Robert Rodriguez, region manager for West Coast distribution for Hilti, Inc., a European maker of industrial tools, stands in one of two distribution centers his company has in the Visalia Industrial Park, along with a separate repair building. He said the park is a sweet spot for transporting goods within a day across California and to much of Arizona and Nevada. Photo by David Castellon

Published On March 14, 2018 – 1:50 PM

With work underway to build Amazon and Ulta fulfillment centers in south Fresno, and plans to convert a former tire plant in Hanford into an electric car plant, three new buildings totaling more than 400,000 square feet in the Visalia Industrial Park didn’t grab a lot of attention from the general public.

But among people involved in manufacturing, warehousing and other businesses needing large spaces, the buildings commissioned by Diversified Development Group in Fresno, which has been developing and leasing commercial structures here for more than two decades, has drawn a lot of attention.

So much so that DDG, which built the buildings on spec, had two of the buildings leased or were negotiating leases on them with multiple tenants before construction was done. DDG Vice President Marcus Pignotti said he believes a lease deal for a single business to entirely occupy the 166,000-square foot third building is close at hand.

With that kind of interest among businesses to get into the Visalia Industrial Park, “That explains why we’re in site plan review for our next four buildings,” that would comprise another 689,000 square feet of combined industrial space on a separate, 33-acre parcel in the Industrial Park in northwest Visalia, Pignotti said.

Beyond that, DDG purchased last year another 150 acres of undeveloped land in the Industrial Park, where the company plans to build up to three million more square feet of industrial space, which could include a single, 1 million-square foot building, he said.

DDG isn’t the only business looking to develop or expand in the Visalia Industrial Park.

From 2016-2017, Visalia issued permits for more than 804,000 square feet of new buildings in the Industrial Park. In fact, in terms of new industrial development and expansions, experts say the Visalia Industrial Park and the neighboring Visalia Business Research Park are some the most active commercial real estate spots in the Valley after south Fresno.

Beside what DDG has in store, the former Heller Performance Polymers plant on Doe Avenue has been demolished, the ground leveled and now the owners are planning to build two 400,000 and more than 300,000 square-foot buildings there once they line up tenants, said Marty Zeeb, a Visalia commercial real estate broker.

In addition, UPS, which has had a distribution center in the Industrial Park for decades, has gotten so busy shipping packages that it recently purchased 58 acres, with plans to build a second state-of-the-art distribution center in the Industrial Park, while Golden State Overnight — a regional shipping service — has outgrown its facility, and is building a new, nearly 63,000-square-foot-facility.

Meanwhile, Perfection Pet Food — a division of Goshen’s Western Milling — is building a nearly 152,000-square-foot office and distribution center, while Hydrite Chemical Co. recently completed a more than $16.1 million expansion and capital improvement project.

That doesn’t include the 100-acre Research Park, where a 94-room Marriott Residence Inn and an Arco AM/PM convenience store and gas station are being built near the Fresno Pacific University satellite campus and two car dealerships already on the mostly vacant set of parcels.

It’s a far cry from the area’s modest beginnings in the mid 1960s, when businessmen Al Blain, Dana Clancy and Lloyd Pendergraft spearheaded an effort to widen Visalia’s mostly ag-based economy by creating sites zoned for various sorts of industrial businesses and purchased “not the best farmland” from Florence Doe, recalled Harry Tow, who was city manager at the time.

“They thought we needed an industrial park where industry didn’t have to think about putting in utilities and streets. It was done for them,” he said, adding that Blain, Clancy and Pendergraft had Visalia’s best interests at heart — so much so that as far as Tow knows, Blain, Clancy ad Pendergraft “didn’t make a dime off it.”

In the five decades or so since, the Business Park has grown from a handful of businesses to 379 — from Far West Distributors, which employs just five people, to VF Outdoor, a clothing distribution center employing about 1,200.

It isn’t just your usual industrial park with one big building or several comparable buildings and warehouses occupying one parcel. Instead, the Visalia Industrial Park is like a city in a city comprised of more than 16.6 million square feet of buildings occupying 381 acres spread over multiple blocks, with different buildings constructed in their own, particular styles.

