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Newport National constructing largest office building in San Marcos

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Construction is under way for the 96,000-square-foot Civic View Corporate Center in San Marcos. It will be the largest multitenant building in the area, and at four stories, is expected to be the tallest in North County when it is finished in March 2008.

Newport National Corp. is developing the office building along Highway 78, east of Twin Oaks Valley Road, and hopes it will usher in a new standard of quality to San Marcos.

"There have been other office buildings built, but they've been lower quality buildings: none of this size and magnitude and quality; there's never been that," said Scott Brusseau, president of Newport National. "As far as a multistory building, it's actually been probably seven or eight years since the last Class A steel-frame construction (in the area)."

The $9.3 million Civic View Corporate Center includes a 75-foot tower, two koi ponds and a 20-foot waterfall in the two-story lobby.

Construction for Civic View, done by C.W. Driver, began in April, and "it's progressing great," Brusseau said. "All the steel is down for all the various floors, and we're working on finishing up all the structural steel, and then we're going to begin putting the skin on the building. And we're starting to fill out the core of the building."

One tenant has already rented space, with two more under negotiations. The first three floors are 24,000 square feet, divisible down to 3,000, 10,000 or 15,000 square feet, and the forth floor is ideal for a large tenant at 25,000 square feet. The building will be able to hold between eight and 15 tenants, leasing at $2.80 per rentable square foot, plus electric and a $45 tenant improvement allowance.

"Tenant interest is fantastic for how far along we are on the project," said Mark Avilla, leasing representative on the Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial marketing team for the project. "We're in negotiations for about a quarter of the project, and even to have one deal signed before the project is completed would be significant, so I think we'll be somewhere around a quarter to a half pre-leased before completion of construction."

Matty Sundberg and Keith Olmo, of Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial, are also on the marketing team for the building.

Avilla said judging by the success of the surrounding buildings, he expects Civic View to be completely leased out within 12 to 18 months.

"The other buildings right in that area: San Marcos City Hall (1994), North County Corporate Center (2000), and Gateway San Marcos (2002) -- all three of those buildings leased up extremely quickly," he said. "They had good pre-leasing before completion of construction, and all three of them were 100 percent leased within a year of completion of construction."

Nadel Commercial Architects LLP is the designer for Civic View Corporate Center, and Meracon Construction Services is the construction manager. Total construction cost will come to $9.3 million, which will include a 75-foot tower, two koi ponds at the entrances to the building, and a 20-foot waterfall into a koi pond in the two-story lobby.

Inside the building, Brusseau said, there will be showers and locker rooms, as well as a "resort style" bathroom on each floor. "When you walk into the bathrooms you have the same experience as if you walked into a five-star hotel. Instead of partitioned bathroom stalls, they're all individually enclosed with wood-frame doors, and frosted glass inserts," he said.

Although the building doesn't meet the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED building standards, Brusseau said, "We've been building what we think are 'green' buildings or highly energy efficient buildings for a decade. For instance, they are designed to SDG&E's Savings By Design program, and that's a standard that's been around for awhile. They have white cool roofs, very high-frequency drive motors in the AC system, and the building has dual-pane glass."

The project is being developed as part of San Marcos' "Heart of the City Plan," created in 1988 to craft an ideal mixed-use plan for the land surrounding the quickly growing California State University, San Marcos.

"That's the fastest growing university in California, about 9,000 kids, so providing adequate services, housing and office space for the people who want to be around the university is important," Brusseau said. "San Marcos and Escondido are the lowest vacancy factors in the county, and there's a pent-up demand from the existing businesses in that area that never had the quality of space that we are creating. They've had many inferior products to choose from in the past, and now they'll have a state-of-the-art building, both architecturally, and as far as energy efficiency."

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