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FOOTHILL RANCH, CA-In February 2002, an Irvine-based distributor will relocate to Foothill Ranch, signing a $1.8-million lease for industrial space.

Hobby Products International will occupy 45,190 sf at the Foothill Business Center, according to the terms of the five-year agreement. The 78,328-sf facility is located at 70 Icon. It is one of three buildings that comprise the Foothill campus. Hobby Products specializes in the sale, assembly and distribution of remote control vehicles.

Christine Bowen and John Matus, both of Lee & Associates’ Irvine Spectrum office, represented Hobby Products International. Gregg Haly of CB Richard Ellis’ Newport Beach office, handled talks for building owner, Opus Real Estate America III.

Office vacancies are on the rise in Foothill Ranch and neighboring South County regions, according to a third-quarter report published by Cushman & Wakefield of California Inc. The overall vacancy rate here stood at 37.6% at the end of the third quarter, having jumped significantly from 30.9% at the end of the second quarter.

The rise in vacancies is mainly due to the delivery of new product onto the market, according to Mike Talafus of Cushman & Wakefield. “They experienced a net absorption of 233,650 sf, but vacancy is up because a lot of space was delivered recently.” Recently completed projects include the 210,000-sf Foothill Plaza complex and a 75,000-sf office development at 1 Spectrum Dr., both of which were built as speculative projects.

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