Personalized attention, fast action and a focus on client needs are the hallmarks of Seventh Street Development. The Long Beach, California real estate development firm that focuses infill Southern California Commercial Real Estate Developments prides itself on the fact that its principals, Craig Furniss and Doug Hinchliffe, are heavily involved with every project it engages.
“We don’t make excuses,” Furniss says. “The advantage of working with a principal is that when there’s a problem, we fix it and make sure we get things right. That’s why it is so important for a principal to be engaged in all of the assignments a company takes on. In fact, the architects, engineers and contractors we hire for our projects often have a similar business model.”
So committed is Seventh Street Development to this pledge to client service that the company is willing to sacrifice having large volumes of clients in order to fulfill it. While Furniss focuses more on client relationships, project management and marketing, Hinchliffe, a former mayor, has strong experience in government relations and procuring entitlements. Because of the experience of the two principals and the rest of the Seventh Street team, the firm is able to take on a wide variety of development assignments for its clients and investors.
“Seventh Street offers a unique blend of institutional discipline and financial strength implemented by local, hands-on entrepreneurs,” says Furniss. “We have a great blend of these two attributes which are vital to attract the type of capital and business relationships necessary to develop large commercial projects in today’s economy.”
HUY FONG FOODS
The company has had an opportunity to demonstrate these strengths with one of its latest projects, a new, 23-acre, single occupant headquarters and manufacturing facility for Huy Fong Foods in Irwindale, California. The client, one of the largest and most well-known manufacturers of hot sauces in the world, has enjoyed the ability to change certain elements in the facility, even after the design had been finalized.
Wanting to both own its facility and be located in Southern California, Huy Fong Foods tuned to Seventh Street because of its deep understanding of the local market, its relationships with local city governments and local Redevelopment Agencies as well as its history of successful industrial developments.
“While they had a lot of knowledge in food processing, they had never built a facility from the ground up,” Furniss says. “We have the understanding of the local market, as well as the city and professional relationships to build a turnkey 650,000 square foot manufacturing and headquarters facility at an exceptional value for them. Huy Fong also wanted to have single point of contact that could help them from site selection all the way through to giving them the keys at the end.”
While the development, the largest construction project in Los Angeles County in 2010, has gone well thus far, it was interrupted a bit by an unusually rainy fall and winter in Southern California.
“Typically it does not rain much here, especially in the October and November months,” Furniss says. “On October 6, the day of the ground breaking, it rained like crazy and we had to bring a tent out for the ceremony. Since then, we have had to endure one of the wettest winters on record for this area.”
Fortunately, Seventh Street has been able to work with its team to overcome this challenge, thanks in large part to careful project management but also with a little help from well-draining soil at this location.
“We are closely managing the schedule and the project them so that at the end of the day, the impacts on the client are minimized,” Furniss says. “Staying on schedule is vital to Huy Fong Foods in order to make the next chili processing season.”
MISSION-71 BUSINESS PARK
Another project underway for Seventh Street Development is the Mission-71 Business Park, a 460,000 square-foot master-planned development located in Pomona, California. With 14 buildings stretched across 22 acres, the award-winning development features amenities such freeway visibility, dock high loading, fenced yards and on-site security on nights and weekends.
The first phase of the project was completed in 2007 and the second phase is fully entitled and ready to start construction upon one or more commitments from a buyer or tenant. This phase has required Seventh Street to work closely with the City of Pomona and CalTrans on a freeway overpass and off-ramp upgrade that will service the project.
“When that Mission Boulevard off-ramp and grade separation at the 71 Freeway is completed in 2011, we believe our final 10 acres of property for the second phase will be well positioned for build-to-suit developments,” Furniss says.
Furniss also notes that the buildings at Mission-71 are the highest quality industrial buildings in the area, a characteristic which is typical of Seventh Street. Our goal is to deliver a high quality building at an exceptional value. We aren’t always the lowest priced option, but when someone is going to own a building or lease it for 10 years, they want functional, energy efficient buildings that are easy to maintain. In Pomona, we are also fortunate to have low property taxes compared to neighboring communities.
Like most real estate development companies, the slow economy over the past couple years has impacted Seventh Street Development and its business volume, the firm remains in good shape, according to Furniss.
“It has been a struggle over the past several years, but we see businesses continue to focus on quality when it comes to real estate, especially buyers. Commercial real estate is a long term commitment and a company’s location and the functionality of its building often are significant contributors to how a company operates and how it is perceived by others. We’ve had to have some patience and staying power, but we feel Seventh Street is well-positioned for the future.”