Based on 2015 U.S. Census estimates, the latest figure Visalia officials could provide, 6,932 people worked at the Industrial Park, a third of them Visalia residents. Considering the expansions and new developments since then, the number likely has grown.

Before the recession, new developments were active in the Industrial Park but lulled in the years the economy spiraled, Zeeb said. But as that period passed and the economy improved, developers started actively planning again in 2013 and 2014, and over the last two or three years a lot construction and permitting has followed, he said.

The Industrial Park has several tenants with national and international reach, mostly involved in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, including Jo-Ann Stores, Inc., VF and VWR — the latter a global supplier of lab and pharmaceutical supplies.

One of the main reasons is that Visalia is a “sweet spot” for most businesses with customers on the West Coast, whether they’re individuals ordering items via the web or department stores and other business selling those goods, said Robert Rodriguez, region manager for West Coast distribution for Hilti, Inc., a European maker of industrial tools which operates two distribution buildings and a separate repair center in the Visalia Industrial Park.

“Its a great spot for transit time,” he said.

Of course, Fresno can make the same claim, and Amazon officials have acknowledged that’s a big part of why it’s locating its 855,000-square-foot fulfillment center there.

The Visalia Industrial Park was in consideration for the Amazon and Ulta facilities, as well as a fulfillment center for Nordstrom department stores in 2016, but they all went elsewhere.

“We’re not chasing the big fish only,” said Devon Jones, Visalia’s economic development manager, noting that leasing several 25,000-squre foot buildings can create as many jobs locally as a single “big fish” tenant.

He noted that if an Amazon-sized business or a larger one ever wants to locate here, there remains about 1,000 acres of undeveloped pre-zoned land in the Industrial Park still available, all with sewage and other utilities close by to connect.

In fact, the City of Visalia last year submitted a proposal for Amazon to build its second headquarters in the city, along with numerous other U.S. cities that included Fresno.

Though the ecommerce giant opted not to consider any California sites, Mayor Warren Gubler said Amazon officials indicated they were “surprised” in a positive way by Visalia’s proposal, “and we weren’t even in their radar, and [now] we’re on their radar.

Among the selling points for the Industrial Park that several of the people interviewed noted is its close access to Highways 99 and 198.

In addition, “UPS is our best salesman, because you’ll have large companies that have locations on the East Coast and the South, the Indiana-Ohio area, Dallas. And when they need West Coast, UPS just looks at our area, Visalia being the perfect spot,” and recommends it, said Pignotti, noting that businesses increasingly rely on next-day delivery, and having a UPS hub literally blocks away in the Industrial Park is a big plus, as is having other next-day shippers there, including FedEx, Golden State Overnight and OnTrac.

Pignotti also credited Visalia’s government, which in recent years has streamlined the processes for permitting construction to the point that Jones said some permit applications can be approved within 30 days.

“Sometimes, less than that,” he said. “Because that’s the last thing somebody wants, being in some municipality where it takes forever to get a permit and get started, and they’ve had a delay, and they don’t want to do that again,” Pignotti said.

Among the reasons DDG builds in Visalia is “They’ve always met their timelines, they work with you, they get things going quickly. They don’t just sit around, so it has been good,” Pignotti said, adding that some cities can be extra attentive for Amazon-sized projects but are much less to smaller ones.

Rodriguez agreed, adding that “In the Hilti world — and we are global — Visalia is in discussions, mainly because of the support by the city and the [Visalia] Economic Development Corp.”

So much so that Hilti — which landed in the industrial park in the 1990s; moved later to a larger, 45,000-square-foot distribution center; opened a second, 20,000-sqare-foot distribution center; and opened a separate tool repair shop — is eyeing the industrial park to expand further, possibly tripling the current size of its distribution operations there, he said.

“My own personal perspective is Visalia has an excellent business park, and it’s known and it’s growing. There are warehouses and businesses going up left and right.”

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.

  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.


