The High Desert Report » November 5, 2010

Daily Archives: November 5, 2010

City Updates

Victorville City Update

Published by:

By Collette Hanna, Business Development Manager
City of Victorville Economic Development

Dr. Pepper Snapple and Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility

When Dr. Pepper Snapple (DPS) first approached Victorville as a possible location for its facility for manufacturing and distribution to the Western United States, the Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA) was an ideal spot for their state-of-the-art facility. The land was adequate and the City of Victorville was able to address its site location issues. Infrastructure improvements were to be made to handle its operation, with a significant issue being the need to handle discharge of up to 750,000 gallons of wastewater a day. The City approved a $31 million Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility (IWTF) to handle DPS’ needs as well as other high wastewater discharge uses.

Working with the City of Victorville Economic Development and Development Departments, the permit issuance was fast tracked and construction on the state-of-the-art 850,000 square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility started in March 2009. The warehouse portion of the facility was opened by December 2009 and the manufacturing portion of the facility opened in February 2010. Running at full capacity, the plant will have the ability to produce up to forty million cases of product annually.

The IWTF is a testament to the City of Victorville’s proactive business stance and innovative problem solving ability. The IWTF can handle up to 2.5 million gallons of wastewater a day. With the location of DPS and the City’s new IWTF, Plastipak Packaging followed with a site location at SCLA. As DPS’ bottling supplier, Plastipak moved into a 290,000 square foot facility to support DPS production. DPS, IWTF, and Plastipak combined have created approximately 300 high quality, living-wage jobs in the Victor Valley.

DPS has invested over $120 million on the design and construction of its facility. The investment shows the confidence and trust the company has in Victorville’s economic stability. DPS and the IWTF projects have created a domino effect which has brought in Plastipak and interested other potential users to SCLA.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program

The City of Victorville has been actively looking to address the foreclosure problem that has plagued the nation over the past two years. The City’s Economic Development Department Housing Division has used the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fight the foreclosure and abandoned properties problem throughout the city.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) gives funding to local governments to purchase homes that have been foreclosed. The homes are then rehabilitated and placed back on the market for prospective homebuyers. The City of Victorville was awarded $5.3 million in NSP funding and has used the funding to purchase 14 properties. All the purchased properties have gone through a rehabilitation program and eight houses either have been sold or are currently in escrow. Two properties purchased were deemed unsafe for living and were demolished.

The NSP funds have not only put newly rehabilitated affordable homes on the market but have also boosted the local economy. Approximately 38 local contractors and companies have benefited from the funding. The City had a preference to hire local contractors and companies to ensure the local economy benefited from this program as well.

Victorville has dedicated 97% of all NSP funds. 95% of committed funds has been spent on upgrading homes throughout the city. The money spent has allowed those entering the housing market affordable and reliable housing and eliminated vacant foreclosed properties in Victorville neighborhoods while boosting the local economy by working with local entities throughout the program.

SCLA Aviation

Aircraft and engine testing continues at SCLA, with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Air Force’s Predator Planes being some of the new projects.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner started its testing at SCLA in March 2010. The flight-testing schedule includes six planes flying a total of 90 hours per week at the peak of testing. Boeing will be mass producing the new 787 Dreamliner at a faster rate than any other large airplane. Its goal is to produce 120 new 787s a year by 2013. Boeing has approximately 300 employees located in Victorville to flight test around the clock in 12-hour shifts.

The Air National Guard had been temporarily leasing a hangar at SCLA for its training missions with the Predator. In September 2010, the Air National Guard broke ground on a new $4 million hangar. The new hangar is expected to be completed within a year. The Predator plane is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is commonly used for reconnaissance missions. Predator aircraft is remote controlled by operators and carries cameras and other sensors whose signals are sent back to a base. Newer Predator models are now fitted with missiles and other types of ammunition.

