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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, October 22, 2012, 6:50 am

Commercial Real Estate: Another Novato game software maker expands

Also: Third-quarter market figures hold steady

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    Jeff QuackenbushSanta Monica-based game software maker Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) expanded its development studio at Hamilton Landing in Novato as the team there released a latest installment for one of the hottest-selling games.

    The studio now has 23,500 square feet at Hamilton Landing after the late September lease renewal and 10,000-square-foot expansion, according to Cornish & Carey Commerical Newmark Knight Frank’s managing North Bay broker, Haden Ongaro. He’s part of the marketing team of Brian Eisberg and Mark Carrington for property owner Hamilton Marin, LLC.

    Activision Publishing’s Skylanders Giants, made by Toys For Bob in Novato, just hit stores. The series is the top-selling kids video game.

    The Marin game-development team, called Toys For Bob (toysforbob.com), created the Skylanders kid-oriented game series, the latest release of which, Skylanders Giants, hit North American stores Oct. 21. Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure was the top-selling kids console and handheld videogame last year and so far this year, according to figures the company cited from research firms The NPD Group and GfK as well as internal figures.

    A line of action figures that interact with game avatars, and are purchased as virtual and physical products through the game, was the top-seller in that category in the first half of this year, according to NPD figures the company cited.

    Activision in 2005 acquired Novato-based game programming company Toys for Bob for an undisclosed price. The two companies worked together on games since 2002. Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford started Toys For Bob in 1989, and Mr. Reiche remains studio executive and creative director.

    The Toys For Bob expansion comes as another Hamilton Landing tenant, 2K Games, adds 22,000 more square feet to its headquarters and game-development studios. [See "Game publisher makes big Novato expansion," Oct. 1.]

    ***

    Sonoma County’s office and industrial vacancy rates barely changed from high levels of a year before — 22.2 percent of 13.8 million square feet of office space and 13.3 percent of 24.2 million square feet of industrial space in the third quarter of this year, according to Keegan & Coppin/ONCOR International.

    Marin County office vacancy rate was 15.5 percent of 9.84 million square feet of class A and B space in the third quarter, down 1.5 percentage points from the third quarter of 2011, according to Cassidy Turley. Class A office vacancy was 23.5 percent of 4.85 million square feet in the third quarter, down from 26.9 percent a year before. Class B vacancy dipped to 8.2 percent 3.58 million square feet from 8.9 percent in that timeframe.

    In the first three quarters of 2012, 180,600 more square feet of Marin office space was available for lease than spoken for.

    Marin’s industrial space vacancy rate in the third quarter was 7.1 percent of 6.35 million square feet, down barely from 6.8 percent a year before. Occupancy growth in the first three quarters of 2012 was just 7,700 square feet.

    The vacancy rate for office space in the business parks in southern Napa Valley was 13.2 percent of 2.57 million square feet, according to Keegan & Coppin. That’s virtually unchanged from the 13.1 percent vacancy a year before but nine-10ths of a percentage point lower than in mid-2012.

    Industrial space vacancy in southern Napa Valley was 11.6 percent of 13.2 million square feet in the third quarter of this year, according to Keegan & Coppin. That’s barely changed from 11.4 percent a year before.

    ***

    Shiloh Oaks Co., owned by the Caletti family that operated Standard Structures in Windsor, has been transforming 300,000-square-foot complex of lumber millwork and storage buildings into a multitenant industrial, warehouse and basic office property called Standard Industrial.

    There are now more than a dozen existing industrial-use tenants and four newcomers. North Coast Tile & Stone moved into 12,000 square feet of new fabrication plant space in August. NutraTech started last year, making sustainable-growing products, and moved into 9,000 square feet in June. Sculptor David Best created the 80-foot wooden “Temple of Juno” for the 2012 Burning Man festival in 8,000 square feet over two months. Sonoma Soil Builders relocated to 2,000 square feet in September.

    Barry Palma and Preston Smith of Cornish & Carey Commercial Newmark Knight Frank are the exclusive leasing agents for Standard Industrial.

    Submit items for this column to Business Journal Staff Writer Jeff Quackenbush at jquackenbush@busjrnl.com or 707-521-4256.

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