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Developers Find Fresh Land in Camarillo

A two-hotel and restaurant/retail complex, a subdivision with 158 single-family homes and a massive industrial park are among the real estate ventures underway right now in the city of Camarillo.Camarillo rests at the bottom of the Conejo Grade — the incline which segues west and north from the Conejo Valley onto the Oxnard Plain. The city has its own airport, an historic Old Town and a thriving college. The city of Ventura rebuffed moves to become a university town back in the 1990s, so Camarillo filled the role when California State University – Channel Islands opened in 2002.Cut to 2020, and the city of Camarillo continues to expand on its municipal amenities with projects in three real estate sectors: retail, industrial and residential.Since coming aboard last November, City of Camarillo Economic Development Coordinator Georg Winkler has been working to help businesses navigate the obstacles created by the pandemic.“It has been difficult for businesses (but) we’ve moved past that period,” Winkler said. “We really took an initiative to go out to our businesses and connect with our businesses.”More retailHome of the Simon Properties-owned Camarillo Premium Outlets, Camarillo is no stranger to retail. Yet there will be much more to come as 870,631 square feet of commercial space is currently being created by 16 separate projects.Arguably the most high-profile commercial development will be Mian Plaza and Conference Center, an ambitious undertaking by Dallas-based Mian Cos. Lcated at 831 Corte La Cienega, the Mian Plaza will combine hospitality — in the form of two hotels — with a connecting conference center as well as several restaurants and bars that are largely aimed at the business traveler. Currently under construction at the northeast corner of Las Posas Road and Ventura Boulevard, this massive project will span 192,194 square feet upon completion.Company namesake Tahir Mian, a Camarillo resident of more than two decades, told the Business Journal that his pet project “is right on schedule and doing very well.”Mian has five crews completing the infrastructure such as utilities and grading for curb work for the site, which will soon be home to a Home2Suites and an Embassy Suites. The Hilton-brand hotels will be connected by a conference center, plus four buildings will offer retail and restaurants. “It appears that, by Thanksgiving, we’ll be completed with underground utilities,” said Mian, who spent $6 million covering up the channel before bringing in 29,000 cubic tons of dirt, which will go through grading before the digging begins for the buildings’ structural foundations go up.If the project remains on schedule, the Home 2 Suites and a pair of accompanying retail buildings will open by Christmas 2021. About 10 months later, the other pair of retail buildings, plus the conference center, should come to fruition. Mian also must build a street leading into the venue.Mian, who is unfazed by having the Premium Outlets situated right across from his property, welcomes the retail competition. He is currently entertaining ideas for the incoming restaurant possibilities, which will be highly curated as he wants to see unique dining offerings within the Mian Plaza.“I am trying to create excitement,”’ Mian said. “Something new.”Other retail endeavors around Camarillo will include a new America’s Tires Building by Halle Properties at the northwest corner of Ventura Boulevard and Overland Road. Camarillo-based developer C&C Development Co. will build a 42,000-square-foot commercial mixed-use complex between Village at the Park Drive and Westpark Court, while Aldersgate Investment of Oxnard is developing a 6,100-square-foot mixed-use project in Old Town. It is currently under construction at 2024 Ventura Blvd. between Cedar and Oak streets.Other projects will target the local car culture. Based out of Woodland Hills, Alism Camarillo wants to create an automated car wash on 5,000 square feet of land at 301 E. Daily Drive. Approved for 2021, Jessica Ramirez-owned Amara Shopping Center will rise at the northeast corner of West Ventura Boulevard and Springville Drive, while Brixmore Holdings of Carlsbad will create a new drive-thru building, which has been approved at 323 Carmen Drive. New homesThe city of Camarillo has been on a quest to address the lack of affordable housing. In addition to acquiring properties to convert into below-market-rate housing for qualifying residents, Camarillo has encouraged many multifamily projects.Some 566 residential dwellings will soon come online in Camarillo, with 368 of them currently under construction. Among the more high-profile developments is C&C Development’s Springville endeavor at the northwest corner of U.S. 101 and Springville Drive. The large-scale housing development will see 158 single family homes on 23 acres. The project recently saw a historic old farmhouse on adjacent land relocated to accommodate construction.Camarillo Village Homes, a Palos Verdes Estates-based entity, has committed to developing 285 townhomes on 20 acres plus 24 mixed-use apartments on 4 acres in the area surrounding the northeast corner of Pleasant Valley and Lewis roads. KB Home of Los Angeles will build 130 condominiums on the south side of Ponderosa Drive, between Camino Tierra Santa and Earl Joseph Drive, while Irvine-based Shea Homes is devoting 83 acres at the northeast corner of Somis and Upland roads, to a 281-dwelling senior village with single-family homes and townhomes.Meanwhile, Lustra Development Inc. will create a mixed-use complex with 12 apartments and two retail spaces at 99 S. Glenn St.Another 378 dwellings — rental apartments in a combination of studio, one- and two-bedroom units — will rise at the southeast corner of Camino Ruiz and Verdugo Way, courtesy of Van Nuys developer Camino Ruiz and ZDI Inc. More industryBusiness during pandemic time has been challenging.For retailers, Winkler’s team developed the Shop Safe program, verifying some 1,240 businesses complying with county and state health guidelines. Since March, they’ve also managed an Open for Business web page tracking which restaurants have outdoor dining or pickup only and hours of operation. Winkler’s department is also creating a $1 million revolving loan fund overseen by Economic Development Collaborative to operate in perpetuity to help sustain struggling local businesses.“A lot of these ecosystems were kind of damaged during COVID,” Winkler said. Yet with the initial response winding down, he wants to return to prioritizing an economic strategic plan to enhance Camarillo’s economy. With Semtech Inc. based there, Winkler wants to see more support for the Internet of Things industry but will also work on attracting more companies involved in agtech, health care and biotech.“We’re definitely close enough to Newbury Park and Amgen,” Winkler said. “We want to support innovation locally.”  

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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