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GOLETA, CA-The Ventura division of Irvine-based Sares-Regis Group plans a 956,000-sf class A research and development project called Cabrillo Business Park on a 92-acre site that formerly was an aerospace testing range. Sares-Regis bought the project site, which is next to the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, from the Hughes Corp. for $22 million in 1998.

According to Russ Goodman, the division’s president, the new business park will be developed with 12 one- and two-story flex buildings ranging from 55,000 sf to 80,000 sf. The site also will include a restaurant and self-storage buildings.

Construction is planned to get under way next year on the first phase of eight buildings, which Sares-Regis Group plans to offer for lease. The developer’s unveiling of the business park plans follows a recent Goleta City Council approval of the project.

Sares-Regis initially began processing the site for development through the County of Santa Barbara, but then in 2002 local citizens voted to incorporate the City of Goleta. The project fell within the boundaries of the new city, requiring Sares-Regis to begin processing the property anew.

The Cabrillo Business Park “will be the lowest-density project in the area and certainly the lowest that Sares-Regis Group has ever done,” Goodman says. He cites the project’s “strong environmental orientation.”

Under the development agreement with the city, 46% of the project’s land area will remain in either natural or landscaped open space. It will include 19 acres of restored and expanded wetlands and grasslands with publicly accessible trails on property once used as a defense and aerospace testing range in the 1960s.

The development site was once home to “some very significant scientific and military developments, Goodman notes. “This is where the lunar rovers were built and tested for the Apollo program,” he points out, adding that guidance control systems that were produced for rocket launches at Vandenburg Air Force Base and elsewhere also were developed on the grounds.

In 1999 the Sares-Regis Group began a major renovation of approximately 300,000 sf of existing 1960s-era buildings on the property. Dupont Displays signed an 11-year lease for 150,000 sf in 2003 in a transaction valued at $36 million and has since subleased a portion of the building to General Electric. Other tenants in the renovated buildings include Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, the State of California and the US Forest Service.

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