$20 Million Building Sold

East Coast Investor Acquires Mentor Drive Site

The almost $20 million purchase of a 702,782-square-foot building at 301 Mentor Drive, Goleta, is being called the South Coast’s largest commercial sale of 2011.

An investment group has acquired the two-story building, which was listed at $19.86 million and is leased by Mentor Worldwide and Tetra Tech, said officials at Hayes Commercial Group in Santa Barbara. In both price and size, it is the largest sale of a single office building in Goleta in the past five years, they said.

“It’s not often that a fully leased investment property of this quality becomes available for sale,” said Francois DeJohn, who, along with Steve Hayes, represented all parties in the transaction. The buyer is an undisclosed investment group based on the East Coast.

“A class A building with high-quality tenants next to a hospital will always be a very desirable asset, regardless of the market,” Hayes said. “In fact, the response to this offering was immediate.”

Hayes said the Mentor Drive property is one of the area’s showcase buildings.

The grounds include a lushly landscaped patio area and koi pond with footbridge, plus separate basketball and sand-volleyball courts.

Bermant Development Co. developed the property in 1999 on 5.3 acres near the intersection of Hollister and Patterson avenues.

Since then, the entire building has been leased by Mentor Worldwide, a medical products company and subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Mentor has since subleased 12,000 square feet of the building to Tetra Tech, an engineering consulting firm.

The property benefits from its proximity to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, which is being rebuilt from the ground up as a state-of-the-art medical facility, Hayes said.

FILM AGENCY SPARED:Geoff Alexander, head of the Santa Barbara County Film Commission, said Wednesday that his agency dodged a bullet this week when the Board of Supervisors cut only half the money it gave his agency last year.

The county earmarked $25,000 in this year’s fiscal budget for the film commission, compared to $50,000 last year, Alexander said. He said film production crews spent some $9.6 million in the county last year, including about $100,000 in lodging taxes.

“Although we did see a major reduction in our supplemental funding, we managed to preserve half of last year’s allocation,” Alexander said. “Considering the incredibly painful cuts to public safety, human services, and related county layoffs, this should be considered a partial victory rather than a defeat.”

Alexander said he initially feared the county would eliminate its whole contribution to the commission. “Although our entire budget was on the chopping block, a majority of the supervisors recognized that this business is a revenue generator for the county and voted to continue local economic development,” Alexander said. “There is little doubt in my mind that, without the unprecedented level of support from the production community, local hoteliers, vendors and service providers, and other stakeholders in this business, this vote would have gone the other way.”

He said while the cut may have effects on some of the commission’s marketing efforts, “The high level of service which you have come to expect from the Santa Barbara County Film Commission will remain the same.” Alexander said he is looking for other sources of funding to restore the commission’s budget and maximize its ability to market the county, which he said is “one of the best production destinations on Earth.”

The South Coast Biz Blog is a roundup of the latest business news in the Santa Barbara area. It is written by Ray Estrada, who has covered business in the region for numerous publications over the past couple decades. See more at independent.com/biz and wordpress.com/southcoastbizblog.


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