A portion of the Cabrillo Business Park in Goleta recently sold to developer RAF Pacifica Group in a movement that could challenge downtown Santa Barbara’s claim as the principal business hub on the South Coast.
RAF Pacifica, a development company in Encinitas that has an office in Santa Barbara, purchased 11 acres of the business park from Sares-Regis Group with plans to build about 145,000 square feet of office and flexible research and development space.
The transaction price was not disclosed in the Dec. 17 news release, but it stated that the property was listed for more than $26 million.
“This project will increase the surrounding property values, but more importantly it will add depth to Goleta’s tech and engineering corridor, which is such an important engine for our local economy,” said Christos Celmayster of Hayes Commercial Group, which represented RAF Pacifica.
He said that Goleta’s industrial vacancy has remained below 5 percent for the past 5 years and that this project “will help alleviate the tight industrial market and provide more options for all types of industrial users.”
The Cabrillo Business Park is already home to the headquarters of footwear manufacturer Deckers Brands, as well as Flir, UC Santa Barbara, Ergomotion and Texas Instruments.
With startups from nearby UCSB and larger companies in nearby Santa Barbara and Carpinteria areas, the space could attract and retain a collective “who’s who of tenants,” said Paul Gamberdella, a partner at Radius Commercial Real Estate, who represented the seller along with partners Bob Tuler and Gene Deering.
Possible tenants might be companies with strong reputations that are looking to expand or consolidate several locations under one roof.
The downtown has been a hotbed of activity too, boasting names like LogicMonitor and CJ Affiliate with Amazon expected to take over the vacant Saks Off 5th location in the heart of downtown. Ventura-based The Trade Desk is looking for space in a downtown that has suffered high retail vacancies and public safety issues.
“If history is any guide, there will continue to be companies that get their start in this community that come out of UCSB,” Gamberdella said, noting that the challenge for RAF will be making the business park a “cool place to work” for the types of tenants it hopes to attract.
Based on what the developer has done in other markets, he said he believes they will be successful, and that it bodes well for the entire South Coast business market.
Cabrillo Business Park, located at 6701-6775 Hollister Ave., is the second largest in the Tri-Counties, according to the Business Times’ Book of Lists, and the facilities’ current square footage is 767,000.
The recent transaction consisted of five parcels of fully entitled commercial land, about 11.36 acres, located on Coromar Drive, near Hollister Avenue, and Los Carneros Road; it’s also near the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport.
RAF Pacifica plans to build four single-story flexible R&D buildings and one two-story office building, ranging from about 16,750 square feet to 44,924 square feet.
Construction will begin in early 2019 and finish by fall of 2020. The four flex buildings will be built concurrently, and the office building on a longer timeline.
“This development will be ‘creative flex’ space, which basically means the building has an industrial profile but has infrastructure and natural light that enable it to be adapted for a variety of uses, including creative office, lab/R&D, manufacturing, or warehouse,” said Celmayster in an email.
Although Hayes will be marketing spaces in the new development to a variety of tenants, Celmayster said “there’s a good chance it will attract creative office, R&D and/or tech manufacturing users.”
Francois DeJohn, also of Hayes Commercial, is also currently marketing another entitled commercial parcel for sale in the park at 6701 Hollister Ave.
It’s likely been more than 30 years since a single-story, industrial R&D building has been constructed for business use within the community, said Gamberdella.
“It’s exciting because it’s a product our market hasn’t seen in a long time, and a product that lots of tenants in our community are seeking,” he said.
RAF Pacifica specializes in creative industrial office spaces. The new buildings will feature 28-foot ceilings, loading areas, natural lighting and solar-readiness, Celmayster said. An outdoor break area will be available with walking trails and recreational ball courts nearby.
With this deal, Sares-Regis sold its last entitled lots at Cabrillo Business Park, according to the release.
It purchased the land for the 92-acre project in 1998, developed a master plan and pursued entitlements to create the largest business park of its kind between Los Angeles and San Jose.
“We are very pleased a company with RAF Pacifica’s history of building first class buildings is completing the final steps of our vision for the master-planned project,” Steve Fedde of Sares-Regis Group said in the release.
The price is the highest-value purchase of commercial land on the South Coast in more than 10 years, the statement said.
“If you tried to start now from square one — buy land and build a project like this somewhere else on the South Coast — you would be lucky to break ground within 10 years,” Celmayster said.
Radius and Hayes have a long history of sale and lease transactions in Cabrillo Business Park. Tuler co-brokered Sares-Regis’ acquisition of the park in 1998. Gamberdella also helped manage DuPont’s lease of 148,000 square feet in another portion of the park, which was later purchased by Flir in a transaction that Hayes brokered. The recent purchase represents Celmayster’s second sale within the Cabrillo Business Park.