The testing of the Dreamliner and Predator at SCLA are just a few of the many exciting, new projects. GE continues to test its engines at SCLA. Cal Fire’s DC-10 Super Tanker plane is currently stationed at SCLA as well and is instrumental in fighting wild fires in the San Bernardino area and beyond. The open air space and clear weather are just some of the many reasons why companies are choosing SCLA as the place to test, maintain, and house their aircraft.

City Updates

Hesperia City Update

Published by:

By Lisa LaMere
Economic Development Analyst

Ranked #3 by Business Facilities magazine (July/August 2010) as a Top Ten Emerging Logistics/Distribution Growth Center, the City of Hesperia in California’s Inland Empire is conveniently situated within easy access to the logistics network that serves the combined ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (LA/LGB), the nation’s largest international cargo trade area. Hesperia’s High Desert location along I-15 and U.S. Highway 395 provides an affordable and central location for warehousing, manufacturing, and distribution operations that serve southern California and surrounding states.

Strategically positioned for logistics, business-friendly Hesperia is a leader in supporting the long-term development of the regional economy. Hesperia’s proactive Economic Development Department (Department) and its Hesperia Community Redevelopment Agency are two powerhouses fueling Hesperia’s growth.

Hesperia is Zoned for Logistics

With two state-authorized pro-business zones, Hesperia is zone-squared. In April 2010 the City was successful in attaining final designation as an Enterprise Zone (EZ) from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) — a designation that will be in effect for 15 years. The Hesperia Enterprise Zone comprises a

30-square mile area within Hesperia’s city limits and includes nearly all of its commercially and industrially zoned areas. Businesses looking to relocate or expand in the zone may be eligible to take advantage of substantial benefits, such as hiring credits, business expense deductions, and employee wage credits.

These substantial local incentives and state tax credits and benefits of the Hesperia EZ remain in effect until March 31, 2025, with some benefits extending beyond the life of the zone. Some of these state tax benefits include hiring credits, sales/use credits, business expense deductions, net operating loss and net interest deductions, and employee wage credits.

“For over 18 months, staff worked diligently on the Enterprise Zone application to ensure limited questions or conditions existed after conditional designation,” said Deputy Director of Economic Development Steven J. Lantsberger. He continued, “We are now looking ahead at how the EZ will provide businesses with a competitive advantage in respect to a lower cost of doing business in California. Ultimately, the combined benefits of state and city incentives will lead to business growth and job generation.”

To that end, Hesperia has recently added a Recycling Market Development Zone (RMDZ) to its armory of business benefits. As one of 35 California RMDZs, Hesperia’s program combines economic development with recycling to provide financially attractive incentives for new businesses, expansion of existing facilities, job creation, and reduction of the waste stream headed to landfills. The RMDZ provides free market research, technical assistance, and below-market rate loans to qualified manufacturing firms. Located in an ideal logistics hub of the Inland Empire, both zones encompass city-owned rail-accessible land.

On the <Rail> Road to Success

Having secured $2 million in federal grant funding from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, construction of the ‘G’ Avenue Industrial Rail Lead Track project is imminent. Consisting of nearly one mile of new railroad lead track and a parallel runaround track, it will be served by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and accessible from more than 200 acres of industrially-zoned property. Construction is slated to begin Q1 2011, with completion anticipated within one year.

The addition of the rail track, one of the city’s far-reaching industrial development goals, will facilitate operations for a greater number of warehousing and distribution centers near Interstate 15. The new track will offer many opportunities for industrial users to purchase rail-accessible properties.

The rail project is guided by Hesperia’s efforts to create sustainable development that includes locally created partnerships and focuses on regional solutions for economic development. It is closely tied to Hesperia’s strong commitment to grow its economy, attract new businesses and development, and provide jobs for its residents.

Completion of this project will stimulate development and indirectly influence the attraction and expansion of other businesses into the 1,300-acre ‘I’ Avenue Industrial area. In addition, the project’s team transload facility fosters entrepreneurship by making rail accessible throughout the region to smaller businesses that will now be able to ship and receive goods with the use of a team trans-load facility.

