In the strongest sign yet that the demand for new warehousing and distribution space has far outstripped supply in Southern California, Colliers International has announced that ground has been broken on the much-anticipated 2.1 million-square-foot, multi-building Empire Gateway project in Chino, California, that now ranks as the largest speculative industrial development in the western United States.

Developed for Invesco Real Estate by Sares Regis Group (SRG) of Irvine, California, the four-building development will be delivered to the market by the second quarter of 2014. SRG will deliver to Invesco four completed LEED-certified buildings in a marketplace where demand has been so strong that vacancy rates among Class “A” buildings in this category of commercial real estate has been less than 1 percent, according to officials of both SRG and Colliers.

The project is being marketed by a team of brokers from Colliers’ Ontario office led by Senior Executive Vice Presidents Thomas Taylor and Steven Bellitti. They will be joined on the Colliers marketing team by Vice President Josh Hayes and Associate Vice President Summer Coulter. 

Located on one of Chino’s vanishing dairy farms, this 125-acre site is the last parcel of its size that is zoned for “Big Box” development, which when compared to the balance of the Inland Empire, offers much closer accessibility to the major population centers of Southern California including the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

“ Other major distribution and warehousing sites have been forced to build ‘Big Box’ warehousing and distribution centers much further east in the Inland Empire,” said Taylor . “If the old cliché of ‘location, location, location’ has ever been truer than here, I’d like to see where.”

According to Bellitti, the development’s central location to major interstate highways and  freeways – Interstates 10 and 15 and the 91, 71, and 60 freeways, also makes it one of the most desirable locations for tenants in need of either local or regional distribution and warehousing uses.

“This is the final sizable piece of buildable land that is this close to the population centers of Los Angeles, Orange County, and the Inland Empire and that will translate into major cost savings to tenants in terms of fuel costs and major reductions in the time it takes to get the goods from the ports to their various markets,” he added. 

“Demand for close in large industrial space keeps growing, but the supply has dwindled to practically nothing and we expect there to be strong demand for these buildings before they are completed,” added Taylor.  “We have been running out of this type of space for large industrial users and these buildings should help greatly ease that demand.”

The two largest buildings will total 779,052 square feet and 658,756 square feet, respectively, and both will feature cross-dock loading. The first building will include 134 dock-high loading doors, four ground-level loading doors, and spaces for 200 semi-truck trailers. The second building will feature 116 dock-high loading doors, four ground-level loading doors, and spaces for 159 trailers.

The third building measures a total of 522,267 square feet with 63 dock-high loading doors and two ground-level doors with parking available for 134 trailers at any given time. The fourth and smallest building will total some 89,000 square feet with 11 dock-high loading doors and two ground-level doors. These two structures will be limited to single-sided loading, according to Bellitti.

Echoing the sentiments of Colliers’ Bellitti and Taylor, SRG’s Larry Lukanish noted that there is great demand for these buildings.  

“Chino is the closest ‘big-box’ destination to the nearby ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and is served by three major freeways,” he added. “Market conditions, in terms of marketing these properties, couldn’t be better for the Colliers team.”