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Turning vacant property around

Local contractor, developer re-envisions retail center

Posted: August 28, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 28, 2013 2:00 a.m.

The Gateway Promenade center on The Old Road is filling up with non-retail tenants as the owner targets businesses that don't rely on a lot of cross traffic.

Built as a retail shopping center with poor access to and from major streets and freeways in Santa Clarita, and opened in 2007 just prior to the economic crash, the Gateway Promenade center has been re-envisioned by Intertex Companies — and it’s paying off.

Intertex acquired the property through a discounted payoff in November 2012, though terms of the deal were not announced when the sale closed.

Prior to that, the property remained mostly tenant-free — except for the Home Consignment Center — for five years, as the economy crashed.

The 89,667 square foot center on The Old Road was originally designed as a retail furniture outlet center, said Dale Donohoe, president of Intertex.

Space was also provided for some ancillary services like fast food and coffee shops. And there’s another 9,100 square feet of space available to build upon.

Intertex has been building and developing projects for three decades. But, once the market turned, Intertex began buying finished and distressed properties, said Darcey Oldhafer at the time of the purchase.

During the recession it didn’t make sense to build, she said. So Intertex bought several properties out of foreclosure; and in some cases bought notes and then foreclosed.

Lack of easy access to local roads and the freeway, however, reduces the amount of daily cross traffic that would bring retail clients by the Gateway Promenade center on a daily basis.

There really isn’t much retail opportunity there. The location of the property really makes it much more of a destination location, Donohoe said.

So Intertex has gone about finding its own tenants, basically through word of mouth, he said.

For businesses and organizations, however, that don’t rely upon drive by traffic, foot traffic or homes within their immediate area — it’s a highly visible center because it sits right off the Interstate 5 freeway.

Already home to the Home Consignment Center and Subway sandwich shop, more new tenants have filled the space including WayForward Technologies, Capelli Salon and Higher Vision Church.

“Another tenant we’ve just signed up is called People’s Care,” Donohoe said. “It’s 6,500 square feet and they provide adult day care services for the mentally disabled.”

Targeting a different tenant base is paying off.

In under a year, the Gateway Promenade center has gone from an 18 percent occupancy rate to 88 percent, Oldhafer said.

As for the other properties Intertex owns or is developing and building, the company has been kept busy this year.

“Right now we’re real busy,” Donohoe said. “I’m not sure if the market turned but I hope we stay busy.”




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