Industrial development being built near Long Beach Airport

Construction is underway on a $95-million collection of industrial buildings at Douglas Park, a former aerospace manufacturing base next to the Long Beach Airport.

Sares-Regis Group is constructing seven buildings with a combined 667,000 square feet that it hopes to sell. The fact that the Irvine developer is building on speculation — without a buyer or tenant lined up — is a sign of how healthy the regional industrial property market has become.

"We expect a great deal of buyer interest because the Long Beach and South Bay area is one of the nation's tightest industrial markets," said Larry Lukanish, senior vice president at Sares-Regis.

The South Bay industrial market, which includes Long Beach, has one of the lowest vacancy rates of any major market in the United States, Lukanish said. South Bay vacancy settled at 3.4% at the end of last year, according to data from brokerage CB Richard Ellis, which is marketing the project.

When completed this summer, the buildings will range from 33,455 square feet to 170,673 square feet. The complex will be known as Pacific Pointe.

The 260-acre Douglas Park was approved by city leaders in 2004. It was intended to revive the site of the defunctBoeing Co.aircraft manufacturing plant, built by Douglas Aircraft Co., which once employed about 50,000 people. Aviation entrepreneur Donald Douglas founded the company that merged with McDonnell Aircraft Corp. in 1967 to form McDonnell Douglas Corp., which was acquired by Boeing in 1997.

A Boeing facility that makes the C-17 military aircraft still operates adjacent to Douglas Park.

Skid row hotel is renovated

A skid row hotel notorious for being one of the worst drug-trafficking locales in Los Angeles has been transformed through a $28-million makeover into housing for low-income residents.

SRO Housing Corp. bought the Ford Hotel in 2008 and renovated it. It now contains 150 studio units with kitchenettes and full bathrooms — an upgrade from the communal restrooms of the past.

Residents have access to computers, a television lounge and a private tiled courtyard.

The Ford was built in 1925 as a six-story residence hotel with 295 units. As the neighborhood deteriorated in the mid 20th century, the Ford grew into one of the most dangerous housing complexes in the city.

In 2004, The Times reported that police had taken 111 crime reports there during the previous 19 months and made 21 arrests for offenses such as drug sales, domestic violence, shoplifting, robbery and homicide. They removed four bodies.

The badly deteriorated structure at 1002 E. 7th St. had to be gutted during the renovation and even required replacement of its rotted support columns, said architect Wade Killefer of Killefer Flammang Architects, the Santa Monica firm that redesigned the Ford.

Hotel occupants include formerly homeless people suffering from mental illness and low-income residents.

The renovation was funded by grants from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency and tax credits, Joseph Corcoran of SRO Housing said.

Inter/Media will relocate to Woodland Hills

Marketing firm Inter/Media Group of Cos. will relocate to Woodland Hills from Encino next month as it becomes the largest tenant in two buildings the company bought.

Inter/Media will occupy two of the three floors in the larger of two buildings encompassing 40,000 square feet at 22110 and 22120 Clarendon St. The value of the purchase and improvements is $10 million, the company said.

The curving design of Inter/Media's new offices mimics the sound wave for the word "yes."

"We love the voiceprint embodied in our new headquarters that is a positive expression of engagement," Chief Executive Robert Yallen said.

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