As an executive at Tejon Ranch Co., Hugh McMahon is involved in one of the most exciting commercial real estate projects in the state of California: the development of a 320,000-square-foot outlet retail center located at one of the busiest highway junctures in the state — where Interstate 5 and Highway 99 merge between Bakersfield and Los Angeles. The center is slated to open later this year.

In today’s Four on Friday, we speak with Hugh about the center, his firm and how he chose a career in commercial real estate. Many thanks to Hugh for his time.

McmahonHS: Give us a quick overview of Tejon Ranch Co. and your responsibilities with the firm.

McMahon: Tejon Ranch is a publicly traded company (NYSE: TRC). Our primary asset is the largest privately held parcel of land in the state of California, comprising 270,000 acres that are located approximately 60 miles north of Los Angeles and 30 miles south of Bakersfield. Our company’s core businesses are real estate development and agribusiness.

I serve as vice president of commercial and industrial real estate, with my primary responsibility being the development of our 1,450-acre Tejon Ranch Commerce Center (TRCC), which includes multiple distribution centers facilitating goods movement throughout the western United States, two large travel centers, fueling stations, restaurants, lodging and, soon, a new 320,000-square-foot fashion outlet center with more than 70 national tenants.

HS: Tell us about the Outlets at Tejon Ranch project and why this is such an exciting project for your company.

McMahon: The site of TRCC has been a way station for folks travelling between Northern and Southern California for generations. We have enjoyed tremendous success catering to the traveler, and in just a few short years, TRCC has become home to multiple fueling stations, quality hotels and some of America’s favorite restaurants. In fact, the location is so popular that the Starbucks store at TRCC is among the top five stores in the country.

The Outlets at Tejon will be a game changer for TRCC. Now, rather than solely serving as a resting place for travelers on their way to their ultimate destination, TRCC will become a destination all in itself. We have already seen the benefits of this new dynamic, with several new development opportunities materializing for us that would not have been available to us otherwise. All of this business activity serves to make TRCC a major employment center for southern Kern County. We expect that approximately 1,000 new jobs will be created in staffing the Outlets at Tejon.

HS: How did you decide to pursue a career in commercial real estate?

McMahon: I grew up in a family of real estate professionals (developers, brokers, title/escrow), so real estate development, and particularly commercial real estate development, has always fascinated me.

HS: What's your idea of a perfect day?

McMahon: Spending a day with my wife and children enjoying the great outdoors with no distractions.