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By Jim Wynne
For the first time since the completion of construction in San Clemente, there are no current industrial vacant availabilities in either the Rancho San Clemente or Talega business parks.
This has never happened before.
The few properties that are still showing up on the public listing services are in escrow, under lease contract negotiation, or simply old and waiting to be removed.
As of today, every single industrial space is accounted for, with someone already occupying or in the process of completing the paperwork to occupy.
I can’t believe this is where we are now. Last year, the apocalyptic predictions were that every business property would be vacant, with unwanted property languishing for maybe years before business bounced back.
This current situation has instead created the opposite, and unforeseen, problem. Many companies are seeing astronomical growth, but there are no active listings in the area, and they feel like they have no options.
Recently, one of my clients faced this exact dilemma. His materials technology company has successfully operated in San Clemente for more than 15 years. Rising demand and a global shift to digital interactions have seen his business boom exponentially over the past 18 months.
Knowing a major shortage of available property was going to be a problem, he asked me to begin the hunt for a larger location to match his much-expanded needs.
Together, we patiently searched and negotiated with various property owners, trying to do anything possible to get his company into a new building locally.
A long battle against the headwinds of California business policies had already taken a toll on my client leading up to this shortage of commercial real estate. He expressed his frustration that he was growing as fast as he could to make progress in the face of a system that felt like it doesn’t want him or his business anyway.
My client became so exasperated by the shortage of industrial space here at home that he has decided to pursue better luck and bigger vacancies in Texas.
Ironically, this sort of event will create a vacancy for someone else to backfill. It’s too bad that business owners feel they must resort to more and more extreme efforts because of the missing inventory in town.
If only there were a couple parcels of land left in the RSCBP that could be turned into business locations for many, many, small businesses. Has anyone heard about such a space somewhere?
In essence, our local businesses are reaching a strangulation point, that I believe to be dire. While the last year and a half has shown humanity’s tenacity, which I’ve found inspiring, we’re now faced with a new crisis of unexpected surprises.
With our small beachside town optimally packed, and the business park full, my client and his neighbors have nowhere to grow, despite the exploding successes they’ve seen.
I’m saddened to see this develop and wonder how many more of my friends will follow suit, as he’s not the first, and I fear won’t be the last domino to fall to the Lone Star state, where there’s plenty of room.
This may be the first and last column the San Clemente Times, the Chamber of Commerce, and my wife allow me to write after this hits the streets, but I hope to see you again next time and wish you continued success, patience, and luck on your business journeys.
Jim Wynne, a San Clemente local, San Onofre Surfing Club president, and father of five, serves as chairman for the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce. He is a two-decade veteran in the commercial real estate industry, and as president of WynneCRE, he has shown his dedication to helping small businesses with their real estate needs and protecting San Clemente’s small-town interests through active community participation and reporting on business news topics.