Dirt is moving, concrete is pouring, and buildings are going up on some long-vacant lots across Fresno. Soon, you’ll see gas stations, restaurants, apartment complexes, and a funeral home pop up.
“Economic activity is robust and it’s across the entire city, all being driven by market forces,” said Mayor Lee Brand.
Here’s a look at what’s coming based on city applications and planning documents. Developers are not asked for completion or opening dates, so be patient. Construction projects are notorious for delays.
▪ The last empty corner at Stanislaus Street and Van Ness Avenue in downtown Fresno will be the site of work lofts and apartments. It was used recently as a parking lot, but many will remember that it was a boarded-up gas station for years.
Upside Enterprises, led by Mark Astone of Catalyst Marketing, removed the underground gas tanks this week. The project is still in the design phase.
▪ In northwest Fresno, the empty lots around Sierra Sky Park will soon start to fill up. The city council on Thursday approved a project at Herndon and Blythe to allow the construction of three commercial pads for future buildings, including a drive-thru restaurant.
▪ Down the street, United Health Centers is building a 57,000-square-foot administrative building on the northwest corner of Herndon and Brawley avenues. About 150 people will work out of the office, including senior executives and employees from other administrative departments, patient referral services and the call center. There is room for expansion.
The Neenan Company based in Colorado is the design and build partner for the project. The building is expected to be finished late this year. The health center’s existing administration building in Parlier will be renovated into a new health center.
▪ Across the street, on the southwest corner of Herndon and Brawley, the dirt on an old fig orchard is being graded for a Chevron gas station with 12 pumps and a convenience store. An attached car wash is also planned.
Timbers support walls under construction at an office complex as construction worker Napoleon Gonzalez passes through at Herndon and Palm avenues, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018.
JOHN WALKER firstname.lastname@example.org
▪ In a new building at Palm and Herndon avenues, tenant improvements have started on the new Steinway Piano Gallery of Fresno, formerly Valley Music Center. Dutch Bros. plans to open its sixth Fresno location on one end of the building. Butterfish poke restaurant is also working on opening its second Fresno spot (it has a restaurant in Clovis too) on the other end. A 2,100-square-foot space is available for lease.
A second building on the busy corner, along Herndon Avenue, is under construction. It will be offices for Guarantee Real Estate.
▪ The city’s first Hyatt Place hotel is under construction east of Highway 41, just south of Alluvial Avenue. The 130,000-square foot facility will have 124 rooms, a pool, Jacuzzi, gym and restaurant. The hotel is expected to open in 2019.
Concrete worker Victor Mandujano breaks through hard ground as he prepares to set a form at the Starbucks and Kabab City building on Nees Avenue, east of First Street, Friday Feb. 9, 2018.
JOHN WALKER email@example.com
▪ In northeast Fresno, a 9,175-square-foot funeral home is planned for 2.5 acres behind the ARCO gas station near First and Nees avenues. The city has received inquiries, but no formal application, about possible apartment projects on the rest of the land.
Construction continues on Starbucks’ new home on Nees between Walgreens and Sakura Chaya. Kabab City, a Middle Eastern restaurant, has signed a lease for the building.
▪ Granville Homes has started work on a 162-unit apartment project called “Brookside” on the northeast corner of Millbrook and Nees avenues. The development will have a clubhouse and leasing office, private garages and a pool.
▪ Spencer Enterprises is building a 320-unit apartment complex near the northwest corner of Willow and Herndon avenues with community building, pool, garages and carports. A commercial development is planned for the rest of the property, but the city has not received any applications yet.
▪ Trucks are moving in and out of 20 acres of land on the northwest corner of Shepherd and Willow avenues where a mixed-use commercial and multifamily development is under construction from Vincent Ricchiuti of Heritage Development Company. The plans call for more than 250 units and 34,800 square feet of commercial space with activity areas, a paseo for outdoor dining and a corner patio area.
A pair of Fulton Street buildings dating to the 1940s and ’50s are falling under the steel teeth of an excavator to make way for a four-story building that will eventually provide more than 50 apartments as well as ground-floor commercial space.
A demolition crew began work Thursday taking down the side-by-side buildings at 835 and 829 Fulton St., north of Inyo Street. The site, along with an adjoining parking lot, is being cleared for the first phase of the South Stadium redevelopment project in the downtown neighborhood near Chukchansi Park. Developers Mehmet Noyan and Terance Frazier hope to begin construction on the mixed-use building by late summer or early fall and be ready for occupancy by November 2019.
The $18 million construction project will include 27 one-bedroom apartments and 27 two-bedroom units. More than half of the apartments will have a view across an alley into the baseball stadium. Most of the apartments will be rented out at market rates, with rents expected to range from $1,000 to $1,800 per month, Frazier said Thursday, but about a dozen of the units will be rented as affordable housing.
Noyan and Frazier are working on plans for future phases that include other nearby properties, “but our focus now is on Phase 1,” Noyan said. “We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.”
