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CARSON, CA-Watson Land Co. signed two garment distribution companies to leases totaling $8 million for more than 235,000 sf of space at the company’s Watson Industrial Center South.

Garment distribution specialist Global Apparel Express Inc. signed a seven-year, $4.5 million lease for a 107,525-sf building, where it is has expanded from a 35,000-sf facility in nearby Rancho Dominguez, Calif.

Impac Logistic Services, a garment distributor with facilities in New Jersey, Florida and California, signed a five year, $3.5 million lease for a 128,140-sf building. Kirk Johnson, a Watson vice presidents, tells GlobeSt.com that Impac is in the process of moving to its new building from an adjacent, 60,000-sf space where it operated for the past year.

The leases underscore the importance of the import/export business in Southern California, Johnson says. He notes that “leasing activities and interest from logistics and distribution companies continues to be strong” at projects developed by Watson, one of the largest developers of master planned industrial centers in Los Angeles County.

“We’re seeing probably about 70% to 75% of our business revolve around importers who deal in the sophisticated delivery of goods, and the other 25% to 30% in more traditional manufacturing and assembly businesses,” Johnson tells GlobeSt.com.

That’s down from about a 50-50 split between the logistics companies and the traditional firms 15 to 20 years ago, Johnson says, but most of that change has occurred in the last five to seven years.

Watson Industrial Center South is approximately 400 acres and 7 million sf in the South Bay Industrial market. The South Bay is the largest industrial submarket in L.A. County, accounting for nearly 215 million of the county’s 883 million-sf industrial base, according to CB Richard Ellis.

Steve Sullivan of Sullivan & Associates represented Global Apparel, while Brett Dedeaux and James Abbott of Binswanger Realty represented Impac. Watson was represented in-house by Johnson and Lance Ryan in both leases.

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