ESCONDIDO — Depending on the semantics, it has been 10 years since the city’s last major industrial development project.
Due to economic factors, such as the Great Recession, it has been tough for Escondido to land new proposals.
However, Carlsbad-based Badiee Development is expected to become the first firm to break ground on a new project come mid-December. The developer is planning a sizable project, but must first get council approval.
Nevertheless, Badiee plans to build the Escondido Victory Industrial Park, located at 2005 Harmony Grove Road. It calls for 91,00 square-feet of light industrial in two buildings on 5.24 acres.
Badiee Development began the process last year, purchased the land for about $1.3 million and the $13.5 million construction project is expected to be finished by October 2017.
“The Victory project is the biggest and most notable as of late,” Management Analyst Michelle Geller said. “They are confident they can lease it out.”
While the city has rebounded from the 2008 economic crisis, industrial development has been slow. Geller said this is the most notable project in the past 10 years, although Stone Brewing did add on to its campus.
Geller, though, said the Victory Industrial Park project is unique because there is no specific target for the development.
Scott Merry of Badiee Development said the goal is to land a corporate headquarters, so the design and construction centers on a sharp exterior display.
“It can be any range of tenant or corporate-type user,” he said. “Ideally, it would be one tenant. We are hoping (for a) corporate headquarter-type or somebody that has a business with a small amount of office component in front.”
The project, though, must be approved by the pro-business city council, but the developers must conform to city requirements.
Prior to 2009, the area was designated single-family residential, yet updates in the General Plan changed the designation to industrial, said Escondido Associate Planner Jay Paul.
To cover its bases, Badiee Development is submitting plans to be zoned as industrial.
“These parcels only came available when the General Plan changed,” Paul said. “It’s to be in conformance with the General Plan. As part of their project application, they requested to do plan developments, which is kind of a contract zone. You establish a Master Development Plan with your own zoning criteria.”
As for the project, one building will be about 55,500 square-feet, while the second is expected to be 35,500 square-feet. Parking includes 184 spaces.
In addition to a more aesthetically pleasing architecture, other amenities include loading docks and a 26-foot clearance.
“Looking at the development opportunities, the economy is improving,” Merry said. “Escondido is a good submarket and we were able to find this piece of property. We are seeing businesses now that are starting to grow and expand, so we’re hopeful that we are one of the first projects in the next wave of development to offer the newest, latest and greatest industrial-type project.”
Although the city actively looks for developers, much of Escondido is built out, leaving little land for new construction, Geller said. However, Badiee Development also bought an adjacent parcel of land and has submitted plans for another large project, she added.
One challenge for the city, though, is vacancy rates in its industrial areas. Geller said the rate fluctuates between 1.8 and 2 percent, making it more difficult for new construction.
About 29 acres of vacant land zoned for industrial remains in the city, she added. However, the acreage does not account for property “that may currently be developed, but has the potential for being recycled.”
Ideally, Geller said, owners of run-down or vacant buildings would either sell to anxious developers or redevelop the properties on their own.
“We are mostly built out,” she explained. “We would like to redevelop or turn over (those properties). We would love to see redevelopment.”
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.