Let the Shopping Begin!

In a sign of the City of Hesperia’s economic optimism, High Desert Gateway has recently welcomed several new stores, including Marshalls, Ross Dress for Less, Golden Corral, Farmer Boys, Rue 21, and Style for Less occupying some 75,000 square feet of retail space. High Desert Gateway, which opened in late 2008, is also home to Super Target, Verizon Wireless, Subway, Juice It Up and several other shops and services. With the addition of these new stores the center is now 80% built-out. At completion, the center will feature 349,000 square feet.

Two new department stores are sure to be a big hit with Hesperia’s shoppers. Ross Dress for Less opened the doors to its new 25,000 square-foot store in October, and Marshalls, the leading national off-price retailer, is opening a 26,000 square-foot department store at the end of November.

Hesperia’s Economic Development Department (EDD) pursued Marshalls based on the retail matches provided by the Buxton Company, the consulting firm that provides retail site analyses based on demographics and buying habits of consumers within a trade area. This is the sixth retailer that has located in Hesperia based on Buxton’s research. EDD pursued Ross Dress for Less vigorously and met with representatives at many shopping center conventions, including the International Council of Shopping Center (ICSC) conventions in Las Vegas and San Diego, and in concert with Lewis Retail Centers secured their commitment to locate in the High Desert Gateway regional shopping center.

Golden Corral, the second in Southern California, is just the fifth in the state. It is a freestanding, 11,087 square-foot family-style restaurant seating 388 guests and employing approximately 135 people. Golden Corral is a Raleigh, North Carolina-based chain offering a diverse array of buffet and grill selections, featuring beef, chicken, pork and fish, pasta, pizza, fresh vegetables, salad bar and a selection of carved meats, as well as a bakery and dessert café.

Many Farmer Boys fans are sure to be pleased to see the restaurant open in Hesperia. The 3,200 square-foot restaurant, employing 30-35 people, seats 94 patrons in friendly surroundings reminiscent of a rural farm home. Farmer Boys meets breakfast, lunch, and dinner needs with over 75 items, including award-winning burgers, specialty sandwiches, and freshly prepared salads, as well as made-to-order breakfasts.

Based on the success of High Desert Gateway I, plans are already underway for High Desert Gateway II, which will be located directly across Cataba Road and will feature an additional 200,000-plus square feet of quality retail uses.

That’s Entertainment!

A 36,000 square-foot, 12-screen movie theater will soon join more than 185,000 square-feet of governmental office development in Hesperia’s Civic Plaza. Theater developer Cinema West was granted a ten-year exclusivity period by unanimous vote of the city council. The Hesperia Community Redevelopment Agency (RDA) entered into a Disposition and Development Agreement conveying the site to Cinema West. The theater, which will create 40 new jobs, features start-of-the-art digital technology and stadium seating for 1,800. In addition, Cinema West is offering access to one theater for the city to utilize for community and city events. The theater provides a long-awaited entertainment venue for residents; construction is slated to begin in 2011, with completion anticipated by summer of 2012.

Along with the new Hesperia Police Department headquarters and the Jerry Lewis High Desert San Bernardino County Government Center scheduled to open by November of this year, and the existing City Hall and Hesperia Branch Library, daytime population will show a marked increase, making Hesperia’s downtown ripe for full-service restaurants.

With a large portfolio of lucrative zone-exclusive benefits and incentives, this team of motivated economic development professionals makes it their mission to put businesses in Hesperia on the path to success. To find out more about operating in one of the most innovative enterprise zones in the country, or to request information about Hesperia’s retail or industrial opportunity sites, contact Steven Lantsberger at (760) 947-1906, by e-mail at econdev@cityofhesperia.us; or visit www.cityofhesperia.us/econdev.

