Category: E-Commerce

NEW STATE GROUP TO PROMOTE OPPORTUNITY ZONES

image via caloz.org

image via caloz.org

Published On March 25, 2019 – 11:58 AM
Written By The Business Journal Staff

A new California organization has been formed to help investors and developers take advantage of federal Opportunity Zones.

CalOZ “will promote competitive, equitable and sustainable Opportunity Zone investments in California,” according to a release from the organization.

“Our state must embrace new strategies to rebuild an upward economy that works for all Californians,” said Kunal Merchant, president and Co-Founder of CalOZ. “Opportunity zones offer an important new tool, not only to promote economic mobility and the green economy in areas of our state that need it most, but also to re-evaluate and re-imagine how business, government, and community work together to foster a more competitive, equitable and sustainable economy in California.”

In President Donald Trump’s 2016 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, he outlined what was labeled Opportunity Zones, which offered tax breaks on capital gains for investments in distressed areas.

In Fresno, a number of the areas were established, including the Kings Canyon and Blackstone avenue corridors.

On average, Opportunity Zones have a poverty rate of nearly 31 percent with families making 59 percent of the median income for the area, according to the release, citing information from Economic Innovation Group.

“Opportunity zones offer an intriguing new pathway for our state to expand our middle class and restore the California Dream for all residents,” said Ashley Swearengin, Central Valley Community Foundation’s CEO and former Mayor of Fresno. “I’m thrilled to see CalOZ showing leadership on this issue and excited to support their work both in the Central Valley and state as a whole.”

CalOZ’s first priority will be coordinating with the state to create “high-impact” policies in addition to the ones being offered by the federal government. The plan is to create a “triple-bottom line mindset” for social, environmental and financial opportunities, according to the release.

“With more than three million Californians residing in opportunity zones, California can and must seize the chance to deploy an unprecedented source of private capital into the communities that need it most, “ said Jim Mayer, President and CEO of California Forward. “We’re proud to partner with CalOZ to support state and local action to ensure California emerges as a national leader in this program.”

The U.S. Department of the Treasury certified more than 8,700 qualified areas throughout the country. Of those, California has around 10 percent within its boundaries. And Fresno County is ranked third in terms of having the largest designated Opportunity Zones, according to Merchant.

Those designations will last through the end of 2028.

New state group to promote Opportunity Zones

FOR SECOND TIME IN SIX MONTHS, TRCC SECURES LEASE WITH COMPANY RE-LOCATING FROM LOS ANGELES

TEJON RANCH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb. 14, 2019– Tejon Ranch Co. (NYSE: TRC) today announced that it has agreed to terms on a lease with a company that will relocate its western US distribution operations from the Los Angeles area to the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center (TRCC) in the fourth quarter of this year. The company, which wishes to remain anonymous for the time being due to competitive reasons, will occupy approximately 390,000 square feet of space in a new 580,000-square-foot building TRC is developing in partnership with Majestic Realty Co. The new building represents the third partnership between TRC and Majestic Realty. Construction has commenced, and the building will be ready for occupancy in approximately eight months.

“This decision to move its western distribution warehouse from the Los Angeles area to TRCC underscores Tejon Ranch’s value as a proven and opportune place for companies wanting to locate and/or expand in California,” said Joseph N. Rentfro, executive vice president of real estate at Tejon Ranch Co. “Coming on the heels of L’Oréal USA’s decision last fall to move its professional salon distribution subsidiary, SalonCentric, from its Valencia facility to Tejon, it reinforces our location as a place where companies find great value in our compelling logistics model, our outstanding labor force, and where they have opportunity to grow and expand.”

“Majestic Realty is extremely pleased the partnership has been able to pre-lease a large portion of the new building we’re developing in partnership with Tejon Ranch Co.,” said Brett Tremaine, senior vice president at Majestic Realty Co. “Working in Tejon Ranch, the time required to deliver a building ready for occupancy is as efficient and expeditious a process as you’ll find anywhere in the state, and perhaps the country. And with L’Oréal, and now a second company moving up from Los Angeles, we believe many more companies currently located in the Los Angeles basin will want to avail themselves of the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center’s strategic location at the southern gateway to Kern County.”

“It makes perfect sense for growing companies located in Los Angeles to consider relocating operations to Tejon Ranch,” said John DeGrinis, SIOR, executive managing director of Newmark Knight Frank, who represented TRCC and the other party in this transaction. “As available space is at a premium in Los Angeles–and commanding premium prices–Tejon Ranch represents an attractive alternative for companies needing additional space and seeking value for their businesses.”

“TRCC’s central location with direct access to Interstate 5 allows companies to get their goods to market easily and quickly,” Rentfro added. “In addition, employees and professional drivers have access to a wide variety of adjacent amenities. And with total operating costs among the lowest in the state, TRCC gives companies opportunities to take their distribution operations to the next level.”

This newest tenant at TRCC imports goods for sale throughout the US and beyond and will therefore have opportunity to take advantage of TRCC’s status as a Foreign Trade Zone. All industrial sites within TRCC, totaling nearly 1,100 acres, are included in FTZ #276, which was re-established and expanded last year by the U.S. Department of Commerce in conjunction with Kern County. FTZ #276 is locally administered by the County of Kern and is one of the largest activated FTZs in California.

