By Joshua H. Silavent - Staff Writer
November 6, 2012 - It might not have the star attraction of the famed “Hollywood” sign in the hills above Los Angeles, but for residents of Long Beach the “Fly DC Jets” neon sign atop Boeing’s 717 facility at Douglas Park is iconic just the same.
But when Irvine-based developer Sares-Regis Group purchased the hangar space from Boeing in early October, the fate of the sign was unknown, giving pause to many admirers who thought they might never again see the neon lights glowing as they traveled the I-405 at night.
“The old ‘Fly DC Jets’ sign was kind of like an old, comfortable shoe to me,” Greg Moore, president of Tell Steel Inc. in Long Beach, wrote to the Business Journal. “Whether coming home from work or coming home from out of town, seeing that sign made me think the journey was nearly over.”
There is good news to report to Moore and others who share his sentiment.
“One of the commitments we’ve made to Boeing is that the sign would be prominently displayed,” said Peter Rooney, president of the commercial investment division at Sares-Regis.
Rooney added that Sares-Regis intends to reuse the existing hangar space, but if a market does not exist for the building, then it will likely be redeveloped. The sign then could potentially be moved to another building within the Douglas Park property, but it will still be given the same prestige.
“The sign is a real prominent landmark for the city,” Rooney said. “Obviously, it’s fantastic at night.”
The future of the 717 facility, which includes two hangars totaling about one million square feet on 52 acres of real estate, reveals a great deal about the development of Pacific Pointe at Douglas Park and what it holds for future tenants. “It’s a very unique property,” Rooney said.
The configuration allows for interested parties to add value to their business, such as increasing production or manufacturing lines, and zoning allows for a broad range of industrial uses, Rooney said. However, there are restrictions on third party public warehousing, which excludes trucking companies from using the site.
The 717 facility is the final addition to the Sares-Regis portfolio at Douglas Park, which began about one year ago with the purchase of Pacific Pointe North, followed about six months later with the purchase of Pacific Pointe South.
Construction finished on Pacific Pointe North (phase I) in early November, while grading for Pacific Pointe South (phase II) began about the same time.
Phase I development includes four buildings, each built speculatively, with square footage ranging from 33,000 to 170,000. The buildings are within enterprise and foreign trade zones, and city and county incentive programs are available for prospective buyers or leasers.
Interest has been strong, Rooney said, and several commitments have been made to purchase or lease the buildings. He expects to close on the first by year’s end.
Rooney said the buildings provide a nice mix of consolidated uses. “We kind of think of them as corporate headquarters,” he added. “It’s a fabulous combination of office jobs and industrial jobs under one roof.”
The buildings are higher-end alternatives to other properties in the South Bay and appeal to mature, local companies looking to consolidate operations, rather than trucking or other industrial uses associated with the Port of Long Beach, for example, Rooney said.
Pacific Pointe North also benefits from being centrally located between several major interstates and freeways, which broadens its appeal. “We’re pulling companies from a 20-mile radius,” Rooney said. “The draw of this project is really the location.”
Development of Pacific Pointe South, meanwhile, will include three buildings totaling more than 413,000 square feet on 21 acres. Like its predecessor, phase II is a mix of office and industrial/warehouse uses, though trucking and public warehousing restrictions remain. A completion date is set for summer 2013.