Plans for the project have been in the works since about 2013, Noyan said, but it was the opening of Fulton Street – after more than 50 years as a pedestrian-only outdoor mall – that was critical to the effort. “Without it I probably wouldn’t be standing here today,” Noyan said. “It was so important, not only to us as developers, but lenders would look at it the same way. I doubt we would make this kind of investment had the street not been completed.”
Lifelong Fresno resident Ron Bohigian was among bystanders who watched as the excavator began to delicately pluck at the brick wall. His mother and grandmother bought the building at 835 Fulton in the early 1960s and ran Gay Twenty Fashions, a women’s dress store that operated until 2000.
“As I kid I would come in and help out. I would vacuum and fold boxes, and my kids even did that, too,” Bohigian said. “When (my kids) heard this was going to be torn down, they said, ‘Dad, go down there and get a few bricks for us.’”
“I remember Fulton before it was a mall and I remember when they opened the mall (in 1964),” he added. “I really feel kind of good about what’s going on. This area’s only going to get better.…It all looks good and it’s attractive.”
Atlanta-based Ridgeline Property Group could attract a record price on a per square foot and cap rate basis for brand new industrial product in the Central Valley for its planned sale of the Class A, 381,600 square foot Tracy Pescadero Distribution Center in Tracy, according to sources that track the sale of industrial assets in the region.
Ridgeline and its capital source, Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management, had developed the property together, which was completed in 2017. The 19.46-acre site is less than one mile from Interstate 205, an east-west route connecting to Oakland and San Francisco, and it provides easy access to the regional transportation corridors serving the major markets of the Western U.S., according the company’s statement.
“Tracy, California, is the best distribution location in the Central Valley, and the Tracy Pescadero Distribution Center will provide much-needed Class A space for modern distribution operations,” said Greg Thurman, CEO of Ridgeline Property Group in July of 2015, when the company announced that it was commencing construction of the speculative development. “There is virtually no availability of Class A space greater than 200,000 square feet in the Central Valley. In addition to providing bulk space, this 381,600-square-foot facility will offer the option of either a rear-load or front-load configuration, depending on the needs of the tenant. The flexible design also enables the building to be divided into three separate spaces with front offices.”
The sellers are bringing the asset to market for sale on Monday, and they have hired CBRE as the listing agents on the sale. Two people involved are Darla Longo, vice chairman/managing director and Rebecca Perlmutter, senior vice president. CBRE declined to comment when contacted for this story.
Its rare for new industrial product in Tracy to come up for sale so soon after the property was developed. Most property owners in Tracy are major institutional owners. Two such examples would be Prologis and DCT Industrial Trust. These companies and others are more interested in holding on to their assets for a long period of time.
The Pescadero Center is a single building property. The asset is now 100 percent leased to Excel, which is a DHL Supply Chain entity, and Pactra USA. Both of these companies are considered to be high-credit tenants. The average lease term on these two tenants is 5.6 years.
This investment opportunity offers strong cash flow with significant upside to rents given the steady demand and lack of available inventory driving future rent growth. In-place rents are approximately 5 percent below market, offering the new owner future NOI increases upon lease rollover.
Located at 1700 East Pescadero Avenue, the distribution facility features 32-foot clear heights, 57 dock-high doors, two drive-in doors, a 185-foot truck court, 92 trailer parking spaces, 317 auto parking spaces and Early Suppression Fast Response (ESFR) fire sprinklers. The asset also has an office component inside the property, which is 9,470 square feet, or approximately 2.5 percent of the total building.
The overall 95 million square foot industrial market in the Central Valley remains very strong. The region recorded its 19th consecutive quarter of positive absorption with 2.8 million square feet of net absorption year-to-date bringing the vacancy rate down to 2.2 percent at the end of the third quarter.
The Tracy industrial market has also shown strong operating fundamentals. At the end of 2017, Tracy’s average asking lease rate of $0.45 triple-net had increased 15 percent over the past two years.
Ridgeline is known in the industrial sector as a merchant developer. The company does have a regional office located in Northern California in Roseville.
More electric vehicle charging stations are coming to California after the state approved an initiative to expand charging projects into low-income cities.
The Central Valley has opportunity to secure some of that infrastructure.
The California Public Utilities Commission approved the new projects, which totaled 15 proposals, on Jan. 11.
Approved projects include four PG&E pilots totaling $8 million to be added in PG&E coverage areas.
It’s part of a larger $1 billion investment that will add 5,300 new charging points to the state, representing a commitment to new EV infrastructure and related transportation electrification projects.
Sites for the new builds have yet to be determined.
PG&E will partner with businesses and individuals to advance its initiatives, which include bringing EV access and technology to medium/heavy-duty fleet vehicles, school buses, refrigeration trucks and parking spaces. PG&E will also provide better EV education for homeowners looking to install charging stations in their residence.
The San Joaquin Valley can look forward to one project that targets the region specifically: electrifying refrigeration units and other auxiliary power units of agricultural and long-haul trucks in the San Joaquin Valley by providing a minimum of 15 electrified parking spaces at one parking site.
