Vernon, one of the oldest industrial regions in the Los Angeles area, was founded over 90 years ago to serve the manufacturing industry. During its long history, Vernon has become one of the most cost-effective manufacturing centers in the United States with a reputation for having very affordable industrial and commercial real estate. With this in mind, developers XEBEC and John Lehr, along with GAA Architects, worked to pay tribute to the history of the area in their design of the Xebec Business Center.

GAA was selected to design the four building complex. "For the XEBEC Business center we created a contemporary interpretation of an older architectural style with a uniquely modern design," says Ken Paddock, senior Project Manager for GAA. GAA developed a plan incorporating elements reminiscent of the Art Nouveau period that was popular in Los Angeles just after the turn of the century when architecture was characterized by a highly decorative style and softer, natural lines. The challenge was to create a retro theme using tilt-up concrete with the same construction cost budget that would be utilized by a typical industrial project. GAA incorporated building massing that recalls this period as well as decorative light sconces on each side of the building entries. Each building also features curved concrete planters on both sides of the stairway leading to the front entrance and a subtle curved shape forms the handrail. Three-dimensional spheres were added to the entry bollards for visual interest. The building address is made highly visible by metallic numbers that are free standing on the curvilinear canopy above the entry, also a design style reminiscent of the 1920's.

GAA created an ideal design plan that maximizes coverage and functionality while keeping construction costs low. The four tilt-up concrete buildings range in size from 105,000 to 156,000 square feet on approximately 20.5 acres. For the interior, GAA created an elegant mezzanine plan to compliment the design motif of the exterior. The first floor also provides extensive warehouse space and large truck loading areas, and the second floor allows for smaller office spaces.

The XEBEC Business Center is ideally located for distribution access by major freeways, rail, international airports and seaports. The complex is being built by Kendrick Construction on land that was formerly occupied by the Alcoa plant along Alcoa Avenue at Fruitland Street near the 5 and 710 Freeways. Well known companies such as U.S. Filters, CMK Enterprises and Sandburg Furniture will occupy the complex when construction is completed. The expected finish date is Spring of 2000.