Wonderful Real Estate Development President Joe Vargas At Bisnow’s Southern California Industrial Summit
Demand for industrial space is higher in Los Angeles than almost any other American city. Developers are ramping up warehouse construction, but are they building enough? Or are they building too much? Will LA tenants turn to other markets? These issues and more will be discussed at Bisnow’s upcoming Southern California Industrial and Logistics Summit on Aug. 20, register here for the event.
As president of Wonderful Real Estate’s development team, Joe Vargas has his finger on the pulse of industrial development in Southern California. WRE is a subsidiary of The Wonderful Company, home to iconic consumer brands such as POM, Fiji Water, Halos and Wonderful Almonds and Pistachios, so it understands the unique industrial real estate needs of a wide variety of products and tenants.
WRE is also the largest agricultural landowner in California. Over the past five years, the company has invested more than $700M in food and beverage processing capital projects and warehousing facilities.
Vargas oversees some of the largest industrial development projects in the Central Valley, including the 1,625-acre Wonderful Industrial Park, which has already attracted 9M SF in leasing to occupants including FedEx and American Tire.
Bisnow sat down with Vargas to learn more about the plans for Wonderful Industrial Park, his thoughts on the industrial market and what he will be discussing at the Southern California Industrial Summit on Aug. 20.
Bisnow: Why is the upcoming Southern California Industrial Summit so important to you and what will you be talking about?
Vargas: I view this summit as a great opportunity to network with my peers in the industry and get an update on the current market trends and conditions. I’m interested in seeing how developers, brokers and tenants are responding to all the fluctuations in the current market, particularly surrounding tariffs.
Along with discussing these issues, I plan to use this as a chance to tell people more about Wonderful Industrial Park, the amenities it offers and how we’re meeting the evolving needs of our tenants.
Bisnow: What is the best way to describe what you do for Wonderful Real Estate Development?
Vargas: I joined Wonderful Real Estate two years ago as president of Wonderful Real Estate Development. I primarily oversee the industrial development projects located in the Central Valley, including our largest upcoming development, Wonderful Industrial Park.
At this exciting new industrial park, we’re entitled for 25M SF and we currently have 9M SF leased to occupants including Ross, Target and Walmart.
Bisnow: What is the most pressing issue affecting commercial real estate in Southern California at this time?
Vargas: In Southern California, I think the biggest issue is lack of industrial real estate supply. Vacancy rates are at record lows, making it very difficult to find industrial space in the area, but the demand is high.
Another pressing issue is the evolving nature of the industry. Increased transportation and labor issues are making major impacts on businesses in the area, as is the economy. We’ve had a strong economic run for 10 years now, but there are some signs of slowing and we need to prepare for the future.
Bisnow: Outside of your work, what are you most passionate about?
Vargas: Years ago, I would have said that my biggest passion was water polo. I am a two-time water polo Olympian, first in 1980 and then again in 1984.
Now, I’m passionate about my two daughters, and what I’m doing here with The Wonderful Company. I’m committed to driving the success of Wonderful Industrial Park and Wonderful Real Estate Development.