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Going Behind the Needham Ranch Deal with CBRE’s Craig Peters

National  + Healthcare  | 

By Dennis Kaiser

This summer, Trammell Crow Company and Clarion Partners acquired 54 acres of land for the development of The Center at Needham Ranch, a state-of-the-art business park in Santa Clarita, CA. The project is the first phase of a larger 132-acre, fully entitled site approved for up to 4.2 million square feet of Class A industrial space. Phase 1 broke ground in August 2017 and is expected to begin deliveries during the Q3 2018.

Connect media asked CBRE’s Craig Peters, who along with Doug Sonderegger, are the leasing agents for the property, to share why the project is moving forward, how a location within the Thirty Mile Zone impacts it and a bit about the site’s colorful past.

 Q: What are some of the factors driving the development of The Center at Needham Ranch and how does the product mix align with the type of tenants eventually envisioned at Needham Ranch?   

A: One of the main factors driving this development is the significant supply-and-demand imbalance in the region that has led to a record low vacancy of 1%. With companies’ demand exceeding building supply, new development is desperately needed. The vision for this project was to offer the most state-of-the-art product in a diverse size range. Phase 1 will be comprised of a seven-building, Class A industrial park that will be situated in a natural, park-like setting amidst abundant open space. The buildings will range from 34,270 square feet to 210,560 square feet, featuring 30- to 36-foot clear heights with ESFR fire sprinklers, abundant dock high loading and large truck courts and yard areas. This is a great addition for industrial users, in particular last mile distributors. With more than five million people within a 30-mile radius, the project location is exceptional.

Q: How does the project’s location within the “Thirty Mile Zone” impact its appeal?

A: This is a huge boon to production companies, as there are significant cost-savings associated with working within the Thirty Mile Zone (TMZ). This allows a production company to avoid additional travel requirements and expenses. It also provides unbeatable access to skilled technical labor, which is difficult to find the further one travels outside this zone. The TMZ extends over a 30-mile (50 km) radius from the intersection of West Beverly Boulevard and North La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles. Notably, the Santa Clarita Valley currently boasts more than 20 working sound stages and 3,500 acres of movie ranches.

Q: We also understand the site has an interesting historic backstory? Can you explain? 

A: The center is adjacent to the Gate King Open Space and comprised of 180 acres of dense oak woodlands. It was donated to the City of Santa Clarita as permanent open space by Needham Ranch’s master developer, Mark Gates, for the 584-acre project. The history of Needham Ranch is colorful. Henry Clay Needham was a prohibitionist who bought large sections of the Rancho San Francisco (the former name of land currently located within the City of Santa Clarita) and land within the town of Newhall in 1889 in order to establish his own private alcohol-free zone, a so-called “dry colony.” His plans never materialized, but Mr. Needham did later become an important community leader and philanthropist. After his death, his heirs sold about 770 acres of the property, bounded roughly by Pine Street, San Fernando Road and Sierra Highway, to Mark Gates. Mr. Gates eventually sold off a 220-acre portion. In the 1990’s, Gates’ son, Mark Jr., began entitlement of the project to develop the remaining 584 acres as the “Needham Ranch” business park. The historic “Live Oak Manor” rock archway, built in 1889, is still visible from Sierra Highway.


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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.

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