A recently completed project that filled in and smoothed out a large tract of light industrial property next to state Highway 14 could pay off handsomely for owners of the Vancouver site.
But it could take a long time for potential buyers to come around, given Clark County’s sluggish industrial real estate market, said Bill Connelly, a Vancouver broker. He called the 35-acre site “shovel-ready,” a result of Vancouver-based Nutter Corp.’s work over the summer to fill the property.
The project involved more than 20,000 cubic yards of fill dirt, said Tom Riley, property manager for Quad Investments LLC, which owns the tract.
The contiguous property is bordered by Columbia House Boulevard on the south, E. Fifth Street on the north, with Grove Street on the easternmost side of the property. The site lies east of industrial space now occupied by companies such as Columbia Machine Inc., EarthLink, and robotics manufacturer Columbia Okura.
Connelly said it is rare to see a finished and filled-in industrial site within Vancouver’s city limits.
“Except for the Port (of Vancouver), these are few and far between,” said Connelly, a vice president with Eric Fuller & Associates in Vancouver.
Light industrial property can be used by a variety of companies, from manufacturing to distribution businesses and office users.
“Pretty much anything except retail,” Riley said.
But demand for industrial space is at an all-time low, Connelly said. The county’s industrial real estate market has been battered by a nearly three-year period of weak demand.
“The vacancy rate is at 15.9 percent,” he said. “Single digits typically indicate the development community is ready to start building.”
Riley said Quad Investments LLC plans to list about 20 acres of the eastern portion of its property for sale and retain about 15 acres on the west side.
Vancouver-based Quad Investments is a property management arm of Columbia Machine, owned by the family of the late Fred Neth Sr., founder of Columbia Machine.
Connelly said the company acted wisely to take advantage of the slow market to prepare its vacant property.
“They are taking all the right steps for that to be a prime site when the market returns,” he said.