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Developers break ground on green-friendly buildings

Industrial center: Project includes plans to help environment, save money

Posted: January 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.

From left to right, developers Weston and Jonathan Cookler shovel dirt at the groundbreaking of their new Avalon Business Center in the Valencia Commerce Center. Their plan is to create four free-standing industrial buildings that will be aesthetically pleasing, as well as good for the environment, energy and employees, saving tenants money.

When many people hear the phrase “industrial building,” visions of large, dark, aesthetically tasteless structures come to mind. The new Avalon Business Center in the Valencia Commerce Center plans on changing that image.

The concrete foundations for two of four planned, freestanding industrial buildings were poured last week. The development is designed for LEED certification, said broker James Ebanks, of the Realty Advisory Group in Valencia.
Owner and developer Avalon Investment Company began grading the five-acre site in September. Plans include construction of the four industrial properties, ranging in size from 10,756 to 48,000 square feet.

The energy-efficient buildings feature both ground-level and dock-high loading areas with 24- to 26-foot height clearance, making the buildings attractive for companies involved in warehousing, as well as manufacturing and assembly operations.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certified buildings must address seven topics, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

Building design and construction must involve planning for sustainable sites, water and energy efficiency; indoor environmental quality through carpeting and paint selection; carbon dioxide-emissions reduction, regional priorities, materials and resources; and address innovation in design.

During the certification process, points are awarded for construction or major renovations, ranging from standard certification to silver, gold and platinum levels. The Avalon Business Center is shooting for the Gold certification, said Weston Cookler, vice president of Avalon Investment Company.

The developer is looking forward to pioneering the green initiative for industrial properties in Santa Clarita, Cookler said.
“Building green means that future tenants will realize operating savings through lower utility bills, water efficiency, and generally superior indoor and outdoor work environments,” Cookler said.

Building features
The warehouse-like structures will feature several skylights and sensors that turn lights on only as needed. The buildings will also feature the ability to light regions of the building as needed, all which add up to a savings in electrical costs.

The development will also be environmentally friendly, Ebanks said, with landscaping that includes local plant life and minimal irrigation, so water won’t be wasted.

Cookler said drought-tolerant plants that do well in this climate will become part of the landscaping and drip irrigation will be part of the maintenance package, reducing water consumption or waste.

Prioritized parking will be available for those driving fuel-efficient vehicles or using carpools. Bike racks will be installed for employees wishing to cycle to work. There will even be shower facilities.

“The entire design is intended to create a better and more thoughtful work environment,” Cookler said. “And reduce the carbon footprint for owners that want to associate and promote their businesses as being green-conscious.”

Companies can benefit from huge cost savings.

Cookler said Avalon has had a great response from the business community.

Ground-floor level
Even though the commercial buildings are designed to include dock-high loading areas, all of each building’s square footage is planned as ground-floor space, allowing both company offices and operations to remain on the ground-floor level.

Ebanks said many tenants prefer the convenience of housing their entire operation on a ground floor.

The project is being developed in two phases. Upon completion, the project will consist of nearly 70,000 square feet. Phase one consists of two freestanding buildings. One is 10,756 square feet, and the other is 14,241 square feet.

The property is located between Industry Drive and Hasley Canyon Road east of Interstate 5, making it an attractive venue for commercial distribution or manufacturing companies.

New tenants have the option of customizing the buildings, allowing them to have significant input into meeting their company’s operational needs.

Valencia Industrial
Avalon Investment Company has been active in the Santa Clarita industrial market since the early ’90s, when the company acquired a 120,000-square-foot business campus on Avenue Crocker. Since, Avalon has developed several projects on Witherspoon Parkway and Livingston Avenue.

Because of the new business center’s LEED design, the Hasley project is considered the company’s signature project in the Santa Clarita Valley, Ebanks said.

“Our firm is enormously proud to work with Avalon,” Ebanks said. “This is a project with such enduring value to the business community in the Santa Clarita Valley.”

James Ebanks and the Realty Advisor Group is located at 28338 Constellation Road, Suite 950, in Valencia. Mr. Ebanks can be reached by calling (661) 702-8880 ext. 12 or e-mailing


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