Monday, August 27, 2007

Commercial condos offer option for ownership in Vacaville

Commercial condos offer option for ownership

When the project is completed in 2008, the Venture Commerce Center-Vacaville will consist of 35 privately owned business properties.

By Jennifer Gentile/Staff Writer

Article Launched: 08/27/2007 06:53:32 AM PDT

Work begins next month on a cluster of commercial condominiums in Vacaville - a project intended to make ownership an option for small businesses.

The project, called Venture Commerce Center-Vacaville, is expected to open in March 2008, according to a statement from Larkspur-based Venture Corporation.

The development is to consist of 35 privately owned business properties, ranging from 946 to 2,919 square feet, in six separate buildings.

The development will be located in the business park at the intersection of Interstate 505 and Vaca Valley Parkway.

The center will allow businesses to own, instead of lease, their properties, according to Venture Corp, and take advantage of the tax benefits and other advantages ownership entails.

"It's the first of its kind in Vacaville at this level of quality," said Economic Development Director Mike Palombo, who added that the center "gives businesses an option they don't currently have."

According to Robert Eves, Venture Corp. president, about four out of five American businesses have fewer than 20 employees.

"What a lot of those companies would like to have is a business that's theirs," he said. "Developers, historically, have not built small properties for companies of fewer than 20 employees to own.

Eves and his company have set about trying to meet that need, and Venture Corp. is now involved in 54 projects totaling 3.6 million square feet in five states.

"Our niche, since we started this, is to provide an opportunity for small businesses to own, and not just make their landlords rich," he said.

The company completed a center in Fairfield in 2005, which Palombo liked enough to consider a similar development in Vacaville.

"I went over to see it, and I was very impressed," Palombo said. "I arranged for (Community Development Director Scott Sexton) and the mayor to tour the project, and I think they were impressed, too. I think all of that helped their reception here."

The Fairfield project drew what Palombo called "a nice mix" of businesses that included mortgage companies and medical practices, among others.

"It's a very flexible design; it's attractive," he said, adding "the proposal could be very interesting for small businesses in this community."

The Venture Corp. Properties will be offered in two designs, and some of the units in one building will have roll-up truck doors that can be converted to storefront. The units in some buildings have "flex areas" in the rear, which can be used for additional offices, warehousing, light manufacturing and other purposes.

Ernie Knodel, development vice president, said the company is in the process of obtaining a building permit for the project. Information about the company and its venture centers in Northern California and elsewhere can be seen at www.venture

Jennifer Gentile can be reached at vacaville@thereporter.

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