Monday, August 29, 2005

Business owners get chance to buy offices

Article Last Updated: Friday, Aug 26, 2005 - 11:00:28 pm PDT

Workers with Lusardi Construction are busy building the Venture Commerce Center off Mangels Boulevard in Fairfield. (Photo by Gary Goldsmith)

Business owners get chance to buy offices

By Jeff Mitchell

FAIRFIELD - Lourdes R. Gaerlan is a hard-working dentist.

She has spent countless hours over the last 10 years developing her Suisun City-based practice and has been faithfully paying out $5,000 a month for the lease on her office at 100 Sunset Center.

Now, thanks to what real estate market observers say is a small but growing trend, Gaerlan will soon move into a new office in Green Valley. Only this time the checks she writes won't be rent payments to her landlord. They'll be mortgage payments.

"I'm very excited. This is a great opportunity and a great investment," said Gaerlan, 45. "Being able to own my office is a dream come true."

Gaerlan is expected to be one of 28 owners who will move into a unique four-building office development dubbed the Ventura Commerce Center on Mangels Boulevard in the Green Valley area of Fairfield.

The development allows small business owners a chance to purchase condominium-like office spaces ranging from 1,441 to 3,319 square feet, said Robert Eves, president of Marin-based Venture Corp., the company developing the site.

"We meet business owners who are thrilled with the opportunity to own their properties. They want to control their own destinies, and are tired of making their landlords rich," the 57-year-old Eves said in a recent interview.

In addition to building equity, the new property owners get the advantage of property appreciation and the tax benefits of owning versus renting.

The company's first commerce center was built in 2002 in Silicon Valley's Morgan Hill Ranch area. Since then, the company has 30 of the centers under way across the state at a value of more than $600 million, Eves said.

The properties include a

2-story office on their front side and a so-called "flex area" in the rear with a 21-foot high ceiling.

The buildings are constructed of steel-reinforced raised concrete panels. Each is fully carpeted and equipped with a panelized ceiling system with integrated parabolic lighting and heating and air conditioning systems. The second floors offer views and are designed for business offices, conference areas, laboratories, storage or other uses.

All properties have private restrooms and pre-installed plumbing for kitchenettes, which can include cabinets, stainless steel sinks, microwave ovens and under-counter refrigerators.

The Fairfield site is already about 60 percent sold out and is scheduled for occupancy some time in February 2006, Eves said.

Reach Jeff Mitchell at 427-6977 or

Commercial condos?

Who: Venture Commerce Center, Fairfield

What: A project boasting a new idea in commercial office space has broken ground in Fairfield. Instead of being leased or rented, condominium-like spaces are being sold to small businesses, giving them a chance to build equity. Each of the 28 sites are expect to sell for $300,000 to $750,000, depending on size and location on the property.

When: Projected for sometime in February 2006

Where: Green Valley Corporate Park, Fairfield

Info: (415) 381-1680 or go to

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