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Conejo Office Market on Rebound

The commercial office market in the Conejo Valley and Ventura County should show marked improvements this year. That was the conclusion of brokers at a market symposium held Friday by CBRE Group Inc. at the Four Seasons in Westlake Village. “By the end of 2014, I think the vacancy is going to go down,” said Tom Dwyer, senior vice president at the Camarillo office of CBRE, an L.A.-based commercial real estate brokerage. “The activity level today is twice as strong as what we saw last year. Class A rents are going to go up.” That confidence follows last year’s dismal performance, which saw more than 20,000 square feet put back on the market in the Conejo Valley, led by THQ Inc. vacating its offices after filing for bankruptcy. One deal generating optimism is Dole Food Co., the formerly publicly traded company based in Westlake Village. The company has signed a 10-year lease for 77,000 square feet for Phase II of the Westlake Park Place, which is under construction. Mark Perry, senior vice president at the Universal City office, who handles capital investments, said $500 million of new capital entered the Conejo Valley office market last year and that number should rise. “Through all classes, we’re seeing significant buys,” he said. “Fluid capital is back and now we’re even getting activity on a pro-forma basis.” The industrial market is moving slower in the Conejo Valley. But Paul Farry, senior vice president at CBRE’s Camarillo office, said the market should gather momentum. “There’s still a lot of large space available,” he said. “But in 2014, we’re looking at a 15 to 20 percent price appreciation.” Farry said price appreciation is important for the industrial sales market, which is still more than $40 a square foot below 2007 numbers when sales averaged about $123 a square foot.

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