Trammell Crow, Principal to Build Clean Manufacturing Center in L.A.

Trammell Crow and Principal Real Estate bought a 20-acre former Crown Coach site in downtown Los Angeles, where they will build the CleanTech Manufacturing Center.

Trammell Crow and Principal Real Estate Investors have acquired the 20-acre former Crown Coach site in downtown Los Angeles, where they will develop the CleanTech Manufacturing Center (CTMC), a 370,000-square-foot Class A spec industrial campus, the companies announced yesterday. The project, which reportedly will be the largest contiguous industrial space in downtown L.A., is slated to be ready for occupancy by the fourth quarter of next year.

The project will consist of up to three single- or multi-tenant buildings totaling about 370,000 square feet. Amenities are to include 100 percent secured and gated facilities to accommodate bonded manufacturing and storage warehouses, 32-foot clear heights, 120- to 135-foot concrete truck courts, 60-foot speed bays, flexible column spacing, T-5 lighting, photovoltaic panels, 3 percent skylighting, reflective roofing, high-efficiency HVAC, ESFR sprinklers and finished ground-floor offices. The development team will seek LEED for New Construction Silver certification.

Leasing will be managed by John Privett and John Hillman of the CBRE Group Inc. El Segundo office.

Bradley Cox, senior managing director for Trammell Crow’s Los Angeles Business Unit, described the process of acquiring the site from CRA/DLA, the successor to the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, as “long [and] challenging.”

Sr. Managing Director for Trammell Crow’s L.A. Business Unit Bradley Cox

The CTMC, formerly Crown Coach, site is approximately at East Washington Boulevard/East 23rd Street, between South Santa Fe Avenue and the Los Angeles River, with access to I-10, I-5 and the 60 Freeway.

Founded in 1903 as Crown Carriage Co., Crown Coach Corp. eventually grew into a sizable regional builder of truck bodies, fire engines and especially school buses. In late 1986 Crown Coach entered into receivership, and its assets were bought at auction the following year by a General Electric subsidiary. Bus production ended for good in March 1991.

At some point, CRA/DLA purchased the land from the State of California and later remediated the site. In 2011, the agency sold the property to Genton Property Group, of Los Angeles, to build a $90 million, 500,000-square-foot industrial complex.

The site is also at the southern end of the four-mile CleanTech Corridor and within the East Los Angeles State Enterprise Zone.

CTMC might have some difficulty finding tenants, Ben Stapleton, vice president and practice leader for Jones Lang LaSalle’s Cleantech Practice group, suggested to Commercial Property Executive.

“Currently, there is not a lot of demand for manufacturing space in downtown Los Angeles,” he said, because labor costs and a relative lack of incentives, compared with those offered by other municipalities, make it very expensive to operate in downtown L.A.

That said, Stapleton added that electric-vehicle companies that see large demand in the West and solar companies that are working on projects in California might be attracted to CTMC.

According to second-quarter figures from Jones Lang LaSalle, the Central (downtown) L.A. manufacturing inventory totals about 45 million square feet with not quite 1 percent negative absorption year-to-date.  The total vacancy rate is 3.9 percent, and no space is reported to be under construction at this time.