Massive shipping terminal nears completion in Visalia

(Rigo Moran)

CapRock Partners emphasizes Visalia’s strategic location for the project, which is on track to open this summer

VISALIA – Visalia is establishing itself as a core shipping hub in California, as evidenced by a 1-million-square-foot shipping facility on track for completion in June.

Bob O’Neill, the senior vice president of acquisitions for industrial real estate agency CapRock Partners, told The Sun-Gazette that Visalia is perfectly situated for shipping. CapRock is the agency responsible for the construction of the new facility.

“One thing we like about Visalia is its central location,” O’Neill said. “It is one of the only locations where a truck driver can do a one-day turnaround within their eight-hour shift.”

O’Neill explained that the two major ports in California are Long Beach and the Bay Area, both of which can be reached from Visalia.

“Corporate occupiers like it because they can play the shipping lines and ports off of each other and have diversification and pricing power,” O’Neill said. “It is also a location that can service over 50 million people in the western U.S. That is something that is very attractive to us and the tenants we attract.”

The current buildout is just the beginning of CapRock’s investment. The property will ultimately bring more than 5 million square feet of warehouse space. The project is staggered, so once a tenant is occupying the first building, the next building will begin construction.

“It is a long-term commitment,” O’Neill said. “We really like working with the city, we believe in the region; so these are long-term investments for us.”

O’Neill said that the city has been helpful in navigating the permitting process and has been highly supportive throughout the project. CapRock first began investing in construction projects in Visalia in 2017. O’Neill said the biggest challenges up to this point have been the market timing.

“The biggest challenges have been navigating inflation which has caused significant construction cost increases and significant increases in financing costs for our construction loan,” O’Neill said. “We have been able to work through those and find a window in time that has enabled us to move forward with this project and deliver it this summer.”

A tenant has not yet been identified for the current space, but O’Neill said he anticipates a Fortune 500 corporation to occupy the property. CapRock has received “very preliminary” inquiries, according to O’Neill.

Depending on the occupant, O’Neill believes the project could employ anywhere from 300 to over 1,000 people. While the building is expected to be some type of shipping hub, O’Neill said similar buildings have been used for light manufacturing and assembly.

Companies such as Tesla frequently occupy large warehouse buildings to construct solar chargers and battery stations, which are then shipped to locations where they are installed.

“We build our facilities to be flexible in terms of what kinds of tenants can occupy them,” O’Neill said. “One of the types of tenants that we have fielded inquiries from in other markets has been the manufacturing type, with some assembly, and also a component of distribution.”

The building currently has the walls up and the roof finished. O’Neill said the next phase of the project will be paint, which he said will happen soon. At that point, O’Neill anticipates rapid increases in interest from tenants who can see the light at the end of the tunnel for the project.

Two other developments, known as CapRock Central Point 1 and 2, were completed in 2021. The shipping hub is located at 4001 Plaza Drive, which offers easy access to freeways, rail lines and airports. The building is expected to be completed in June.

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