By Gaither Loewenstein, Economic Development and Planning Manager
Barstow is continuing to build on its economic upswing over the past few years as a number of new businesses began operating in 2017, with additional retail stores, hotels and service enterprises planning to break ground or open in 2018. We are optimistic that the ongoing strong economic conditions and the continuing proactive steps taken by the City Council will lead to further development in the residential and industrial sectors this year as well.
A new 200,000-sq. ft. Super Walmart opened in June, 2017 in the Center on Main shopping plaza, which also includes eight new retail pads available for development. Among other businesses celebrating openings in 2017 were Habit Burger, Fallas, Columbia Retail and Asics at the Outlets of Barstow, Mission City Community Health Network, Daylight Donuts, and Sunset Hills Mortuary. Jersey Mike’s and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit opened in early 2018, and a new 66-room Best Western Plus is nearing completion. In addition, the World Famous Outlets of Barstow are beginning construction on a 105-ft. pylon sign that will be located on the western edge of their existing parking lot. It will feature a 38 ft. by 32 ft. full-color multimedia LED display.
The City’s historic Route 66 corridor welcomed several new businesses in 2017, including Tractor Supply Company, Borrego Health Barstow Community Health Center, Entrepreneur Center Barstow, and Roy’s Café. The City also constructed eight monument signs honoring Route 66, with each sign featuring a different classic automobile. Eight bicycle racks were also installed alongside the monument signs, with each rack displaying one of the eight states in the Route 66 highway system. During 2018, the City will explore the potential of highlighting the Route 66 highway and the development of the Mojave River Valley area by establishing museums in the downtown area.
Later this year the first phase of the Shops at Spanish Trail initiative is expected to begin by breaking ground on a new Marriott hotel, restaurant, and service station/convenience store. This project is located just north of the I-15 freeway at Avenue L, and proposes as much as 800,000-sq. ft. of retail, entertainment, personal care and health services development along the avenue during the next few years.
With regard to industrial and residential ventures, inquiries, site visits and discussions have continued to increase in the past year, with the likelihood that one or more development projects in Barstow will be announced at some point in 2018. The potential for subdivision-scale residential projects is strengthened by the City Council’s continuing initiative to temporarily reduce residential impact fees by 50% through December 31, 2018.
Overall, the City of Barstow expects 2018 will be an excellent year for commercial, residential and industrial development. The strong economy, combined with the city’s low land costs, favorable location and builder-friendly local government, presents outstanding opportunities for development in 2018 and beyond.