Kern County Economic Summit

The Kern County Economic Summit is an annual program featuring economists and business leaders who provide valuable information designed to educate and broaden perspectives on international, national, and regional economies.

Don’t miss this premier opportunity to join local businesses and government leaders in discovering ways to sustain and advance economic prosperity in our growing region, and what it means for our future.

381,600 SQFT Industrial Sale In Tracy Could Attract Record Price For New Industrial Project

Ridgeline Property Group, Central Valley, Tracy Pescadero Distribution Center, LaSalle Investment Management, Tracy Pescadero Distribution Center, Prologis, DCT Industrial Trust, DHL Supply Chain entity,
Rendering courtesy of Ridgeline Property Group

By Jon Peterson

Atlanta-based Ridgeline Property Group could attract a record price on a per square foot and cap rate basis for brand new industrial product in the Central Valley for its planned sale of the Class A, 381,600 square foot Tracy Pescadero Distribution Center in Tracy, according to sources that track the sale of industrial assets in the region.

Ridgeline and its capital source, Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management, had developed the property together, which was completed in 2017. The 19.46-acre site is less than one mile from Interstate 205, an east-west route connecting to Oakland and San Francisco, and it provides easy access to the regional transportation corridors serving the major markets of the Western U.S., according the company’s statement.

“Tracy, California, is the best distribution location in the Central Valley, and the Tracy Pescadero Distribution Center will provide much-needed Class A space for modern distribution operations,” said Greg Thurman, CEO of Ridgeline Property Group in July of 2015, when the company announced that it was commencing construction of the speculative development. “There is virtually no availability of Class A space greater than 200,000 square feet in the Central Valley. In addition to providing bulk space, this 381,600-square-foot facility will offer the option of either a rear-load or front-load configuration, depending on the needs of the tenant. The flexible design also enables the building to be divided into three separate spaces with front offices.”

The sellers are bringing the asset to market for sale on Monday, and they have hired CBRE as the listing agents on the sale. Two people involved are Darla Longo, vice chairman/managing director and Rebecca Perlmutter, senior vice president. CBRE declined to comment when contacted for this story.

Its rare for new industrial product in Tracy to come up for sale so soon after the property was developed. Most property owners in Tracy are major institutional owners. Two such examples would be Prologis and DCT Industrial Trust. These companies and others are more interested in holding on to their assets for a long period of time.

The Pescadero Center is a single building property. The asset is now 100 percent leased to Excel, which is a DHL Supply Chain entity, and Pactra USA. Both of these companies are considered to be high-credit tenants. The average lease term on these two tenants is 5.6 years.

This investment opportunity offers strong cash flow with significant upside to rents given the steady demand and lack of available inventory driving future rent growth. In-place rents are approximately 5 percent below market, offering the new owner future NOI increases upon lease rollover.

Located at 1700 East Pescadero Avenue, the distribution facility features 32-foot clear heights, 57 dock-high doors, two drive-in doors, a 185-foot truck court, 92 trailer parking spaces, 317 auto parking spaces and Early Suppression Fast Response (ESFR) fire sprinklers. The asset also has an office component inside the property, which is 9,470 square feet, or approximately 2.5 percent of the total building.

The overall 95 million square foot industrial market in the Central Valley remains very strong. The region recorded its 19th consecutive quarter of positive absorption with 2.8 million square feet of net absorption year-to-date bringing the vacancy rate down to 2.2 percent at the end of the third quarter.

The Tracy industrial market has also shown strong operating fundamentals. At the end of 2017, Tracy’s average asking lease rate of $0.45 triple-net had increased 15 percent over the past two years.

Ridgeline is known in the industrial sector as a merchant developer. The company does have a regional office located in Northern California in Roseville.

381,600 SQFT Industrial Sale In Tracy Could Attract Record Price For New Industrial Project

Ulta Beauty’s first distribution center in California now calling Fresno home

The walls are up at Ulta Beauty’s new distribution center in Southwest Fresno. But it’s taken months to turn Ag land into a commercial business that will soon house hundreds of employees, sending beauty products around the country.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said, “We had the right business elements. The right geographical location in California, the right weather, a big enough urban base to have a substantial labor supply, the cost of the building. All of that works in our favor.”

