Category: Commercial

Former State Farm complex, Bakersfield’s largest office building, sells

BY STEVEN MAYER

    Apr 5, 2018
State Farm
Hundreds of State Farm employees still work at the building at 900 Old River Road. But as of Tuesday, the building, with more than a half-million square feet of office space — Bakersfield’s largest — has a new owner.Felix Adamo/ The Californian

Could Bakersfield’s largest office building become the new local headquarters for a big oil company?

In a landmark sale that could affect commercial real estate in Bakersfield for years to come, Cushman & Wakefield and two of its directors said Thursday that the former operations center for State Farm in southwest Bakersfield has been sold.

The commercial real estate agency’s Senior Director Jeff Andrew and Associate Director Pat Thompson closed one of the biggest deals of their careers earlier this week, but due to a strict confidentiality agreement, they can’t reveal key details — except for the fact that after years of work, the sale of the massive, four-story, 556,000 square-foot building closed on Tuesday.

“We can talk about how this could affect the commercial real estate market locally,” Andrew said. “But we can’t reveal the seller, the buyer or the price.”

Fortunately for the curious, that information is part of the public record, and Californian reporters have been checking on the fate of one of the city’s most important chunks of real estate, on and off, for months.

According to information compiled by the Kern County Assessor’s and Recorder’s offices, the seller, represented by Cushman & Wakefield, was listed as LSREF2 Tractor REO BAK LLC.

More interesting, the buyer is identified as California Resources Real Estate Ventures LLC, or California Resources Corp., a Los Angeles-based energy company that spun off from Occidental Petroleum Corp. in 2014.

The price: $48.4 million.

The presence of the insurance company’s center at 900 Old River Road, and the hundreds of jobs it created, had been touted for years as a significant economic driver for the southern San Joaquin Valley. So when State Farm announced it was leaving, the news inspired angst among those concerned about jobs and economic growth in Bakersfield.

State Farm is committed to a reduced number of employees staying in the building, for now, Andrew said, but the new owner — he would not confirm the name of the buyer — would fill out the lion’s share of the space.

Many of those new employees will come from several other local commercial office buildings and will be consolidated under one huge roof. That means office vacancies will be opening up in Bakersfield. But those smaller spaces should be easier to fill, said Thompson.

A building with more that a half-million square feet of office space has few potential tenants.

“We had to go to the largest users of office space,” Andrew said.

And that’s a very short list.

http://www.bakersfield.com/news/former-state-farm-complex-bakerfield-s-largest-office-building-sells/article_c4863ec0-3924-11e8-b71f-dfbdf6a0adaa.html

Clovis’ craft beer scene is heating up: ‘We see a lot of potential out here’

Updated April 04, 2018 03:36 PM

ALDI bringing its low-cost grocery stories to two Valley locations

Updated April 03, 2018 01:10 PM

Business boon hits Visalia

Danielle A Martin, Published 3:45 p.m. PT March 23, 2018 

County officials looking for proposals to develop old courthouse building. Visalia council split on involvement in building’s development. Luis Hernandez

Visalia’s business boon is well underway and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

New development ranges from housing and hotels to training facilities and offices.

“For citizens [development] creates variety and gives people a choice,” said Visalia Councilman Steve Nelsen. “It creates employment opportunities and even careers.”

Current Projects

The city has projects popping up from Mooney Boulevard to Main Street and across the Industrial Park.

“Our city funds are driven by sales tax and property tax,” Nelsen said. “As we continue to grow, the city continues to benefit.”

Visalia Mayor Warren Gubler called the city “shovel ready” and said an additional five businesses are currently expanding in Visalia’s industrial areas.

“We continue to grow and have lots of land available to do so,” Gubler added.

There was a total of 301 new permits issued between the months of February and March with a total value of $11.6 million, city officials said. The permits included 21 new single-family homes, two new multifamily complexes and one new commercial project.

Dunkin’ Donuts is set to be completed this spring and more will follow on Mooney Boulevard.

There is currently a Marriot Residence Inn going up in the Plaza Business Park. It is projected by contractors to be finished this summer. Directly across the street is a new ARCO AM/PM gas station, currently under construction.

Future projects

Entertainment

Clovis-based The Great Escape, an escape room themed entertainment activity for groups, has set its eyes on Visalia for its second location.