City Updates

Barstow City Update

Published by:

By Ron Rector, Community & Economic Development Director
City of Barstow

The New Barstow Community Hospital Breaks Ground

Barstow Community Hospital celebrated a milestone on September 8, 2010 with community members, local dignitaries and representatives from Community Health Systems (CHS) taking part in a historic groundbreaking ceremony for the new Barstow Community Hospital.

The last groundbreaking for Barstow Community Hospital took place nearly 60 years ago in the early 1950s, so this groundbreaking marked a significant step in the evolution of care in the community. The new Barstow Community Hospital – an advanced facility that will include all private rooms, a much bigger ER, expanded operating suites and diagnostic imaging services area and dramatic improvements in the obstetrical/maternity services area and the intensive care unit – is expected to open near the end of 2012.

The new Barstow Community Hospital will be a beautiful, modern facility that meets the needs of our community and is designed to allow for future expansions to accommodate a growing community.

To stay ahead of schedule, Layton Construction, Irvine-based general contractor for the new hospital, began moving dirt on the new hospital property, 19 acres across Mountain View Street from the current hospital, even before the ground-breaking ceremony was held. More than 250,000 cubic yards of dirt must be moved on the property before construction of the hospital can began (no dirt will be taken off the property or be brought in for fill).

In November 2010, the hospital expects to have its new hospital plans approved by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), the state agency responsible for new hospital construction.

In early 2011, the general contractor will begin work on the hospital’s foundation and underground work. By the summer of 2011, the structure should start taking shape, and for nearly a year work will take place inside the structure so that the facility is open by the end of 2012. At the height of construction, the new hospital will employ between 150 to 200 construction workers on any given day.

To stay abreast of the latest new hospital construction news, visit Barstow Community Hospital’s web site at www.barstowhospital.com and select the new hospital button on the home page. Beginning in 2011, community members are encouraged to return to the site occasionally to watch the on-going construction process via a time-lapse video.

Barstow Community Hospital is one of 123 hospitals in 29 states affiliated with Community Health Systems, Inc. (CHS). Headquartered in Franklin, Tenn., CHS is one of the leading operators of general acute care hospitals. The City is lucky to have such a health care provider assisting the City and the surrounding community with preparing for a bright and healthy future at the “Crossroads of Opportunity”.

Wal-Mart Distribution Center Close to Breaking Ground

The Barstow Industrial Park was selected by the world’s largest retailer to be the home for one of its mechanized distribution centers. Wal-Mart announced its plans to build and operate a food distribution center in the Barstow Industrial Park. Construction on phase one, 450,000-sq.-ft. cold storage facility, will be located on 147 acres. Employment is estimated at 300. Phase two consists of a 550,000 sq.-ft. dry goods facility. Employment is estimated at 400. Phase one is expected to break ground this year.

The cornerstone of the city’s business attraction efforts is the twelve hundred acre Barstow Industrial Park. IDS Real Estate, the developer for the Barstow Industrial Park, will offer large parcels of land within three miles of Interstate 15. IDS is working to complete the environmental impact report and to obtain all entitlements by 2011. A railroad extension to the property, forecasted for completion in 2012, positions it as one of the most sought-after industrial locations in Southern California.

IDS estimates that it will construct 11.5 million sq. ft. of new industrial buildings over a 7 to 9 year period. When fully built out, the Barstow Industrial Park could create between 8,250 and 12,400 new living wage jobs.

With the Barstow Industrial Park as the hub of our future job creation, the proposed Lenwood Rd. grade separation is critically important to transportation movement and relieving congestion in the area of our industrial park. The Lenwood Rd. grade separation is currently in preliminary engineering and environmental work.

Other Great News

The County of San Bernardino is nearing completion on a 32,000 sq. ft. remodeling of the old Barstow Mall. The County plans to house several of its departments in this facility, include their behavioral health department.

The City was awarded a $2 million U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration grant to assist with the upgrade of the City’s wastewater reclamation facility. The upgrade will help the city meet the growing need brought on by Barstow’s economic growth.

