HRL Laboratories Acquires Thousand Oaks Industrial Property for $40M

Beverly Hills-based Maxxam Enterprises sold the 104,267-square-foot building for just over $381 per square foot


Another day, another pricey Southern California industrial deal. Research lab HRL Laboratories has purchased an industrial property in Thousand Oaks, northwest of Los Angeles in Ventura County, for $39.75 million.

HRL acquired the two-story, 104,267-square-foot building at 3500 Willow Lane from an limited liability company tied to Beverly Hills-based real estate firm Maxxam Enterprises, paying just over $381 per square foot. The property, which sits on more than 5 acres, is just off U.S. Route 101 and roughly 17 miles from the General Motors– and Boeing-owned lab’s Malibu headquarters.

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Lee & AssociatesMike Tingus and Grant Fulkerson represented Maxxam in the deal, while Mazirow Commercial brokered it for HRL. 

Tingus said in a statement that Lee & Associates negotiated an early lease termination with the previous tenant — Rawlings-owned baseball equipment manufacturer Easton, according to Maxxam’s website — enabling HRL to occupy the space as an owner-user.

“This sale is indicative of a continued competitive industrial market with low vacancy rates, limited supply and high demand, particularly in the life sciences arena,” Tingus said. “High construction costs translate to significant value for buildings with existing infrastructure, and we can expect to see continued demand into 2023 and beyond.

Lee & Associates’ recent third-quarter report for the “L.A. North/Ventura” region pegged the industrial vacancy rate at just 1.8 percent — a full percentage point below the 2.8 percent in the second quarter and “the largest quarter-over-quarter fluctuation ever recorded in the market,” according to the brokerage. The area has particularly attracted established and emerging biotech and life sciences companies, with the likes of biopharmaceutical giant Amgen based in Thousand Oaks.

Greater Los Angeles’ industrial real estate market at large has been red hot in the wake of the pandemic, fueled by demand from e-commerce, supply chain and logistics tenants hungry for space in the nation’s second-largest metropolitan region. On a per-square-foot basis, the 3500 Willow Lane deal is pricier than Blackstone-owned Link Logistics $29.3 million purchase this fall of an 82,200-square-foot warehouse in Montebello, which clocked in at around $356 per square foot — nearly three times the national average for industrial space. 

This fall also saw Nuveen pay more than $151 million for a fully leased, 337,000-square-foot distribution facility in La Mirada, nearly twice what the seller, Clarion Partners, paid for the property two years earlier. And earlier this week, real estate and construction firm J.F. Shea Company reportedly acquired a City of Industry warehouse for nearly $18 million — a below-market price, according to CoStar, which first reported the news.

HRL Laboratories, formerly Hughes Research Laboratories, was founded in the 1940s as the research arm of film and aviation magnate Howard Hughes’ Hughes Aircraft Company. Among the lab’s most notable achievements were the invention of the world’s first laser in 1960.