“We are super excited,” Wilkerson said. “A lot of clients we have come from the Visalia, Tulare, or Hanford areas and so we want to bring this a little closer to home for them.”

Wilkerson said it will be located at 3300 S. Fairway Street, near Bowlero and behind the Milan Institute of Cosmetology. The south Valley escape room will feature three escape puzzles perfect for team bonding opportunities or family get-togethers.

Leisure and hospitality

Two hotels have been proposed for the area. One is the renovation of a historic downtown building and the second is a new extended stay concept.

The Darling Hotel is a redevelopment project using the old Tulare County Courthouse downtown. The building has been vacant for decades and last August the Tulare County Supervisors were looking to give it new life.

In August, Councilman Greg Collins said, “You need to have an architect with vision,” to restore and develop the building.

In February, the boutique-style hotel proposal went through site planning and will feature 33 rooms and several meeting rooms. It will also feature a rooftop lounge and a ground level courtyard with an enclosed pool and canopy along Court Street.

A Hilton Home 2 Suites is being proposed in an area just north of Highway 198 and west of Plaza Drive. The hotel will feature 83 extended-stay concept style rooms that are also pet- and family-friendly, city officials said.

Facilities

Voltage Multipliers, a local manufacturing company is looking to expand its current building by 20,000 square feet.

In Plaza Business Park, a 7,172 square-foot project is in the proposal phase. It will be located just north of Marriott Residence Inn, currently under construction.

The project will consist of two buildings with offices and classrooms. Visalia officials suggest a school or training facility.

Another 3,256 square-foot project at 4234 W. Mineral King will house the local Mitchell and Powell law firm.

The new development and expansions are humbling, Gubler said.

“It’s a compliment to our community that these businesses want to keep coming to open up,” Gubler said.

https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2018/03/23/business-boon-hits-visalia/453107002/

PORTERVILLE PAYS FOR FIRST TWO OF 10 ELECTRIC BUSES

Two out of an order of 10 all-electric buses have been received by the city of Porterville at a cost of about $820,000 each.

Published On March 16, 2018 – 4:57 PM
Written By David Castellon

Porterville is a step closer to becoming one the first U.S. cities with a primary fleet of all-electric commuter buses.

On Wednesday, the city made its payment on the first two of 10 38-passsenger buses ordered from GreenPower Motor Co., which did the final assembly of the buses at its temporary manufacturing facility within two large hangars at the Porterville Municipal Airport.

Portions of the assembly also occurred in Taiwan and China.

The Canadian-based electric bus manufacturer is in the process of building a 125,000-square-foot factory across the street from the Porterville airport, where it plans to fully assemble up to 150 buses a year. And depending on how many bus orders go through in the coming years, the factory could expand up to 300,000 square feet and double its rate of bus production, said Brendan Riley, GreenPower’s president.

Porterville actually took possession of the two $822,000 buses on March 8, but the cost isn’t coming from city coffers. Instead the purchases are fully funded through $9.5 million in grants from the California Air Resources Board, which besides paying for the 10 buses also will cover the purchase and installation of 11 charging stations for them.

“Funding for this project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities. The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution,” Leslie Goodbody, an engineer for the Air Resources Board, said in a written statement.

Porterville Transit Manager Richard Tree said one of the charging stations will be installed at the Porterville Transit Center, while the rest will be installed at the city maintenance yard, where most city buses are parked overnight.

For this order, GreenPower enlarged the batteries from the normal size of its EV 350 buses, extending their capacities to 400 kilowatt hours from 320 and the buses’ driving range to 250 miles on a single charge.

Riley said the Porterville buses will travel up to 230 miles a day on their routes, so they shouldn’t have to recharge until they’re finished for the day, eliminating the need to swap out buses to charge them during the day.

Though the city has the two of the new buses, Tree said they may not be put into service for another 45 days, as Porterville Transit logos still need to be adhered to them, while GreenPower will help the city conduct field tests and train transit drivers on the new buses.

Once they’re on the road, two diesel buses will be retired, and the Porterville’s 16 compressed natural gas-powered buses will continue to be used while they’re retired at a slower rate through 2029, said Tree, adding that once all the GreenPower buses are delivered, they will be the primary buses working city bus routes.

Riley said GreenPower will make another bus it owns available to Porterville on occasions when the city needs it.

