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Tuesday, Oct 3, 2023

Ball Bearing Company Rolls Into New Offices

When John Burroughs decided to move his business to Santa Clarita, it was a rather easy decision. President of Next Point Bearing Group LLC, Burroughs relocated the company to a 20,000-square-foot industrial building in the Valencia Industrial Center in May. The move comes after decades of a predecessor company operating out of Van Nuys buildings that were constructed when Eisenhower was president. By contrast, the 28364 Avenue Crocker building in Santa Clarita dates from 1988 and features 24-foot ceilings, while landlord Rexford Industrial Realty Inc. of Los Angeles funded all of the build-out, which included painting, carpeting and doubling the office space to about 2,000 square feet. “The building up here is dramatically better,” Burroughs said. “For us, the extra 20 minutes is well worth it.” Next Point is a ball bearing distributor, acquiring products from international manufacturers and local suppliers. The company also operates a clean room out of its Santa Clarita facility, where it can do some light manufacturing and make modifications to bearings for specific customer needs. The clean room offers fully automated cleaning, drying and re-greasing or oiling for all bearing types. Burroughs declined to name any customers specifically, but said the firm supplies bearings to medical device manufacturers, aerospace companies and others. That would make the move to Santa Clarita beneficial for the company, as the area is known for having a strong presence in both of those manufacturing industries. Among local companies are Bioness Inc., which makes nerve stimulators to help patients manage neural issues, and aircraft parts supplier Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc. Next Point is hoping the move will help expand its customer base. “We want to be more diverse in the industries we’re supplying,” said Aleksandra Leontieva, controller for Next Point. “We want to broaden our customer base in aerospace specifically.” Quality and affordability The 19-million-square foot Santa Clarita Valley industrial market had a vacancy rate of 5.8 percent in the second quarter, according to the L.A. office of Colliers International. And that tightness in the market has pushed up average asking rents, which jumped 11 cents to 53 cents a square foot. Still, Next Point saved money on its move. The five-year lease on Avenue Crocker is valued at about $690,000, which amounts to about 56 cents a square foot. By comparison, industrial rents in the central San Fernando Valley submarket are about 61 cents a square foot. Chris Jackson, senior vice president at the Encino office of NAI Capital Inc., represented both Next Point and Rexford on the deal. He said more businesses are looking at the Santa Clarita Valley for both quality and affordability. “People are willing to come from Van Nuys, Chatsworth or North Hollywood because they get better buildings and actually for less,” he said. “The market is getting really tight.” Also, Next Point was attracted by the area’s reputation for being business friendly. The Santa Clarita Economic Development Corp. offers a significant business attraction and support program to companies, including one for which Next Point hopes to qualify. The non-profit, in partnership with Los Angeles County, has set aside $200,000 for Industry Cluster Attraction Incentives. The aim is to attract new businesses to targeted industries: aerospace, medical devices, information technology, manufacturing and entertainment. The program requires a firm relocate to the Santa Clarita Valley with a minimum of 20 employees operating in one of the targeted clusters. The maximum amount of employees a firm can bring is 40. Leontieva said the company has too few employees to qualify, but it is hiring and hopes to qualify soon. “A s our sales expand, we will have to get more people in here,” she said, adding that the company has nearly 20 people in the Santa Clarita facility. Holly Schroeder, chief executive of the economic development non-profit, said companies like Next Point are crucial to growth in the valley, and that her group is actively reviewing the company’s eligibility for the incentives. “We have tremendous opportunity in attracting companies of that size. We are not only looking at companies coming in with more than 100 employees. We want a diversified economy here that provides a variety of career opportunities,” she said. Leontieva declined to state any financial figures for the company, but said that she projects about an 11 percent growth in revenue this year “We have expanded our capital expenditures budget about five times over. It’s been decided that we have to put in more money in order to be more successful,” she said. “We’re hiring and moved to a much better facility. We made a very conscious move to be out here and we’re going to stay here a long time.”

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