The maker of Con-Tact adhesive paper shelf liners, Little Twig baby bath products and other household items will move to a manufacturing and warehouse building being built on the site of a defunct defense industry plant in Pomona.
Kittrich Corp. — which also manufactures pens, highlighters and other school supplies — will make the new 240,000-square-foot building its headquarters when it relocates from La Mirada by the end of the year.
It will be in the largest building erected in the San Gabriel Valley since the 2010 construction of a manufacturing plant for Huy Fong Foods Inc. in Irwindale, said Craig Furniss of Seventh Street Development in Long Beach. Seventh Street also built the Huy Fong plant, where the popular Sriracha hot sauce is made.
The Kittrich building will rise on the site of a General Dynamics Corp. missile plant that closed in 1996. General Dynamics was once Pomona’s largest employer, but it started laying off workers in the late 1980s as the Cold War ended. By the time the defense contractor left Pomona in 1994, about 7,000 jobs had been eliminated.
Recent demand for new warehouse and distribution centers in the region put the old General Dynamics site in play. Seventh Street bought land there from the federal government and is erecting industrial buildings for sale or lease in what it calls Mission-71 Business Park for its location at Mission Boulevard and California 71.
Other occupants of the business park include industrial sling manufacturing company Lift-It, boiler maker Dawson Co. and Filipino food products distributor Martin Purefoods Corp. There is a shortage of industrial space in the area, real estate brokers said.
“No new construction in the past three years has created a significant lack of product, making the San Gabriel Valley industrial market one of the tightest markets in the entire L.A. region,” broker Lynn Knox of CBRE said.
The General Dynamics site is one of many that local governments and developers are laboring to redevelop, Los Angeles real estate attorney Andrew Kirsh said.
“In Southern California, the defense industry prospered over nearly the entire 20th century,” said Kirsh, who represents a home builder at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station now known as the Orange County Great Park. Such obsolete properties offer both headaches and potential rewards.
“They take up a lot of land and can become eyesores,” he said, “but are also a great opportunity for developers to invigorate the local economy.”