“People don’t believe anything until the walls go up,” said Jose McNeill, a business park developer.
Well, the walls are going up at Victory Station, the 250,000-square foot development at the intersection of Eighth Street East and Fremont Drive, and he’s right, people are starting to believe.
The large concrete building is clearly nearing final stages of construction, though it needs a roof and much interior work to be completed in the fourth quarter, by current estimate. But commercial realtors at Cushman & Wakefield are already actively seeking potential tenants. And according to managing director Steven Leonard, they’ve had a few nibbles.
McNeill purchased the 19-acre property in 2014 for $4 million, envisioning a quarter-million acre industrial space for case storage and, with the necessary conditional use permits, bottling or even wine production. It’s zoned M3, limited rural industrial, as is much of the Eighth Street corridor.
At the time, he said, it had a battered sign on it promising a long-forgotten project as “Coming in Spring 2004.” But McNeill’s own development is headed for completion this fall, and he is now in the hunt for the ideal tenant. McNeill expressed a preference for a single tenant for the expansive industrial and warehouse facility, but Leonard said they were listening to tenants whose needs were more modest.
“We’ve been marketing the property to tenants with needs of 50,000 square feet or more; those are mainly – given the market up there – wine-related businesses such as wineries, distilleries, and case-good storage,” said Leonard. “At this point in time we’re talking to two winery users for portions of the building.”
Leonard said it’s easier and cheaper to have one tenant in the building, as “demising walls” to separate tenants would not be necessary, or separate utility rooms for different businesses.
The $32 million Victory Station project is well situated: not only along State Highway 121 (Fremont Drive) at the south end of Sonoma’s eighth Street East industrial district, but adjacent to the Northern Pacific tracks – the project is across from the old Schellville Station – in case rail transport is necessary.
The building is constructed with 25 truck-dock doors with 28-foot “clear height,” to permit stacking of up to four pallet-loads. Its huge scale, almost a quarter million square feet, is larger than four football fields.
This project is McNeill’s latest, but far from his only business development site. He’s spearheaded or partnered on multiple projects in the Central Valley, including in Folsom, Fairfield, Roseville and Sacramento, as well as in Nevada.
Recently, he’s been involved in two similarly large local projects. The 267,840-square-foot Cader Corporate Center in Petaluma opened earlier this year, and was fully leased by four companies before it was completed, according to Leonard.
The 374,926-square-foot Greenwood Commerce Center in Napa was also pre-leased prior to its 2015 opening. The owners would like to see the same thing happen at Victory Statoin.
“This is the last great industrial site in Sonoma County,” McNeill said in 2016, and Leonard agreed, saying that with its completion the Sonoma area would be “built out” for large-scale projects.
Leonard encouraged anyone interested to visit vssonoma.com to learn more about the project.
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