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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Biotech Corridor’s Central Hub

Biotech drives Newbury Park’s thriving industrial real estate landscape. In fact, Lee & Associates industrial brokers Grant Fulkerson and Mike Tingus refer to Newbury Park as the medical technology corridor.“Biotech is definitely a product in need,” Fulkerson told the Business Journal. “There’s a desire to find buildings with that infrastructure.”Located in the Conejo Valley, Newbury Park is a subset of the greater Thousand Oaks city where pharmaceutical giant Amgen Inc.

and its spin-offs have clustered.Calabasas-based Newmark agents John DeGrinis, Patrick DuRoss and Jeff Abraham have closed many major deals here in recent months. For instance, Team DeGrinis closed an August deal on behalf of landlord Rexford Industrial Realty in which Minimus Products signed a lease next door to its corporate headquarters at Conejo Spectrum Business Park to grow another 77,100 square feet after Sage Publishing had vacated its space.“We signed a long-term lease,” DuRoss told the Business Journal back in August. “They are in the contract packaging and fulfillment business and have operated in multiple buildings in the Thousand Oaks area for many years, including the adjacent property at 2590 Conejo Spectrum St.”Allen Trowbridge of Cresa Partners LLC represented tenant Minimus, based at 1260 Rancho Conejo Blvd., in the transaction.“This provided us with a great opportunity to expand right next door to their corporate headquarters,” Trowbridge told the Business Journal at the time of the deal.  “It was an opportunity that represented itself (and despite the COVID period), the deal came together quickly and smoothly.” Industrial strengthIf there’s one area of real estate not devasted by the pandemic, it’s industrial, Fulkerson said.“We’ve seen multiple offers and high demand on low inventory,” Fulkerson said. “With supply and demand, there’s been a disconnect. We’ve had more clients than buildings.”Built in 1970 and completely overhauled in 2018, Conejo Spectrum Business Park represents the crown jewel of Newbury Park’s industrial scene. The nine-building, 500,000-square-foot development, where Sares-Regis Group completed an overhaul in September 2019 and then sold to Rexford in January 2020, fetched $106.3 million.Conejo Spectrum saw seven buildings lease up ahead of completion. Cancer treatment developer Atara Biotherapeutics at 2430 Conejo Spectum St., e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. at 2405 Conejo St. and Ferguson HVAC Supply at 2570 Conejo Spectrum St. are among the current occupants.Seattle-based Amazon has been aggressive, signing big leases in Burbank, Santa Clarita and Oxnard, and yet “even if Amazon was not around, there are still many users who would take that space,” Fulkerson said.Elsewhere in Newbury Park, industrial space is under construction.

Rexford is constructing a 90,773-square-foot building at Lawrence and Teller while Sares-Regis is building an 88,946-square-foot building on Rancho Conejo Boulevard at Lawrence Drive. Also, at Conejo Vista Business Center, MTC’s Martin Teitelbaum, a Camarillo-based developer, has brought hybrid industrial condos online.Team DeGrinis is handling the upcoming Conejo Summit industrial development, currently under construction by a private group on 50 acres behind Conejo Spectrum’s west side.Because it would be cost-prohibitive to build biotech labs from scratch, developers acquire existing sites and transform them into biotech-friendly spaces, Fulkerson noted.

Building conversionA big biotech space player has been Alexandria, which bought three buildings along Rancho Conejo Boulevard to overhaul. They’ve completed renovations at 1280 and 1290 Rancho Conejo Blvd. and are currently upgrading 1300 Rancho Conejo Blvd.

“They’re putting $100 to $150 per square foot to make them biotech lab units,” Abraham said.Also, Rexford has bought the former Newbury Industrial Park for $23.3 million and rebranded the property as Rexford Conejo Commerce Center. “They thought it would be a good complement to Conejo Spectrum,” Abraham explained.The building at 2328 Teller Road spans 126,317 square feet on an 8-acre site. The multi-tenant property was 93 percent occupied at sale time.Abraham’s team has also worked with 1461-1475 Lawrence Drive, a site which Penwood Real Estate Investment Management acquired in 2018.  “We already completed one 52,800-square-foot transaction earlier this year for 10 years to a storage company that moved from Westlake Village,” Abraham said.

Team DeGrinis also has another structure at 1475 Lawrence Ave. that will go to a privately held storage and distribution company new to the region.Other real estate sectors in Newbury Park have been active. A 37,346-square-foot building at Village at Newbury Park shopping center hosting an LA Fitness gym at 3057 Grande Vista Drive sold earlier this year for an undisclosed price. The building is leased to LA Fitness through 2034.There is also more housing and hospitality in development. Daylight Thousand Oaks LLC has submitted a rendering for 201 apartments and a 120-key hotel planned for a site that will incorporate the abandoned site of 1924-founded Timber School at Kelley and Newbury roads.But the business that underpins growth in self-storage, retail, housing and hospitality, is biotech.“Biotech is only going to expand,” Abraham said. “Amgen, Alexandria, Atara … there’ll be more to follow. It’s kind of a win-win-win for everyone involved for the next 10 to 20 years.”

Michael Aushenker
Michael Aushenker
A graduate of Cornell University, Michael covers commercial real estate for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. Prior to the Business Journal, Michael covered the community and entertainment beats as a staff writer for various newspapers, including the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, The Palisadian-Post, The Argonaut and Acorn Newspapers. He has also freelanced for the Santa Barbara Independent, VC Reporter, Malibu Times and Los Feliz Ledger.

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