Irvine Developer Buys Toyota Torrance Campus

The much-anticipated sale of Toyota’s sprawling Torrance campus has officially closed, turning over the keys to Irvine-based Sares-Regis Group, which anticipates redeveloping the entire 110-acre site.

The purchase price was a reported $270 million(I check the tax rolls and the sale closed at $210 million) on the sale, which closed escrow on Wednesday, October 17th(title recorded on the 18th). Privately held Sares-Regis plans to redevelop the 16 separate parcels using the same approach it employed at the former McDonnell Douglas-Boeing site north of Long Beach Airport.

Currently 80 percent complete, what’s now known as Douglas Park is a 250-acre project that includes corporate headquarters, retail and hotels. The project has been recognized for its creative reuse of existing buildings and its attention to design detail for the new buildings constructed on site.

“That’s the kind of model we like,” said Peter Rooney, president of Sares-Regis’ commercial development division. “We’re hoping to bring a lot of new jobs and companies to the site.”

No housing is planned for the north Torrance parcels located just feet from the 405 Freeway, he said.

“We do build residential, but we have no plans to do residential there given the location next to the refinery,” Rooney said. “I’m not sure it’s a good fit. We’re looking at all the buildings and assessing the buildings,” he added.

The Torrance property includes some automobile-specific uses such as hydrogen fueling stations, a carwash and an auto-test facility. But most of it is a self-contained environment set up to support Toyota’s corporate functions such as accounting, finance and communications.

There are 18 buildings on multiple city blocks, a data center, five diesel power generators, two helipads, two dining centers, one cafeteria, a tennis court and a fitness center with a swimming pool. It also has 8,000 parking places.

Rooney said he didn’t know whether Amazon, which is looking to build a second headquarters, is interested in the site. As many as 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment in the new campus is at stake. Bids are due Thursday, with analysts suggesting in recent days that Austin, Texas, has the inside track.

“Every city in America is interested in trying to work with Amazon,” Rooney said. “We’ve told city officials that we would work with them to try to attract Amazon, but at the end of the day, Amazon is going to go where they want to go.

“I have no feel for whether Amazon is interested in this site or not,” he added. “This site could work, but I’m not sure they’re focusing on Southern California.”

Founded in 1993, Sares-Regis Group has developed and acquired more than $7 billion in commercial and residential properties. The company manages a portfolio of about 25 million square feet of office and industrial space and 18,000 apartment units.

Source:  LA Times & Daily Breeze

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