RAF Pacifica’s Projects Target Companies That Make Carlsbad ‘The Digital Capital Of California’
Google has dubbed Carlsbad “the digital capital of California” for good reason. It is home to a plethora of innovative tech startups focused on software development, cybersecurity, digital communications and other tech areas.
“Carlsbad’s reputation as a hub for innovation continues to draw users across all industries, especially in the tech, life sciences and action sports manufacturing sectors,” RAF Pacifica Group principal Adam Robinson tells Bisnow. According to the City of Carlsbad, there are 242 tech-oriented companies in the city that employ more than 10,000 people.
“This market’s well-diversified economy and entrepreneurial spirit make this the perfect location for creative startups to grow and prosper,” he says. There is also a high degree of innovation in the biotech sector here, with users integrating technology with biomedical research and development, according to Adam.
He says many of these businesses are electing to consolidate their corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities under one roof for operational efficiencies, so RAF Pacifica is developing projects to meet pent-up demand for space that accommodates both needs. “The shift toward consolidation in flex/R&D is a clear trend in San Diego County, especially among tech and manufacturing users seeking cost-effective facilities that include a mixture of office and industrial space for a variety of functions,” he says.
For example, RAF Pacifica recently acquired a $10M, 65,300 SF Class-A office/R&D asset in the Carlsbad Research Center and leased it to Ostendo Technologies, a digital manufacturing firm that specializes in hologram chips for smartphones—all within one week.
Adam says these users are demanding state-of-the-art facilities, with a corporate headquarters, creative office aesthetic. “We are capitalizing on the shift toward consolidation and demand for this type of space in the marketplace." He says his company is developing creative office and creative industrial projects to attract and retain tenants.
RAF Pacifica recently acquired a 4.43-acre site in Carlsbad to build the first ground-up creative office campus in North County, called in•sti•gate. “We’ve seen developers convert outdated facilities into creative office space formats, but this will be the first new, truly creative office campus in North County and will attract businesses seeking a true work/play lifestyle,” Adam says.
This 50k SF spec project will attain a new level of architecture for the North County market with a communal quad atmosphere and coastal vibe that features loft-style buildings with bifold vertical glass walls, exposed HVAC infrastructure and rooftop decks, he says. The project’s resort-style facilities include an on-site fitness center, high-end restaurants, indoor/outdoor meeting spaces and outdoor BBQ areas.
Blazing a new trail for industrial users, RAF Pacifica has two creative industrial projects in Carlsbad. The 277,400 SF dis•trib•ute (above) is a two-building distribution facility on 18.4 acres at Carlsbad Raceway Industrial Park. Scheduled to break ground in the first quarter of 2017, with completion by year's end, this project is divisible down to 10k SF to accommodate an array of business types, including the region’s entrepreneurial community.
Also in the pipeline is vec•tor (below), a two-story, 169,100 SF industrial/R&D facility on a 13.2-acre site at the Carlsbad Oaks North corporate business park. This project is designed to accommodate one or two industrial or research tenants.
“We are the first to recognize the unmet potential in creative industrial, reimagining the industrial workplace to deliver a work/play environment like no other in the market,” Adam says. He says this is a completely new category of industrial product and attracts high-caliber tenants across a wide range of industries that are willing to pay a premium for the highest-quality, functional space to support growth.
“Our buildings are state-of-the-art, with cutting-edge features, like glass exteriors, updated ESFR sprinkler systems, 30-foot clear height ceilings, and high-dock loading doors, and incorporate creative office elements, such as collaborative workspace and extensive glass for natural lighting and outdoor amenity space for people to gather and socialize as well,” he says.
With local industrial vacancy under 4%, Adam is fearless about developing spec projects in this market. He says very little industrial product of any type has been built in the San Diego region since the last cycle. “We believe San Diego is 12 to 18 months behind other markets in the recovery cycle, but is now poised for new development,” he says. His firm has more than 1M SF of new ground-up product underway in North County markets that will attract companies seeking high-quality facilities, which are in short supply in this market.
The company recently purchased a 15.85-acre site in San Marcos to build a four-building, 212k SF creative industrial project, called pro•duc•tion (pictured). In the heart of the 78 Corridor, this project also will integrate creative office elements with industrial features.
Plans include collaborative workspace, tech build-outs and flexible office/R&D space to maximize productivity for different types of industrial users. Features include floor-to-ceiling glass entryways, indoor/outdoor amenity areas and modern finishes. The multi-tenant complex will offer spaces from 34k SF to 90k SF, designed with the flexibility to expand or shrink as needed to support tenants.
“San Marcos is a market to watch in coming years, as the 78-Corridor boasts some of the most innovative tech and manufacturing firms in the region,” Adam tells us. Home to California State University San Marcos, this market has a highly educated, young workforce and continues to attract a number of startups in need of talent and high-caliber industrial facilities with a corporate headquarters aesthetic, he points out. “Based on the city’s entrepreneurial spirit and strong manufacturing economy, we intend to capitalize on the growing demand for quality here.”