A newly released report from Coldwell Banker Commercial details commercial activity that’s occurring throughout Southern California. This artist rendering of a new research facility for Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI) in Pasadena is one of many projects that are underway throughout the region.

By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Posted: 04/23/17 – 11:23 AM PDT |

Southern California’s commercial real estate market is booming, according to new report from Coldwell Banker Commercial.

The company’s Blue Book market intelligence report for 2016 says the region is gaining traction in a variety of areas, ranging from business expansion and low office vacancy rates to an increase in land sales and strong activity at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The report notes, for example, that four new companies have leased nearly 40,000 square feet of research and development space in Pasadena over the past six months. And Kaiser Permanente continues to expand its office and medical space in the city.

“We’re building a medical school to train doctors who will either work for Kaiser or somewhere else,” Kaiser spokesman Lowell Goodman said. “It’s a four-story, 80,000-square-foot building that will be on the corner of Los Robles Avenue and Green Street. It should be completed in early 2019 and the first class will come in that summer. This is a big deal for us and for Pasadena.”

Kaiser currently employs 4,825 people at seven facilities throughout the city, including 119 physicians.

Huntington Hospital and Huntington Medical Research Institutes are building more than 260,000 square feet of new hospital and R&D space, the report said, and the office vacancy rate in the Pasadena/Burbank area hit a new recent low of 7.9 percent.

Frank Davis, HMRI’s vice president of finance, said a 35,000-square-foot research building is currently under construction on South Fair Oaks Avenue.

“We have four buildings now, but we sold one and are leasing another one,” he said. “The new building should be completed by November and we hope to be up and functioning by January of 2018. We needed more space and a more modern facility for our scientists to work in so they can do better research.”

Jumping to the San Fernando Valley, the report highlights Westfield Corp.’s plan to build an enormous mixed-use complex to replace the aging Promenade Shopping Mall in Woodland Hills. The project will bring 1,400 units of housing and two hotels to Warner Center.

“It’s always a good thing whenever you can get more housing, but in the last few years a lot of the housing that has gone in close to Warner Center and along the Orange Line has been higher-end housing,” said Mel Wilson, broker and owner of Mel Wilson & Associates Realtors in Northridge.

Many of those units, he said, have been apartments that are too expensive for most middle-class workers.

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