Real estate developers stake out Sonoma Co. warehouse turf
Warehouses are hot merchandise in Sonoma County these days. Two commercial-land sales north of Santa Rosa totaling about 50 acres were purchased by developers with deep local history recently, and Petaluma’s largest warehouse project in years is spoken for long before construction wraps.
On Aug. 31, Airport Business Center purchased 24 acres of land at 1631 Airport Blvd., near the entrance to Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport. The seller was SeaStack Enterprises LLC, which has been holding on the property for a decade and a half and had secured a tentative map from the county for development of industrial space.
“We just needed some more inventory,” said Larry Wasem, managing member of Airport Business Center, which has been developing more than 360 acres of commercial land east of the airport for decades. “We have a number of deals in the works.”
The developer is talking to a few tenants who are looking for 30,000 to 150,000 square feet of warehouse space.
“If someone wanted something bigger than 150,000 square feet, it would be hard to figure out where to put them that’s zoned [for it],” Wasem said.
Shawn Johnson of Keegan & Coppin/ONCOR International represented the buyer and seller
Another deal nearby, completed in May, was for 22 acres along Copperhill Parkway between Westwind and North Laughlin boulevards. Billa Enterprises LLC purchased the land from Brondi Development, which has been rolling out buildings in Westwind Business Park for the past two decades.
The property was being considered by Russian River Brewing for a 50,000-square-foot production facility, before the Santa Rosa company ultimately decided to ink a deal with Airport Business Center for a plant, still under development, nearby in Windsor.
At the helm of Billa is Ajaib Bhadare, a board member of Santa Rosa’s First Community Bank and a founder of Cerent Corp., a telecommunications equipment company that made a big splash for a quick-lived Petaluma-centered cluster called Telecom Valley. Cisco Systems purchased it in 1999 for more than $7 billion. After that, Bhadare was an investor in multiple projects with early Telecom Valley real estate developer Basin Street Properties.
Bhadare could not be reached for comment. Danny Jones of Keegan & Coppin represented Billa in the sale. Dave Peterson and Jeffrey Wilmore of Keegan & Coppin represented the seller.
At Petaluma’s first large industrial project in years, the project recently became fully leased, although tenants won’t be moving in for months. The remaining upwards of 100,000 square feet in the Cader Corporate Center project just off Lakeville Highway in south Petaluma has been leased to an as-yet undisclosed company.
“It’s 100 percent leased,” said Steven Leonard, part of the Cushman & Wakefield team marketing the project.
Very low industrial vacancy, particularly for large-scale warehousing, had the developer expecting quick leasing of the space.
“Given the level of activity we’re seeing now, we anticipate the project will be 100 percent preleased by the time we complete construction,” Ross Berry told the Business Journal in February as construction started. He’s senior director in the San Francisco office of New York Life Real Estate Investors, which is co-managing the project for owner MNCVAD-Ind Petaluma CA LLC.
Already set to go into the project are two Petaluma success stories: wine-focused Scott Laboratories and dairy producer Clover-Stornetta Farms. In late January they signed 10-year leases for 58 percent of the 259,600-square-foot development.