ABOUT THE CLIENT AND PROJECT
Marina Del Rey is an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County and most of the land is on a ground lease with the County. There are very specific planning restrictions and overlays which acutely affect the types of business one can operate in certain areas of the Marina. 13555 Fiji Way was built as the home to the The Boatyard, the busiest boat repair facility in the Marina. Additionally, it has attached boat brokerage offices and one large retail warehouse which was previously occupied by West Marine, the country’s largest marine supply store. The building is restricted to marine use such as boat related retail, boat repair, boat brokerage, or any other marine related use. This property became vacant in the middle of the recession around 2009 and at that time the boating industry was decimated with the general public’s severe reduction in disposable income. Many boat builders, boat brokers, marine chandleries, and boat related business closed their doors. The County was still steadfast in their demand that tenant had to be marine related. This made for a very short list of tenants to pursue.
8,600 square feet of industrial-retail space with 20 foot high clearance and floor to ceiling glass.
We spent almost nine months reaching out to everyone in the boating industry to find a tenant to fill the 8,600 square foot space. We were even willing to divide the space but there were no takers. We had numerous tenants wanting to lease the space but most were non marine related businesses such as production companies, architects, fitness groups, etc.. We had to think “outside the box”. We began to reach out to non marine related uses that might pass the county’s stringent codes. We came across a racing company that primarily focused on formula one auto racing but had a very small boat racing division. They were looking for a large space to display their race cars and boats along with very specific clean rooms to work on performance engines. The owner of this group lived in Venice and was well known in the auto industry. Once we realized he had a small boat racing division, we found our opening. We presented him the space and had a deal done in less than four days.
Many brokers would of thrown up their hands and given up. We realized this was a stunning space with great window lines and high ceilings. We just needed to find the tenant that had some marine related ties because the traditional marine industry was reeling from the last downturn. Despite the tenant’s reputation solely being based in auto racing, we uncovered the fact that they have a small boat racing engine group. That was the key to finally leasing the space and satisfying the county’s rigid use guidelines. The tenant loves the space, its close to his house, his boat, and it perfectly suits his automotive/ marine high performance racing business.