With the push to vaccinate residents in their local communities, Ventura County Public Works Agency’s Central Services (VCPWA-CS), stepped in to help with an accelerated county-wide vaccination rollout. In recent months, Central Services Real Estate Services (RES), along with the County Executive Office and the General Services Agency, have worked around the clock to open two mass vaccination clinics around Ventura County, with a third clinic on the way.
In two months, Central Service’s RES team was able to lease two vaccination sites, the former Babies R Us property on Rose Ave in Oxnard and the former KMART in Santa Paula, which is normally a 6–8-month process and are currently working to lease a building in Simi Valley for a new mass vaccination Clinic.
“We had to fast track,” said John Weal, RES Senior Real Property Agent. “There were emergency powers already in place to have the lease executed and signed on behalf of the County. In a month we had to identify the property, to visit it, to inspect it, and then to negotiate the terms of the lease with the landlord.”
In the case of the vacant building in Santa Paula, RES had a tentative agreement with the landlord but went ahead with various contractors, coordinated by General Services Agency, to obtain the necessary estimates and permits even before the lease was signed. Once on track for a signed agreement, various vendors came in to begin work on repairing and cleaning the building.
“This is not a normal situation, usually we wait until we get a signed lease, but this was an emergency situation and we needed to get our residents vaccinated,” said Chuck Alvarez, Real Estate Services Manager. “It’s definitely a team effort, RES certainly had a role in getting the building located and leased but there is a whole lot of people it takes to open a clinic. So, we had things going on in parallel that we don’t normally do, but it’s allowed us to go from zero to an open clinic in a short amount of time.”
In addition to the vaccination clinics, RES helped lease buildings for other COVID-19 related projects including the election offices that needed facilities for social distancing protocols and a warehouse for the Office of Emergency Services that would allow it to store more Covid related supplies during the pandemic.
“It is truly because of John Weal and Chuck Alvarez’s vast experience in complex real estate transactions, their knowledge of the County’s properties and market that these sites were secured in the time frame needed. They too, are helping to save lives in Ventura County!” said Joan Araujo, Director of VCPWA-CS.