Tens of thousands of square feet of new office space are on approach for the 406,000-square-foot Hamilton Landing development in Novato, but this time it will be a replica of the former aircraft hangars that were transformed into high-class hubs for dozens of companies and organizations small and large.
Owners of the Hangar Avenue property plan to build a 53,000-square-foot building on the remaining vacant land in the development, according to Haden Ongaro, head of Newmark Knight Frank’s North Bay team, which has been leasing the project for nearly two decades. Marin County has been short on significant new office properties, he noted.
“It’s been a long time,” Ongaro said.
The twin Belvedere Place buildings were built in Mill Valley 2000. San Rafael Corporate Center was built over the next several years, but it was acquired a few years ago as the new headquarters and research hub for BioMarin Pharmaceutical. That sent existing tenants out into the market looking for a new home.
The new Hamilton Landing Hangar No. 8 is set to look like the concrete aircraft hangars built in the 1930s for the Air Force and later Army base. The base was turned over to the city of Novato in 1974. Two of the remaining hangars are used by the U.S. Coast Guard, and seven were sold in 1998 to Barker Pacific Group, which at the beginning of the 21st century started renovating them one by one into class A office space.
The last construction at Hamilton Landing was nearly a decade ago, with the overhaul on 120,000 square feet in two vacant hangars for Disney’s ImageMovers Digital.
HL Novato, LLC, led by Portland, Oregon-based ScanlanKemperBard Companies, purchased Hamilton Landing in 2015 for roughly $84 million.
The development has had significant vacancies over time, such as the departure of the project’s first major tenant, Smith & Hawken; ImageMovers Digital, which never fully occupied the space before exiting Marin County; and Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, which left recently after a merger. But the vacant space quickly filled with gaming companies such as Take-Two Interactive’s 2K Games and Activision Blizzard’s Toys for Bob and high-technology firms such as Raptor Pharmaceutical.
The property now is nearly full, and Novato asking rates for full-service leases have strengthened in the past year to $3.35 a square foot per month from $2.50, prompting the construction plans, Ongaro said. The ownership is seeking building permits, which are expected to take about six months to secure.
“It should be available to start in spring 2018, if we have a tenant for 25,000 square feet of that building to kick it off,” Ongaro said. Negotiations had started with a 40,000-square-foot prospective tenant, but enough time is left on its current lease term to revisit the deal later, he said. “That prompted the thought that if someone was interested in that much space, probably there would be somebody else out there.”
Jeff Quackenbush (firstname.lastname@example.org, 707-521-4256) covers the wine business and commercial construction and real estate.