Barstow City Council has approved a $13 million budget to be used for the city’s street Capital Improvement Program. Sully-Miller is currently working on several streets. The street construction projects are expected to be completed by June 30, 2011.

If you want quality office space in the Historic Harvey House, you better grab it while you can. The space is filling up fast.

To learn more about the “Crossroads of Opportunity,” visit the city’s web site at www.barstowca.org or give Ron Rector a call at (760) 255-5151.

City Updates

Town of Apple Valley City Update

Published by:

By Kathie Martin
Marketing and Public Affairs Officer

It is one thing to boast that Apple Valley provides its residents and businesses “A Better Way of Life.” However, this assertion becomes fact when the claim is validated by a variety of studies and surveys. Take, for instance, the recent California Retail Survey that listed Apple Valley number four in California for its “strength in the retail market” and first in the same survey for “growth persistence.” Over the last five years, sales in Apple Valley have grown 533 percent faster than the average California city. The first quarter of 2010 showed a 4.1% increase in sales tax over the same period in 2009.

“I’m extremely proud of the fact that Apple Valley is in the top five statewide. I think we’ve attracted shoppers from other communities based on the strength and diversity of our retail market,” said Apple Valley Mayor Peter Allan. “People have to shop somewhere and they will spend their hard-earned dollars in a retail environment that provides a pleasant shopping experience. Shoppers all over the region are finding that experience in Apple Valley.”

Retail Success

These retail growth facts are part of the reason why, despite the crumbling economy, Apple Valley continues to attract businesses such as America’s Tire Store that began serving customers earlier this year at its brand new location near Highway 18 and Rancherias Road, and Burlington Coat Factory, which opened in September in the Jess Ranch Marketplace. Other retailers, restaurants and service providers are either expanding in their current locations, or adding second stores. Apple Valley Skin and Body Institute, for instance, is relocating to Jess Ranch Marketplace soon and will double its size and staff to accommodate for the success it has seen since opening the non-surgical medical spa in 2006 on Quantico Road.

“The Town has been nothing but gracious since welcoming us in 2006,” said Managing Director Mary Saadat. “From business licensing to planning, everyone has opened their arms to us. The Town’s efficient and friendly staff has played a significant part of our success.”

Other businesses that have recently opened, or will be open soon, include Toys R Us Express and Panda Express at the Apple Valley Commons and Massage Envy in the Jess Ranch Marketplace.

The town’s retail success is not limited to the newer shopping developments. The original “Village” business district that dates back to the mid-1940s is gaining strong momentum through collaborative efforts among the merchants. The Village has unveiled a marketing campaign to develop a brand and, more importantly, a place: A place to dine, a place to shop, a place to work. Road improvements, signage, and landscaping projects are some of the early efforts to recognize the area as a vital part of the town’s commercial landscape. In a show of support for this historic district, local businesses, agencies and community volunteers recently installed landscaping near the western Village entrance, using all donated materials and a grant from the MWA.

NORTH APPLE VALLEY INDUSTRIAL SPECIFIC PLAN

With its success in the retail sector clearly proven, Apple Valley is ready to make the same great strides in its industrial sector, with aggressive efforts designed to move Apple Valley to the top of any site-selector’s list. The Town is proposing a plan to install nearly $13 million worth of water and sewer system backbone infrastructure into its 5,100-square-foot industrial-designated area in north Apple Valley. Funding will come from sewer impact fees as well as bonds, which would be reimbursed as development occurs. Removing a major financial hurdle and eliminating time-consuming off-site work will continue to allow Apple Valley to offer a highly competitive option for light industrial, distribution and manufacturing companies that relocate to this area. With pre-approved uses and design standards, a project can obtain administrative approval in as little as 120 days.

Get A Slice of the Apple

For information on why Apple Valley is leading California’s economic recovery, visit www.getaslice.org.