As for the rest of Porterville’s bus order, Riley noted that the first two buses took six months to build, and the next three are expected to be ready in May, while the remaining five could be ready in mid summer.

As for the new GreenPower factory, he said the initial facility could be finished by the end of summer.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/porterville-pays-first-two-10-electric-buses/

Faraday Future requests first permit

By John Lindt

Updated 

    Faraday Future clean up day
    Electric car company Faraday Future hosted a clean-up event in Hanford on Aug. 5 after signing a lease on the old Pirelli tire plant to make it a manufacturing facility. The company’s employees and local Hanford and Kings County officials attended the event.

    Now, for the first time, we are seeing activity. This week the city site-plan-review meeting will include contractors and consultants for Faraday Future discussing the remodel of the big building with city staff.

    Also, Community Development Director Darlene Mata says she expects the filing for the first permit for the company, a demolition permit for the interior of the building.

    “There is plenty going on behind the scenes,” advises Mata.

     At a February supplier conference in L.A., a company spokesman discussed the Hanford plant and their new car-FF 91. ”Our Hanford factory project is developing according to our planned schedule, and we appreciate the support given to us by the City of Hanford,” said Dag Reckhorn, SVP of Global Manufacturing. “We are well into the process of design and permitting and have begun planning our recruitment cadence. As of Feb. 1, the property has been completely vacated, so we will move forward on construction and equipment by the end of the quarter. We remain on an aggressive, yet workable timeline of year-end delivery for FF 91.”
    http://hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/business/faraday-future-requests-first-permit/article_025402cd-ecac-5c56-ad16-956161f7d9fd.html

    Merced County Hopes A Deal With Port Of L.A. Turns Former Air Force Base Into Manufacturing Hub

      MAR 6, 2018

    Just outside the city of Merced, slightly east of Highway 99 is what used to be Castle Air Force Base. Like most areas of the Valley, it’s rural. Across the road from the center are train tracks, and you can hear the railroad crossing signals ding. This unincorporated area of Merced County will soon become an inland port.

    Now, there isn’t any water around; we’re still in the Central Valley. It won’t be the kind of port that serves ships and boats. It will be a place for products to be built and materials consolidated, and then sent to the Port of Los Angeles.

    Today, two-thirds of the nearly-2,000 acre base is still an airfield, but the rest of it is the Castle Commerce Center.

    “This is a site that has roughly about 75 tenants, about a 100 different lease holds,” says Mark Hendrickson, directory of community and economic development for Merced County. “We generate about $2.9 million in lease revenue.”

    Merced County is hoping to use a portion of the former Castle Air Force Base as a hub for manufacturing and distribution in the Central Valley.
    CREDIT MERCED COUNTY COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

      Hendrickson says their goal is to redevelop Castle “to really turn it into a site where we can focus some solid attention on manufacturing. We a want to be a place where things are made because when things are made people are working.”

    Back in October, Merced County’s Board of Supervisors developed an agreement with the Port of L.A. formalizing what Hendrickson calls a “hub and spokes” development. Merced will become a place of manufacturing and distribution, and use the nearby rail line and freeways to bring goods to L.A. to be shipped around the world. In kind, Castle may also become a place where the Port can send products for distribution.

    Merced County isn’t the only Valley county building ties with the Port of L.A. Kern County recently got approval to expand their Foreign Trade Zone at TejonRanch. They also will move the zone’s affiliation to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Port of L.A. The expansion means all of the industrial areas of Tejon Ranch are now within their foreign trade zone. Companies operating there will receive a break on import duties and fees. Tejon Ranch has announced the expansion will bring jobs to Kern County.

    Hendrickson says the same could happen in Merced, when it comes to job creation.

    “Using today’s workforce numbers, about one out of every nine jobs would be right here at Castle in about twenty years.”

    There is one drawback though. More shipping could mean more air pollution.

    Dean Florez is a member of the California Air Resources Board and a former state senator from Kern County.

    “The kinds of jobs and economic growth this brings are very large diesel trucks that are running a lot of things that make the air a lot worse,” says Florez. “You know, that balance is really important between jobs, growth, and air mitigation.”

    One issue is that companies send their trucks full of goods to a port, and then the truck typically returns to the distribution center, empty. If that truck is coming to Merced’s inland port, that could mean hundreds of miles driven just to return the truck.

    “Companies need to figure out how to send items to wherever, but that these cargo trucks not come back empty.”