Brand likes the progress he’s seeing, he said the area in Southwest Fresno, known as the “Reverse Triangle”, features an e-commerce business boom with Amazon and Ulta going up. The nearby 41 and 99 will help drivers goods get shipped far north to Canada and as far south as Mexico.

Both Ulta and Amazon combined are expected to fill about 3,000 positions for their new centers.

Brand said, “The bad news is we have a lot of underemployed people. The good news is, now we have solutions to fill these slots. These people are working with social services and other agency sought to get them trained.”

The city is working to get people trained and ready. Ulta has hired its leadership positions to work in the new 670,000 square foot distribution center at the Northeast corner of East and Central Avenues.

Recently they started hiring mechanics and clerks. Online, people can start applying for material handlers or associate positions.

Brand said, “The orders come in, the computerized labels, they’re sorted, probably electronically and robotically– but there’s always humans there making sure those things get out and are done properly.”

The city offered companies a tax incentive per job, which they say will in turn, over a long period of time, will bring a $40-million to $50-million impact to our area.

Now other companies are looking at expanding.

“I think we are on the forefront here in Fresno on this new type of economy, and we’re hoping to really capitalize on it,” said Brand.

Ulta will be hiring during the next six months. They plan to begin shipping to stores and online guests in July.

New Construction Boosts Visalia Industrial Park

With virtually no vacant space in the Visalia Industrial Park a spurt of new construction is underway that will make room for both new tenants, local company expansions and relocations in coming months.

If there are few empty buildings to lease, Visalia sports about 1,000 acres of land “zoned and ready to go,” according to Visalia economic development  manager staffer Devon Jones.

Developers looking to encourage companies who might want a location in the Central Valley are building several concrete tilt-up “spec buildings” in Visalia that can be ready for tenant improvements and occupancy in a matter of weeks.

Making new projects feasible, the city has a streamlined permitting process and lots are hooked up to sewer and water. In addition there has been a $130 million investment in roads over the past few years with easy access to Hwy 99 and the rest of California.

We are talking ’speedy delivery’ – not just for goods but for new buildings that will house future distribution and manufacturing hubs.

Visalia’s mid-state location makes it attractive for ground shipping of goods to the Western US, enabling parcels to arrive in one-day to many locations.

Hub Central
None other than United Parcel Service appears to be convinced, having invested in the purchase of 58 acres north Riggin at Plaza  earlier this summer. Sources says UPS plans a phased development to start with – a modular sorting center to replace its current small distribution center on Goshen Ave. Then, a 400,000 permanent complex will be next for UPS – said to be the big company’s future main hub in the Central Valley. Growth around its Fresno facility has boxed them in say real estate sources. Visalia’s ample industrial acreage is apparently the answer.

The land is the first parcel to sell in the Central Valley Logistics Center industrial park on the northwest corner of Plaza and Riggin since it was zoned for development a decade ago.

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 12.34.57 PM


Another big shipper is making Visalia its hub. Golden State Overnight (GSO) now owned by Britain’s Royal Mail, is building a 63,000sf distribution center at a cost of $2.3 million right now.Royal Mail bought GSO last year for $90 million.

 “If Memphis is the biggest hub for FedEx and Louisville is the main UPS hub  – Visalia is our most important hub for the future” says GSO’s McKinley.

The company has a smaller facility it leases now that has truck docks only on one side, says company VP Bob McKinley. The complex being built by Visalia based American Inc will offer triple the number of cargo doors on both sides with full automation on the conveyor system, he says.

The GSO hub will employ about 70 when it opens and likely double that in some years expects McKinley.

“If Memphis is a the biggest hub for FedEx and Louisville is the main UPS hub  – Visalia is our most important hub for the future” says GSO’s McKinley.

Speedy Construction

Perhaps the most active developer who has long recognized the need to offer new industrial space in Visalia ahead of demand  – is John Brelsford of Fresno who owns Diversified Development Group.

