Westbourne Office-Warehouse Complex

Jim Havens developed the property to meet the demand for small industrial space. "Multi-tenant warehousing is an attractive option for the companies that want the flexibility of office and warehouse capability with easy access to the marketplace -- especially for service-oriented businesses who want to be close to customers. The inherent flexibility also allows for growth potential."

Tenants include some retailers, but the complex attracts those who also require a distribution component. Others tenants include light industrial tenants, cabinet and furniture makers.

The four-phase project cost $2.15 million to build and is located on 23 acres between Morrison and Taylor Station Roads.

Havens rezoned and brought utilities to the 8-phase, 260,000-square-foot project. In the face of rising construction costs, he believed it was more economical to build larger warehouses to allow per square-foot costs to go down over the increased area.

Havens wasn't interested in leasing each of the 19,200 buildings to a single, large tenant. Instead he chose to lease to a series of smaller, consistent users of space. "Our tenants are usually in the intermediate stage where they're not in a garage anymore, or they don't want to tie up capital by owning property."

"The advantage of a strong number of small tenants is that you eliminate a dependency on one or several large tenants; allowing for easy and less costly transitions when tenants change. The configuration also offers protection from a downturn, when generally not all tenants would be affected."

"Warehouse building has to be cost-efficient and effective. We require only a one-year lease. About 95% of the tenants lease between 2,400 and 5,000 square feet at an average of $5.25.

Also there are no 'disguised lease costs.' Westbourne pays real estate taxes, insurance, water/sewer and exterior maintenance. Tenants pay interior maintenance, giving them an honest idea of the true costs."

While institutional investors are sometimes reluctant to own industrial property because of the often related high turnover, the first two phases of the project filled up in the first year, the next two filled in five months.

"Westbourne leased itself," said Havens. "There is a real need for this kind of space, and the location offered the opportunity."

The project was financed with loans from Park National Bank for a combined $8 million.