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Developer leaves Silicon Valley to start new South Coast firm

By   /   Friday, February 14th, 2014  /   Comments Off on Developer leaves Silicon Valley to start new South Coast firm

A former finance manager at Facebook has returned to his hometown of Santa Barbara to run a real estate development and investment firm.

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A former finance manager at Facebook has returned to his hometown of Santa Barbara to run a real estate development and investment firm.

Stuart Law founded Arterra Real Estate in Santa Barbara last year after working as a business analyst and strategic partnerships manager at Facebook for a number of years. There, he interacted with a lot of very wealthy Bay Area entrepreneurs. “There’s a skepticism of Wall Street in Silicon Valley,” Law said. “They’re looking for an alternative to that model.”

So Law returned to Santa Barbara and founded Arterra, which develops and invests in commercial properties and runs its own in-house property management arm. He said the firm generally follows the approach of Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet’s second-in-command at Berkshire Hathaway. “We optimize for the long-term, focus on real income produced by the asset, and use a variety of frameworks for analysis and decision-making,” Law said. “Unfortunately, people can convince themselves of anything with a spreadsheet. In my time as an analyst and consultant I’ve even seen CFOs  do it. There are no magic numbers or magic assumptions in our analyses. Our decisions are informed by massive amounts of data and research.”

Arterra is still in start-up mode and fairly quiet about what it’s up to, but promises to have news of South Coast developments soon. Stay tuned.

Ventura County industrial update

Despite a relatively high vacancy rate, Ventura County’s industrial market continues to add new product to the market, Colliers International noted in a recent market report.

The Conejo Valley overall enjoyed a low vacancy rate of 1.6 percent, but our region didn’t do its part — the Simi Valley and Moorpark submarket recorded the highest vacancy rate at 8.9 percent. The San Fernando Valley ended the year with 3.3 percent industrial vacancy; in contrast, Ventura County vacancy ended the year at 6.3 percent.

A 32,000-square-foot, multi-tenant industrial building in Camarillo was delivered to the market at the end of last year, and another, larger building is on its way. The amount of space under construction in the Ventura County and Conejo Valley commercial real estate market jumped from 124,700 square feet in the third quarter to 205,100 square feet in the fourth quarter. The most significant projects under construction in the county is a 92,700-square-foot industrial building on Verdulera Street in Camarillo, Colliers noted.

Among major investment deals in the fourth quarter, investment firm Rexford Industrial acquired the industrial property at 2900–2950 N. Madera Road in Simi Valley for $15.8 million. One of the more sizeable owner-user deals was wireless products maker Technocel buying its building at 685 E. Cochran St. in Simi Valley for $4 million.

DEALS OF THE WEEK

NAI Capital’s Ventura County office recently negotiated two consecutive lease deals at the Camarillo Business Center collectively valued at more than $17.6 million.

Gold Coast Health Plan signed up for 33,500 square feet of office space in the Camarillo Business Center ll at 711 E. Daily Drive. The 10-year lease was valued at $7.8 million, according to NAI.

The tenant, also known as Ventura County Medi-Cal Managed Care Commission, is an administrative facility serving more than 100,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries in Ventura County. NAI Vice President Bill Kiefer represented the landlord, 711 Building LLC, in deal negotiations.

• Kiefer also represented Equity Office, the landlord, in the lease of 26,000 square feet at Camarillo Business Center IV at 760 Paseo Camarillo to General Services Administration. The U.S. government will use the property to house the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, NAI noted. The 15-year lease is valued at about $9.8 million. The tenant was represented by Carpenter-Robbins Commercial Real Estate out of San Ramon.

• Contact Marlize van Romburgh at [email protected]

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About the author

Managing Editor

Marlize van Romburgh covers banking, finance, agricultural and viticulture. She writes a weekly column on commercial real estate and a monthly column on the restaurant industry. Follow her at @marlizevr

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