By Tammy Murga Signal Staff Writer Vertical construction is underway on a new business park called The Center in Needham Ranch, which is set to include 4.2 million square feet of industrial space. The project, dubbed The Center, sits between Highway 14 and downtown Newhall. Groundbreaking took place about a year ago, and now developers Trammell Crow Company, or TCC, and investors Clarion Partners announced Tuesday that phase one has started, with building on 54 acres of the overall 132-acre site. More specifically, phase one consists of over 860,000 square feet of space for seven buildings, said John Balestra, TCC’s senior vice president. Building for three of the seven have begun, and construction for the next four is expected to start sometime in the fall. Each building will have state-of-the-art features and include 30- to 36-foot interior clear heights with ESFR sprinklers, generous truck courts and yard areas and attractive architectural designs, Balestra said. Developers will also include abundant vehicle parking. Leasing agent Craig Peters added that The Center would offer “best-in-class” industrial facilities, “coveted by media and entertainment, manufacturing, warehousing and logistics/last mile distribution space users.” Balestra explained in a statement that “the average industrial building is over (40) years old and lacks the enhanced functional utility of today’s modern industrial facilities…” With a modern, high-functional design, The Center is setting up to offer what most spaces in the greater Los Angeles North market do not, he said. The site’s location also plays a significant role. The city of Santa Clarita has set a goal to create local employment opportunity to help reduce traffic, and the project is among the many to assist in those efforts, according to Balestra. Patrick Leclair, Senior Planner with the city of Santa Clarita said, “This project will bring a lot of jobs to the city and we are really looking forward to that.” “Many believe there will be more development and more traffic, but that’s not the case as there will be a high-level of employment for anyone that lives nearby,” said Balestra. The site will have “immediate” proximity to the San Fernando and Antelope valleys, and greater Southern California region thanks to its highly accessible location from major highways. Already, developers have received a significant level of interest from potential occupiers, most of which are manufacturing companies from Santa Clarita and the San Fernando valleys, according to Balestra. Besides business development, the city of Santa Clarita and the master developer have set aside hundreds of acres of natural open space for an extensive hiking trail adjacent to the project. This is said to create a “unique natural park like setting with densely landscaped open space,” as stated by TCC. Leclair added that this addition is an “exciting” way to connect residents to a variety of spaces within a close distance from each other. Balestra said there is no estimated finish date as the project remains in the early stages.