The Santa Clarita Planning Commission approved Tuesday a little over 400,000 square feet of warehouse and 26,000 square feet of office space to go with it at the northeast corner of Oak Ridge Drive and Railroad Avenue.
The approval comes as local business officials have reported a real scarcity of available industrial park space in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The first building in the industrial park would be 55 feet in height, with the other three being 50 feet tall. Since the building height limit for the city’s Industrial Zone is 35 feet, the project’s applicant, Covington Development Partners LLC, or CDP, was in front of the commission in order to request a conditional use permit.
“We’ve worked four and a half years on this project with staff, and we think we have finalized a true state-of-the-art business park that’s going to bring great jobs to the city,” said Dana Whitmer, a partner with CDP, during Tuesday’s hearing.
In explaining the demand for the project, he said there was very little available industrial space available of its kind. The latest data from the SCV Economic Development Corp., indicates that the vacancy rate for industrial space is approximately 1.4% for May, the most recent figures available.
The first building would be a total of 260,000 square feet, including 10,000 square feet of office space. The other buildings would vary in size from about 50,000 square feet to 78,000 square feet.
“The project site was used for various industrial uses since the 1950s,” according to a city staff report. “This includes a building materials yard, approved by the county of Los Angeles before the city’s incorporation in 1987, and commercial RV storage on a surface parking lot, starting in 1997.”
The project would provide 526 parking spaces, which is slightly more than the required amount. The site was initially approved for a similar use in 2009.
The county Sheriff’s Department did send over security recommendations for the project, according to the city planner who presented the project, Andy Olsen. The recommendations were part of a strategy known as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, he said, and referred to measures like thinning the landscaping to provide fewer hiding spaces, as well as additional lighting and security cameras.
Whitmer said the project, which would have a wide variety of tenants and allow for 24-hour occupancy, was planning to comply with the Sheriff’s Department recommendations.
Covington Development Partners is the development arm of Covington Group’s fully integrated industrial real estate platform. The Dallas-based business ”currently controls over 2,000 acres of prime industrial development land in the highly constrained Southern California market, with the ability to entitle almost 27million square feet of industrial space,” according to the business’s website.
“Founded in 1989, Covington Group specializes in the acquisition, development and management of warehouse, distribution, manufacturing and e-commerce facilities across the nation.”
The project earned the support of local unions, which had several who spoke in favor of its approval, due to the project signing agreements that stipulated their work on the project’s construction.