    Florez says the Air Resources Board should come up with ways to incentivize companies to share their trucks, and reduce the total number on the road. He also says this is really an opportunity for outside groups to develop something like an Uber for trucks, where they share cargo going to the port and returning to the Valley.

    “I doubt it will be state government that comes up with that,” Florez says. “But I do think it will be some outside force that will come in and say, ‘This is the way, really trucks should be running in California, we have this sharing mechanism and it actually would work very, very well.’”

    Florez says he plans to bring this up with CARB later this year.

    In Merced County, Hendrickson says they plan to use trains to mitigate truck pollution.

    “We see our using our rail connectivity on-site to get trucks off the road, improve air quality, open up shipping opportunities for folks not only through Merced County and really throughout the entire San Joaquin Valley to places all over the world,” says Hendrickson.

    Finding the best shipping practices from an inland port will take time. And developing an inland port in the first place has been a long time coming.

    Mike Dozier is the former Community and Economic Development Director for the city of Clovis. He says that these sorts of deals don’t just happen overnight.

    “What happens is you have this vision, and it might be ten years before that vision starts to materialize,” says Dozier.

    Dozier says it takes time for infrastructure to develop, and to convince groups to believe in the project’s potential.

    “You know, you just build on it, you just have to have things ready for when the time is right.”

    For Merced County, officials hope that time is now.

    http://kvpr.org/post/merced-county-hopes-deal-port-la-turns-former-air-force-base-manufacturing-hub

     

    The Clovis restaurant scene is hopping: Openings, closings and other shake-ups

    BY BETHANY CLOUGH

    March 01, 2018 12:15 PM

    What’s up with all that construction? Here are 10 projects in the works

    February 12, 2018 07:30 AM

    Updated February 12, 2018 07:30 AM

    PG&E launches electric vehicle charging network with 7,500 stations

    PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED: 

    PG&E on Wednesday launched a new network for charging electric vehicles, a web of green energy that will eventually include 7,500 charging stations.

    Condominiums, apartment buildings and workplaces throughout PG&E’s service territory in northern and central California are among the types of locations planned for the EV-charging stations.

    Over the first three months of 2018, PG&E will install new electric vehicle charging sites through partnerships with business customers. Merced College, the first participating customer, was among the first round of installations.

    The $130 million program will extend over three years and end in 2020, PG&E said.

    All hosts of the EV-charging sites will be allowed to own the vehicle-charging equipment, PG&E said.

    San Francisco-based PG&E will be allowed to own 35 percent of the charging stations installed over the three years, which would be up to 2,625 out of the 7,500.

    “We have just installed chargers at our first customer site, which is the Los Banos campus of Merced College,” said Ari Vanrenen, a PG&E spokeswoman.

    PG&E installed six chargers at the campus on Wednesday. Each charging station can accommodate two vehicles at the same time. Merced College has decided to own the first six chargers.

    Equipment for this program includes what are known as Level 2 chargers.

    “Level 2 charges a vehicle in four to six hours,” Vanrenen said.

    In January 2017, PG&E proposed a $253 million plan to expand use of electric vehicles in California in a quest for cleaner air, but customers would be forced to pay more in monthly power bills to bankroll the company’s project.

    The proposal’s elements include helping ease the process of conversions to electric vehicles of existing large- and medium-sized vehicles now running on diesel or gasoline, and expanding deployment of fast-charging electric vehicle stations that power up electric cars in roughly 25 minutes.

    But that plan would come with a cost: Monthly power bills would rise an average of 28 cents a month for residential customers of PG&E, Vanrenen estimated at the time.

    An expansion of PG&E’s initial efforts is already in the works through a series of pilot programs, Max Baumhefner, a San Francisco-based official with the National Resources Defense Council, an environmental activism group, stated in a blog post on Wednesday.

    “These programs will be soon followed by 15 different pilots that were recently approved by the state Public Utilities Commission and which target cars, trucks, buses, cranes, airport equipment, forklifts and other things that move,” Baumhefner wrote in the blog post.

    The stations that PG&E would own would most likely be in multi-family residential apartment or condominium complexes, as well as in disadvantaged communities.

    “These would be in places where cars would be more likely to sit for extended periods of time,” Vanrenen said.

    PG&E launches electric vehicle charging network with 7,500 stations