(Read more on the industrial market.)

TORRANCE, CA-Storm Properties, part of one of the oldest continuously operated companies in Southern California, has launched the first phase of its Storm Industrial Park, a 40-acre development that eventually will total 400,000 sf and that targets tenants seeking a wide range of building sizes. Kent Phillips, president of Storm Properties, tells GlobeSt.com that the 75-year-old company plans to develop 10 new buildings measuring from 13,000 sf to 70,000 sf that will be divisible into a broad variety of sizes in order to appeal to the widest possible range of prospective tenants.

The development site, on Storm Parkway near the cross streets of Normandie and Sepulveda, is an infill location that is part of extensive land holdings that Storm Properties assembled over many years. Phillips tells GlobeSt.com that part of Storm’s rationale in providing a wide range of building sizes is to accommodate growing tenants. “We wanted to have a diversity of spaces so that we could take tenants who are starting businesses, keep them within our development and move them through our park all the way up to our largest buildings as they grow,” Phillips explains.

The 10 new buildings at Storm Industrial Park, which the company is offering for lease, will join eight that Storm developed beginning in the mid-1980s. Those older buildings and the new development at the industrial park came about as Storm Properties and its parent company evolved in a way that parallels the evolution of the Southern California economy over the decades.

Storm’s parent company, Storm Industries, began as a manufacturing concern in 1932 when industrialist Walter Storm established a brass foundry, later expanding into other related areas of manufacturing. The company acquired land primarily to have sites available for manufacturing facilities, but as conditions changed and manufacturing became less viable in the Southland, Storm slowly moved its manufacturing offshore and looked for other uses for its properties.

The first eight buildings at Storm Industrial Park, for example, were built on land that the company had owned for some time but did not need for manufacturing. The 10 new buildings are being developed at former manufacturing facilities that are being redeveloped for warehouse, light manufacturing and light assembly uses.

Phillips explains that the buildings are designed to meet the growing demand for such facilities, especially near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Most of the tenants in Storm’s existing eight buildings engage in distribution or light assembly operations that are connected with the ports, and Storm expects that many of its new tenants likewise will be port-oriented.

The phase one construction that began Thursday consists of smaller spaces in single-story buildings, with one of the two buildings providing spaces of 3,000 sf to 6,000 sf and the other offering spaces of 10,000 sf to 12,000 sf. The design also will accommodate single-tenant occupancies of the buildings, and features mezzanine space suitable for office build-out or storage.

Phillips says that Storm, which has enlisted CB Richard Ellis to market the buildings, already has interest from a prospective tenant who wants three of the six small bays. The CBRE listing agents for the project are Jeffrey Morgan and W. Colin Walker.

Storm plans to hold the industrial park for the long term, in keeping with the long-term philosophy that has always guided the firm, Phillips says. He notes that one reason the company owns the development site is that founder Walter Storm was always on the lookout for properties that would be suitable for future expansion.

“We’ve owned the land since the 1950s, so we have a low basis in it,” Phillips comments. “Our goal is to build a portfolio that produces a good revenue stream and provides a solid basis for us to go out into other areas and develop.” For example, Storm Properties is developing in the Inland Empire, with a project in Perris by the March Air Reserve Base and another is in Moreno Valley.

In its groundbreaking at the Torrance site Thursday, Storm Properties took advantage of the occasion to celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary, with Storm Industries CEO Guy Marge noting that the industrial park development, like the manufacturing facilities that Storm once operated there, “will bring new jobs and economic growth to the area.” In addition to Storm Properties, the other Storm Industries business units include Storm Western Development Inc., Storm Manufacturing Group and Industrial Parts Depot.

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