Last summer Brelsford broke ground on a fast-track construction project to build 3 clustered industrial buildings in a matter of weeks along Riggin near VF Corp, completing them – a total of 403,000sf – by late October of this year.

Commuters passing by each morning last month marveled at the rapid progress on construction each day.

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 12.39.53 PM

While Mr Brelsford says he can’t reveal prospective tenants he is working with International Paper, who a has major paper cup manufacturing plant here, will use the most northerly building, a 140,000sf space according to the City of Visalia who received tenant improvement plans in recent days.

“They are about ready to move in” says city planner Jason Huckleberry.

A second space is close to being filled as well says Mr Brelsford.

Next Phase Coming 

Because interest has been so brisk Brelsford is not waiting to build more “spec” space. He says he expects to build about 800,000sf beginning next March on 33 acres he owns on the southeast corner of Plaza and Riggin, a few blocks from his other project.

Last year Brelsford acquired another big parcel at Plaza and Riggin – 150 acres from Doe family – now fully entitled and in the city limits at the northwest corner of this same key intersection.The spot is just 1.5 miles from the new Betty Drive interchange on Hwy 99 that is expected to be complete in a few months.

If newcomers make the news, expansion of existing industrial park tenants are the bread and butter of Visalia’s economy.

While some worry that many new distribution companies looking here take larger spaces of source but actually have few employees. But some are both big on their space needs and offer lots of jobs

Consider VF Corp, the international clothing maker, who has a million square foot distribution center on Plaza Drive. VF, maker of Wrangler, Lee Jeans and NorthFace outdoor clothing, employs up to 1,100 people and most of them live within a 10-15-mile radius from the facility says the company.VF has recently completed a $3 million upgrade to their facility and plans more in 2018.

Another industrial park tenant that continues to grow larger is Perfection Pet Foods, a division of  Western Milling, based in Goshen. The pet food maker is building a $6.2 million office and warehouse right now. Owner Kevin Kruse says they are replacing a 100,000sf warehouse a few miles away.”We wont have to move our products across town” from their manufacturing plant, he figures. The new warehouse will house products ready to ship to Walmart and other large customers. Perfection Pet Foods employs about 120  at their growing campus of buildings in the northwest part of the industrial park.

As interest in new buildings grow, the vacated space makes room for others who will likely gobble up this 100,000sf left by the pet food company, for example.

Meanwhile smaller players like local developer Danny Freitas says his various Visalia industrial park spaces are all spoken for and he will now build two new 40,000sf “spec” warehouses for lease, one on Kelsey and one on Sunnyview.

Also in the industrial park, Servall, the big appliance parts and repair company says they will open their new sales and distribution center in Visalia in December 2017 at 2247 N. Plaza Dr., Suite D, in am existing 35,000 sf building – one of the few vacant spots in the Mid-State 99 complex.

The company cited their ability to do one-day shipping of appliance parts to consumers and businesses throughout all of California.The business will employ 20.

Speedy Delivery 


Supply-chain management company offers fulfillment center capabilities

LATHROP—Many smaller companies need the capabilities of a large-scale fulfillment distribution center, but don’t have the space or capital of Amazon or other mega-shippers. Many supply-chain management companies help with business conundrum.

One company with local centers just might have the ecommerce solution for many valley businesses without resources.

Dearborn, Michigan-based Hollingsworth is an end-to-end supply chain management company with 28 distribution facilities located throughout the U.S. and two such locations in Tracy and Lathrop.

In 1991, Hollingsworth began by shipping parts for the Ford Motor Company, a relationship that continues to this day. They are the primary packager for the automotive giant.

By taking on multiple clients, Hollingsworth is able to parse out warehouse space, bringing shipping costs down.

“In the Lathrop area we are very much focused on ecommerce and retail and direct-to-consumer,” said Brian Sheehan, sales and marketing manager for Hollingsworth in this region. “We have local companies and companies that are overseas. It depends on the port of entry for their goods.”

Sheehan said many of their customers are manufacturers, and multiple facilities may be used for one client. Increased facilities also helps Hollingsworth offer same day shipping on behalf of its clients to most areas.