The Tejon Ranch Commerce Center is Tejon Ranch Co.’s 1,450-acre master planned commercial/industrial development located at the junction of Interstate 5 and Highway 99 in Kern County, about an hour north of the Los Angeles basin. It’s entitled for more than 20 million square feet of commercial and industrial space, with about 15 million square feet still available. In addition to the previously mentioned L’Oréal USA, the Commerce Center is also home to major distribution centers for IKEA, Famous Footwear, Dollar General (NYSE: DG), Vision Media and Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT).

http://tejonranch.com/for-second-time-in-six-months-trcc-secures-lease-with-company-re-locating-from-los-angeles/

UPS TO PULL TRIGGER ON NEW VISALIA HUB, 600 JOBS


Image via flickr.comPublished On December 5, 2018 – 1:11 PM
Written By John Lindt

United Parcel Service (UPS) is moving forward on plans for its new Visalia distribution hub this month.

Blueprints call for a 425,000 square foot facility expected to employ 600 people.

Mayor Warren Gubler said he and City Manger Randy Groom met with UPS representatives about a month ago. ”They told us they want to build their plant next year and it will bring 300 more jobs to Visalia,” Gubler said.

UPS bought 58 acres last year at the northeast corner of Plaza and Riggin avenues, the first development that would be north of Riggin in the industrial park.

Asked about the plan, a UPS spokesman said they had no comment.

But local Teamsters, who have a contract with UPS, say they have been advised of the plan.” UPS Visalia has about 274 employees now and they have told us they want to add 300 to 400 more,” says Teamsters Local 948 Secretary Adam Ochoa.

”They want to start construction right away” adding that UPS wants to be operating in time for next year’s busy holiday season.

The UPS Visalia facility is expected to be the new Central Valley regional hub for ground shipments with room to expand if necessary. UPS is expanding its logistics hubs all around the country as they struggle to handle the ever-increasing demand from online shopping.

Community Development Director Nick Mascia says the city is working directly with UPS and their contractor on a plan that would place the new distribution facility on the north end of the property with vehicular access from both Riggin Avenue and Plaza Drive.

UPS has a smaller 40,000 square foot distribution center on Goshen Avenue they will no longer need once the large new highly automated facility opens. Mascia says in their building design process they are working first on a design for the conveyor systems to handle packages at the new Visalia plant.

And business is brisk. Nationally UPS package volume has increased 4.9 percent in the second quarter of this year even as their domestic revenue was up 8.1 percent.

UPS investment in new facilities and technology appears to be paying off as they compete to deliver on time.

UPS delivered 98.3 percent of packages shipped during Thanksgiving week on time, according to ShipMatrix Inc. Last year during the same week, 89.2 percent of parcels shipped through UPS Express were delivered on the day they were promised, meaning about 3.3 million packages a day arrived late.

The Wall Street Journal say UPS has added 22 new or retrofitted automated facilities in the U.S to handle the crushing volume of packages arriving at our front doors.

In August 2017, UPS purchased the 58 acres in Visalia’s industrial park. The big block of land was bought from developer Central California Logistics Center who had available some 480 acres of land north of Riggin Avenue on both sides of Plaza Drive. With UPS in place, demand for the remaining 400-plus acres should pick up.

Because of UPS’ plans, there will likely be more of these hubs sprouting along what has been open-range land on the sparsely populated northwestern edge of Visalia.

With little congestion and plenty of land available, UPS made a decision to invest in this property with their distribution hubs in Fresno and Visalia. Those hubs have been very busy and highly impacted by nearby development that has boxed them in — thwarting any kind of future major expansion.

For years, Visalia has promoted its center-state location and the presence of a major UPS transportation hub with access to 98 percent of California’s population via overnight delivery — 95 million consumers.

This presence is also credited with attracting scores of other distribution centers that use UPS for overnight shipping, claims about which both Visalia and Fresno boast.

One company, Diversified Development Group of Fresno, has invested heavily in buying land and developing “spec,” — or speculation — buildings before firm commitments. DDG has three developments within a block of the new Visalia UPS complex and expects more deals as large as 1 million square feet.

Recently, power toolmaker Hilti Inc. leased a new 166,000 square foot warehouse just built by DDG next to VF Corp. on American Avenue at Riggin Avenue. DDG also has plans for a new 700,000 square foot set of four “spec” buildings expected to break ground in 2019 at the southeast corner of Plaza and Riggin avenues.

Helping to highlight the location of these properties is the completion of the new $36 million Betty Drive interchange, less than two miles away at Highway 99. This will speed truck traffic in and out of the Visalia Industrial Park.

HERE ARE THE VALLEY’S FASTEST GROWING COMPANIES

Published On November 9, 2018 – 7:00 AM
Written By Donald A. Promnitz
The past three years have been good to the staff at Lee’s Heating & Air in Fresno. In fact, at a 128 percent rate of growth between 2015 and 2017, the firm has become one of the fastest growing companies in the Central Valley.

