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VICTORVILLE, CA-Stirling Capital Investments has committed to constructing nearly 60 million sf of industrial space at the Southern California Logistics Centre to standards for LEED silver certification. SCLC is master-planned to occupy 2,500 acres of the former 8,500-acre George Air Force Base and is designed to be the first project-wide LEED-registered commercial park in the High Desert region.

The full site also includes the 2,500-acre Southern California Logistics Airport and the 3,500-acre intermodal Southern California Rail Complex. Brian Parno, Stirling VP, tells GlobeSt.com his company invested $100 million to lengthen the airport runway and construct new airport support buildings. The airport is complete, and Stirling is in negotiations with rail companies for the rail complex.

Phase One of SCLC, currently underway, is a 350-acre chunk of the total center, designed to contain 6.5 million sf in “as many as two dozen buildings,” according to Parno. He expects that phase to be completed in 2011.

Four buildings have reached completion. They include a 408,000-sf west coast distribution facility for Rubbermaid, two multi-tenant industrial buildings aggregating 224,000 sf, and a 444,740-sf warehouse facility. A 296,000-sf spec distribution facility is scheduled for completion this May and a one-million-sf industrial building is set to open this December.

Without disclosing actual construction costs, Parno says that building to LEED silver standards costs a premium of between 1% and 1.5%. According to published reports, the newest one-million-sf facility will cost about $5 million.

Among the energy saving features are: reuse of existing military base building materials; increased ventilation, skylights and daylight views, state-of-the-art hybrid power generation; drought tolerant landscaping and storm water design, and open space preservation and restoration of habitat. Parno says, “we’re close to gold, which is difficult to achieve with a low office component.”

Stirling is not charging premium rent rates. The rent rates, Parno says, range from $0.27 per sf and $0.35 per sf per month, which translates to between $3.24 per sf and $4.20 per sf a year. That is considerably below the average of $0.44 per sf per month ($5.28 per sf per year) reported in the nearby Inland Empire for first quarter 2008 by the Ontario, CA-based office of CB Richard Ellis.

“We did this because it’s the right thing to do,” he says, “and we think it’s a pretty worthwhile investment. It would be shortsighted to pocket a 1% to 1.5%-increase. We believe that Fortune 500 companies will have LEED certification on their checklist,” he adds. “In fact, we haven’t found many large companies that don’t ask about LEED.” He says negotiations are underway now with four major Fortune 500 companies, which could include build-to-suits, whole-building leases or portions of multi-tenant buildings.

“This is not just green buildings but a whole green project,” Parno adds. “It’s designed to take trucks out of the Inland Empire area, reduce the polluting congestion of traffic stuck in the Los Angeles Basin and San Bernardino Valley, while shortening the commute of workers now forced to travel out of the High Desert for quality employment.”

Stirling Capital Investments is a JV between Foothill Ranch, CA-based Stirling, a development company that specializes in master-planned communities, and Denver-based DCT Industrial Trust. The project is also a public/private partnership with the city of Victorville, which contributed some infrastructure work necessary to redevelop the former base.

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