“It was a long time coming…a lifetime dream for me,” said Bernie Truax II, building owner and developer. “It has been in my brain for 40 years and we stayed true to the dream. We bought the property eight years ago and it has been in construction for two years. Now the building will be our headquarters.”
At the ribbon-cutting, Truax mentioned construction milestones that coincided with family birthdays. The ground-breaking occurred two years ago on his son’s (Bernie III) birthday, April 25. They topped steel on his (Bernie II) birthday, April 26. And finally, the building dedication and ribbon-cutting occurred on April 29, 2014, his grandson’s (Bernie IV) 14th birthday.
“It’s a great day for Temecula!” remarked City Manager Aaron Adams. “This is the culmination of lots of economic development success. Mr. Truax has made a significant commitment to business and jobs. This is what we envision as an example of the development of downtown.”
“This represents more growth for Old Town Temecula,” said Al Rubio, board member for the Temecula Chamber of Commerce. “The architecture fits in with the existing community.”
Peg Moore, chairwoman of the Old Town Local Review Board and a member of the very first Temecula City Council (1989-92), envisioned this type of building back in the 1980s. “It’s absolutely gorgeous and a great addition to Old Town.”
The outside of the building looks like a Hollywood movie set for “Dick Tracy” or a “Batman” sequel. The building façade and interior are a modern rendition of the classic 1920s art deco period with arched doorways, fluted columns and trim, inset tin ceiling squares, custom wainscoted and trimmed wall panels, hanging custom-made lamps, and so many more period-correct elegant touches everywhere one looks.
“This was my favorite architectural period,” said Truax.
“This is an exciting project!” exclaimed Joël Brodes, VP of real estate for Truax Development Group. “Class A office space should appeal to national types of businesses; it provides quality of construction and details, location, access, visibility, architecture that stands out, size and volume of space, technology infrastructure…it projects a certain image, a panache. As such, it represents a different list of potential tenants and a different approach to filling the space.”
The building provides a mix of Class A office space with high-visibility retail below.
“We are looking for unique concepts, boutique-type businesses, trends that will be successful that create more interest to drive the momentum of downtown energy and center of life,” said Brodes. “Office, and City Hall, will feed the retail, but retail will drive the traffic and the business in Old Town. We are looking for a holistic integration with the demographic of Temecula on the upswing.”
The bottom floor will house a high-end restaurant (rumored to be Mediterranean cuisine); Brodes hopes to attract a bank for one of the spaces and unique retail businesses for the others, perhaps high-end spa salons or organic food/juice bars.
The second floor is still under construction, but they have already received interest for part of the floor from an international company doing business in 95 countries. They have generated a large number of leads of businesses interested in looking at the space.
The entire third floor has already been leased to a technology firm, Cengage Learning out of Boston, Massachusetts. Cengage’s online learning division, “ed2go” already had offices in Temecula near the county library (off of Ynez Rd). The company is the largest publisher of digital and print textbooks for K-12 and colleges. They specialize in online learning and continuing education and partners with over 2,000 colleges and universities, including 1,100 of the 1,200 community colleges in the nation.
A planned consolidation of their Ft Worth, Texas offices coincided with the completion of the Truax Building.
“We were looking for a space that could accommodate high-tech development of our digital products,” said Brian Bales, director of marketing. “We really wanted to stay in Temecula and this was the only space that could work for us. We would have had to look in San Diego.”
The access to Old Town restaurants and businesses was a huge attraction as well.
The company’s space features an open collaborative working environment with white board walls and columns, open glass walls. There are only three offices, but the entire space is surrounded by glass windows, offering spectacular views from any vantage point.
“Those are real wood windows and they open,” said Matt Reno, founder of Reno Contracting, the firm responsible for the construction of this building as well as other Truax development projects. “When the dual-glazed windows are closed, you can’t hear the freeway.”
A large investment was made in sound attenuation and energy efficiency with R-30 insulation used in the ceilings and walls.
The 67,000 square foot building was built to the latest earthquake standards (revised from the Northridge quake) using steel-frame moment-frame structural systems. It should withstand a level 8 earthquake.
The flooring systems consist of 3-1/2” of lightweight concrete over steel deck. Recycled rubber padding and recycled carpet squares complete the top layers.
“This building would be a Silver LEEDS-certified project,” said Reno, referring to the energy savings and Title 24 compliance measures for “green” buildings. “We recycle everything that comes out of here.”
Reno Contracting is ranked #64 in the nation for LEEDS certification.
The building was partially financed using the EB-5 program, a US Visa program created by the Immigration Act of 1990 to spur foreign investment in the US to create local jobs.
Individuals must invest at least $1,000,000 (or $500,000 in “Targeted Employment Areas”), creating at least 10 jobs for US workers (excluding the investor and their immediate family). In exchange, the foreign investor and their dependents receive conditional permanent resident visas.
“Thirteen visas were approved for this project,” said Reno.
The top floor will house the Truax Development offices and features a large conference room as well as a large wrap-around patio/balcony offering 360-degree views of downtown and the freeways and surrounding mountains.
“These are spectacular views everywhere you look,” said Carinna Coram, chairwoman of the Old Town Merchants Association. “I have never seen Old Town from this perspective.”
“We envision using this for fundraising events,” said Truax.
“It’s spectacular!” gushed Mayor Maryann Edwards. “Disneyland quality – it meets every expectation and raises the bar on the quality of commercial property in Old Town. This is a signature piece right across from City Hall. This type of building will spur growth and jobs, jobs, jobs.”
In fact, ed2go has already hired 26 additional people for this office and plans to grow to 118 in the next 18 months.
Look for additional development downtown as Truax’s plans call for a four-phase project, including a high-end movie theatre complex. It may have taken 40 years, but this building is proof dreams can come true.
For more information on leasing space in this and future buildings, contact Joël Brodes at (951) 294-5885 or Peter Foy at (951) 294-5887 or visit the website at www.truaxbuilding.com.