“In a shared warehouse, there’s shared costs,” Sheehan said, allowing for the cost savings to be passed onto the client.

Hollingsworth offers solutions to warehousing, fulfillment, packaging, inventory and program management and more, allowing those who use their services to scale their businesses easily without the hassle of dealing with expansion costs.

With the holiday season estimated to be the peak time for sales, Hollingsworth is preparing for the increased traffic. It’s estimated that the holiday rush accounts for 30 percent of annual sales for many retailers.

Merced County inks deal to (maybe) bring in thousands of jobs.

OCTOBER 24, 2017 6:45 PM

Commodities company expanding at port with new conveyor system

November 1, 2017


PORT OF STOCKTON — One company is making moves to speed up production and make operations more efficient.

M&L Commodities, Inc., based at the Port of Stockton, is expanding its service to include direct-vessel loading and unloading with new high-velocity conveyor belts.

The new conveyors feature 48-inch wide belts and can telescopically reach 190 feet. Maximum delivery of commodities to and from portside vessels can reach a rate of 2,000 tons per hour.

The belts will help with import operations to the company’s facilities, truck and rail and with export from the facilities directly to vessels via ship loader. The move is part of M&L’s expansion plan for infrastructure using “up-to-date, high technology equipment for more productive and efficient operations,” according to a statement released by the company.

M&L Commodities is a logistics service provider, assisting customers with transportation of goods. The company has more than 50 years of experience in international trade. They have strategically placed their operations for close proximity to railways, major interstate arteries and the Port of Stockton.

Their storage facilities are prepared for food grade commodities and organic warehousing, and they refrigerated services, container loading and unloading, full transport operations, vessel loading and unloading and more.

Commodities company expanding at port with new conveyor system


Wonderful Spec Project Underway in Central Valley

The 1 million-square-foot building, which will sit within the 1,600-acre Wonderful Industrial Park in Shafter, Calif., is one of only a few developments of its kind in the market.
4100 Express Ave., Shafter, Calif.
4100 Express Ave. in Shafter, Calif.

The call for premier industrial space in California’s Central Valley is growing louder, and Wonderful Real Estate, formerly Roll Real Estate, is responding with a new project. The company is in the midst of developing a 1 million-square-foot speculative industrial property in Shafter, Calif., roughly 130 miles north of Los Angeles and 100 miles south of Fresno in the Central Valley.

It’s the right time and the right place. “Strengthening market fundamentals, growth of e-commerce and awareness of the Central Valley industrial market has given us the confidence to go spec,” Joe Vargas, president of Wonderful Real Estate Development, said in a prepared statement. WRE is constructing the new building at 4100 Express Ave., within the company’s 1,600-acre, rail-served Wonderful Industrial Park. The project holds the distinction of being one of just a few million-square-foot-plus spec industrial developments currently underway with 40-foot clear height, oversized large truck courts and access to four major U.S. Ports (Los Angeles, Long Beach, Hueneme and Oakland).

4100 Express’s location will provide users with even more than cutting-edge accommodations and coveted transportation infrastructure; it will also offer access to an ample pool of labor that is both qualified and committed. WRE notes that existing tenants at Wonderful Industrial Park consistently record annual labor turnover rates in the low single-digit range.

Central Valley takes center stage

Solid positive net absorption and strong rental growth have characterized the Central Valley industrial market for the last two years, according to a second quarter report by commercial real estate services firm JLL, which spearheads leasing activity at Wonderful Industrial Park. And even in the face of new development, the vacancy rate remains a respectable 5.3 percent and is expected to head downward. There’s something about the Central Valley.

“Demand is coming from primarily big-box users looking to capitalize on real estate costs and outbound distribution. Between super-regional distribution plays and e-commerce distribution the Central Valley is cementing itself as a Tier 1 distribution market within the Southwest U.S.,” Mac Hewett, vice president with JLL, told Commercial Property Executive.

WRE expects 4100 Express to be ready to welcome its first tenants in March 2018.

Image courtesy of Wonderful Real Estate