In less than a year after making the most significant purchase in the Santa Clarita Valley, Dale Donohoe of Intertex Properties has wasted no time preparing for the buildup of Santa Clarita’s biomedical park.
“We’re spending millions out there to make it the top park in Sothern California,” Donohoe said of himself and investment partners Oaktree Capital Management.
The ink on the deal, signed mid-November 2014, had barely dried before assessments and plans started for upgrading existing buildings and infrastructure, as well as drafting plans to subdivide existing property on the nearly 160 acre park for the construction of new buildings geared to meet the needs of the biosciences field.
Home to companies like Boston Scientific and the Alfred Mann Foundation, in terms of aesthetics this property is unlike any other industrial business park in the Santa Clarita Valley. This biomedical park sits secluded off major arteries but resides quietly on landscaped rolling hills shielded by trees and adorned by lawns.
In the months since the property was acquired all of the preplanning has been done, and approvals lined up to begin building based on market demand. The partnership formed to purchase the property, Valencia Biomedical Park LLC, plans to make land available for a firm that might prefer to build its own facility, as well as it plans to develop some of its own buildings.
“We wanted to be prepared,” Donohoe said. “We planned so that we’re in position later this year or first quarter of next year Q1 next year, we’re prepared so that when the time comes we don’t have to wait 18 months for approvals – we’ll be able to say ‘we’re ready.’”
On top of being prepared for future development, other upgrades have already begun in the biomedical park. One-half of the management office building is being converted into a gymnasium for all tenants in the park to use. And the remaining portion of office space is being remodeled. Buildings number one and two in the park are also undergoing construction work to upgrade those facilities.
“And we’re in plan check now to redo the front entrance; spruce it up, build a new guard house and realign the entrance so it makes an entry statement,” Donohoe said.
Mann Biomedical Park’s owners are also working on attracting a big company to the park, but in order to successfully attract new firms the owners are very close to putting the infrastructure in place to ensure high-speed Internet access is in place in the park – with backup services to create redundancies for companies that absolutely cannot afford to go down at any time.
One of the firms they’re speaking to currently has triple redundancies in place so that if one high-speed service goes down, it can continue to operating on a backup system without skipping a beat. Donohoe said the biomedical park wants to be able to offer that safety valve to companies who might otherwise walk away from the opportunity to operate in the lush settings if reliable high-speed services aren’t in place.
“We’re in negotiations with a vendor to provide to high-speed Internet to the park and we’ve got another one in case we need a backup. Some of the tenants just cannot afford to go up and down at all,” he said.
The plan for subdividing existing property went before Santa Clarita’s city council in late September with city staff recommending approval to subdivide five lots for possible future development, or a maximum of 664 condominium units. Donohoe estimates everything will be in place within the next six months so existing and future tenants have access to reliable high-speed Internet services and plans for construction can be submitted based on market demand.
“When we finish all that, we’ll truly be the premier business park in Southern California,” Donohoe said. “You just can’t replicate the setting.”