asked to train a rookie broker, Peters, 38, a Valley native and Santa Clarita resident. That was the beginning of what Sonderegger calls a growing trend in real estate brokering at CB and across the industry as a whole. “We are one of the oldest real estate ‘teams’ in the San Fernando Valley, so we were teaming up before teaming up was cool,” he said. Clearly, the formation of their partnership coincided with the beginning of a significant phase of industrial development in the Santa Clarita Valley, with Newhall leading the way. While the two broker transactions for other developments, their primary focus has been the 4,500-acre Gateway, which includes the Valencia Commerce Center and the Valencia Industrial Center. They have brokered sales of roughly 16 million square feet of industrial market space for the Gateway, and there are still 9 million square feet left to sell. “We started out here in Valencia when there was approximately 2.5 million square feet of industrial building space under roof,” said Peters. “Today, it’s just under 16 million. So we’ve seen a lot of development take place here over the years, and it’s been very exciting.” Sonderegger and Peters were number 1 on both the San Fernando Valley Business Journal’s lists of top-producing brokers for industrial leases and industrial sales in the Santa Clarita Valley for 2001. All told, they sold 900,965 square feet of industrial space and handled leases for 320,641 square feet in the Santa Clarita Valley in 2001. Among deals they closed last year were: – The sale of a $20 million, 324,945-square-foot facility to PMRealty inside the Valencia Commerceplex I & II.; – The sale of a $9 million, 98,000-square-foot building on Avenue Paine in Valencia to Allecure Corp., the new biotech firm founded by former MiniMed owner Alfred Mann. – The lease of a 41,200-square-foot building to Desert Essence in a 5-year transaction worth $1.25 million. As hot as the industrial market may be now, Sonderegger and Peters both remember days, not too long ago, when getting developers or business owners to take a look at the Santa Clarita Valley was like asking them to drive to Timbuktu. “A lot of guys didn’t want to invest in the market out here,” said Peters. “Now, we have some of the greatest clients in the world.” “It was either, ‘Where is Valencia?’ or “I don’t want to go to Valencia,'” added Sonderegger. “Now it’s become a prestigious address.” The two said roughly half the business transactions they handle today involve relocations for established San Fernando Valley-based companies. Newhall Land may be the dominant developer in Valencia, but there are other non-Newhall transactions underway or still under negotiation that Sonderegger and Peters have brokered recently, or are expected to play a key role in down the road. The two recently represented Foster City-based Legacy Partners in the sale of 377 acres of former Lockheed aerospace land, now called the Rye Canyon in Valencia, for the new Mann Biomedical Park, already home to Mann’s Advanced Bionics. (CB Richard Ellis has exclusive rights to the Rye Canyon project.) Another 230,000 square feet of industrial building space on the south end of Rye Canyon is “under commitment,” according to Mike Haviland, Santa Clarita economic development director, and the Santa Clarita Planning Commission is set to approve another 220-acre business park nearby. And, considering the long-standing relationship CB and the Sonderegger/Peters team have established with Newhall, it’s a pretty sure bet their names will be connected with industrial projects planned for Newhall Land’s next big master-planned community: Newhall Ranch. According to officials with the city of Santa Clarita and Newhall Land, Sonderegger and Peters bring more than just a broker’s perspective to the table. They are active on several boards and commissions in the region and have played key roles as links between the city, developers and residents of the community. “I think what makes them unique to the area is that they have made a commitment to being available to us and meeting all our needs,” said Jim Brown, vice president of commercial and industrial properties for Newhall Land. “But they also have a tremendous professional ability out here in dealing with many of the property owners. They also have a community involvement that goes beyond the normal level, so they not only serve the community from a business standpoint, but from a personal one as well.” Haviland said that when he first went to work for the city 12 years ago he knew very little about real estate and, to this day, prefers to leave it to professionals. “My goal is not to edge into the territory of real estate professionals,” said Haviland. “So I’m very dependent on people like Craig and Doug. And it’s worked incredibly well. They really stand out as very rich in their understanding of the market here, and I couldn’t speak highly enough about them.”

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