Odwalla, the manufacturer of juices, smoothies, and snack bars, is moving its distribution center from Berkeley to San Leandro.

The company, which is based in Half Moon Bay, found a warehouse with much cheaper rent, according to Dave Fogerty, a project coordinator in Berkeley’s Office of Economic Development.

“There are massive amounts of vacant space in San Leandro, Hayward, and Fremont and warehouse rents have plummeted as a result,” said Fogerty. “We worked with the property owner starting months ago to keep Odwalla here, but at a certain point it was clear nothing could be done.”

Warehouse space rents for 90 cents to $1 a square foot in Berkeley, and for only 50 cents a square foot in the south bay, he said.

There are about 40 people working at the Odwalla distribution center on Sixth Street near Harrison, according to Michael Caplan, the manager of economic development. It is a prime space and he is optimistic there will be a new tenant soon.

The manager who oversees the distribution center at Odwalla was traveling Monday and could not be reached for comment.

Interested in issues surrounding doing business in Berkeley? Be sure to attend Berkeleyside’s first Local Business Forum tonight at the Freight & Salvage. Doors open at 6.30 and it’s free.

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...