For more information on the fastest growing companies in the San Joaquin Valley, please see The Business Journal’s annual list on page 10.

According to Tom Howard, the owner of Lee’s, this uptick in business can be largely attributed to customer service and reputation, along with upgraded software to connect with customers. Another big factor, however, has been the improvement of the economy, both nationally and locally.

“It allows homeowners to make upgrades that they haven’t been able to make before,” Howard said. “I think that the economy is doing a lot better in the Central Valley than it was in 2009 and 2010 — that definitely helped fuel the growth.”

Howard isn’t alone in his observation. According to Fresno State economist Ernie Goss, the Central Valley — which has previously lagged behind the rest of the state — has been making rapid progress in recent years.

“Now the catch up is really [sped] up, meaning the rate of growth has been positive for quite some time,” Goss said. “But the rate has definitely increased and relative to the U.S., it’s certainly stronger.”

In Goss’s research, he found that overall job growth in the Central Valley over the past 12 months has been 2.6 percent compared to the national average of 1.7 percent. Howard said that his own company has expanded its employment roster from approximately 26 in 2015 to about 50. Meanwhile, expanded business has given Lee’s the ability to pay tuition for his employees who are in college, along with their books.

Goss added that construction and manufacturing are two other sectors to watch. Construction is surpassing the national average with 8.3 percent job growth in the region, while in manufacturing, its 5.1 percent. Delano Construction, LLC of Fresno, which currently has a roster of 26 employees, saw a revenue growth of 208 percent.

The last three years have also proven successful for the solar companies in the region. Topping this industry has been Energy Concepts Enterprises, Inc., which went from revenues of $4.2 million in 2015 to $9.8 million in 2017, a rate of 132 percent. SunPower by Quality Home Services also saw growth of 90 percent in the same time frame, while in Visalia, CalCom Energy was up by 47.46 percent. According to Ryan Gutierrez of Energy Concepts, this has largely been the result of higher utility bills.

“Rates are continually going up,” Gutierrez said. “Solar offers a way for a customer to avoid rate increases by covering their own quest for energy.”

Goss said that tariffs on imported solar panels would further help domestic manufacturers.

Meanwhile, a law passed earlier this year mandating solar panels on new homes could also be good business when it goes into effect in 2020.

For some companies, however, growth isn’t necessarily facilitated by a growing economy. For example, BCT Consulting, Inc. of Fresno, provider of technology solutions, tends to be busier when there’s a dip in the market. This is because their company deals in the outsourcing of technology and helping clients find solutions that are more cost effective.

Nonetheless, BCT has grown by 27 percent. Eric Rawn, president and founder, credited this to acquisitions and mergers, along with community outreach and customer service.

“We don’t want to grow just to grow,” Rawn said. “We want to grow because it makes sense for everyone involved.”

In the months and years to come, Goss added that he has optimism for the future of the San Joaquin Valley. Though he stated concerns about immigration and the agricultural exports being impacted by the current trade war with China, he said the region has become increasingly appealing to the rest of the state.

“So there is the ability of some of those companies coming to Fresno and enjoying many of the benefits of California, but not many of the costs that we’re seeing in San Francisco, for example,” Goss said.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/here-are-the-valleys-fastest-growing-companies/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=612a341302-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_11_20_09_19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-612a341302-78934409&mc_cid=612a341302&mc_eid=a126ded657

Kern proposes $3 million hiring incentive for Amazon

Amazon would receive $3 million in local tax rebates in exchange for employing 1,000 Kern County residents at the 2.6 million-square-foot distribution center the retail giant is building next to Meadows Field Airport, according to a proposal released Thursday.

The incentives package, scheduled for a vote Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors, would give annual refunds to one of the world’s most valuable companies in an amount equal to half its combined property, sales and use tax bills — an estimated $575,000 per year before the rebate — for an estimated 11 years.

In exchange, Amazon would be required to create 1,000 new jobs for Kern County residents with an average annual wage of $31,000 per job. At least 900 of those positions would have to be filled by October 2021.

The offer would expire in 30 years if the rebates have not been used by that time. The county could rescind the package at any time if Amazon does not meet and keep up its job-creation obligations under the agreement.

“The strength in the incentive being proposed is the time-bound nature of the job creation, coupled with the requirement that these are NEW jobs for Kern County residents,” county spokeswoman Megan Person said by email. “We have the ability to ensure our residents get these jobs, get paid a sustainable wage and they do it by a specific date.”

The incentive, if approved, would be the second time the county has used the Advance Kern Incentive Program the board created in 2017. The first, approved by the board in August, offered L’Oreal USA $2.3 million in tax rebates in exchange for the company’s pledge to create 155 new jobs at the distribution center it plans to open at the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center south of Bakersfield. No other Advance Kern incentives are currently under negotiation, Person wrote.

County officials confirmed in September Amazon’s plan to open a “fulfillment” center just north of Bakersfield at the 138-acre Landings Logistics Center LLC just north of Merle Haggard Drive. Industry observers have said the center might ultimately employ up to 2,000 people.

Amazon has not publicly confirmed its plan to open a distribution center in Kern. A company representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incentives package.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf.

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