The proposals were submitted last year by Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric under Senate Bill 350 and received expedited review.
PG&E on Wednesday launched a new network for charging electric vehicles, a web of green energy that will eventually include 7,500 charging stations.
Condominiums, apartment buildings and workplaces throughout PG&E’s service territory in northern and central California are among the types of locations planned for the EV-charging stations.
Over the first three months of 2018, PG&E will install new electric vehicle charging sites through partnerships with business customers. Merced College, the first participating customer, was among the first round of installations.
The $130 million program will extend over three years and end in 2020, PG&E said.
All hosts of the EV-charging sites will be allowed to own the vehicle-charging equipment, PG&E said.
San Francisco-based PG&E will be allowed to own 35 percent of the charging stations installed over the three years, which would be up to 2,625 out of the 7,500.
“We have just installed chargers at our first customer site, which is the Los Banos campus of Merced College,” said Ari Vanrenen, a PG&E spokeswoman.
PG&E installed six chargers at the campus on Wednesday. Each charging station can accommodate two vehicles at the same time. Merced College has decided to own the first six chargers.
Equipment for this program includes what are known as Level 2 chargers.
“Level 2 charges a vehicle in four to six hours,” Vanrenen said.
In January 2017, PG&E proposed a $253 million plan to expand use of electric vehicles in California in a quest for cleaner air, but customers would be forced to pay more in monthly power bills to bankroll the company’s project.
The proposal’s elements include helping ease the process of conversions to electric vehicles of existing large- and medium-sized vehicles now running on diesel or gasoline, and expanding deployment of fast-charging electric vehicle stations that power up electric cars in roughly 25 minutes.
But that plan would come with a cost: Monthly power bills would rise an average of 28 cents a month for residential customers of PG&E, Vanrenen estimated at the time.
An expansion of PG&E’s initial efforts is already in the works through a series of pilot programs, Max Baumhefner, a San Francisco-based official with the National Resources Defense Council, an environmental activism group, stated in a blog post on Wednesday.
“These programs will be soon followed by 15 different pilots that were recently approved by the state Public Utilities Commission and which target cars, trucks, buses, cranes, airport equipment, forklifts and other things that move,” Baumhefner wrote in the blog post.
The stations that PG&E would own would most likely be in multi-family residential apartment or condominium complexes, as well as in disadvantaged communities.
“These would be in places where cars would be more likely to sit for extended periods of time,” Vanrenen said.
Now that Fulton Street – closed to cars for more than 50 years – is reopened, people are waiting to see what new businesses appear there.
There still are many vacancies and metal gates pulled across storefronts. But restaurants are among the first new businesses working on plans to open on Fulton Street. It might take a while – not all have signed leases yet – but there is plenty of prep work happening.
As always, restaurant openings are notorious for their delays, so you’ll have to be patient. Several may not open for many months
Chicken Shack – The former Payless ShoeSource will be home to the second location of The Chicken Shack from Hanford. The store, at 1108 Fulton Street at the corner of Mariposa Mall, will be divided into two restaurants. It’s still a big, empty space without kitchens, though, so many months of work are ahead.
Chicken Shack owner Damon Miller hopes to open this summer.
The menu will be much like the restaurant in Hanford, featuring jumbo chicken wings and tenders with more than 30 sauces.
Miller was looking at spaces all over Fresno and got excited about downtown’s future.
“I’m pretty optimistic it’s going to do well,” he said. “There’s still a lot of rejuvenation to come to downtown Fresno and it’d be good to get in early.”
Renoir’s washer woman sculpture stands outside what will be known as Renoir Corner, where two restaurants, The Chicken Shack and Toshiko Japanese Cuisine, are planned at Mariposa and Fulton streets in downtown Fresno.
CRAIG KOHLRUSS firstname.lastname@example.org
The corner has been dubbed Renoir Corner for the washer woman sculpture there inspired by painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. (Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, Renoir directed an assistant to create the statue. Fresno’s version is one of six worldwide and the only one the public is allowed to touch.)
Building owner Robert Gurfield – who also owns the two buildings just north of there – plans to put a sign with the Renoir Corner name on the building.
Toshiko Japanese Cuisine – Also hoping to open in the other half of the Payless space is another Hanford business, Toshiko Japanese Cuisine. The sushi and ramen restaurant has a banner up but has yet to sign a lease, so nothing is definite.
Tutis Fruties – The cart selling aguas frescas drinks, fruit and hot dogs on Fulton since 1986 is opening a storefront.
Called Tutis Fruties (not to be confused with the frozen yogurt franchise Tutti Frutti), the business will serve ice cream, aguas frescas, fruit cups and Mexican desserts and snacks like raspados and tostilocos.
The owners hope the restaurant will open by mid-January. They want to continue running the cart, but aren’t sure about its future
Tutis Fruties ice cream parlor nears opening on Fulton Street near Tulare Street in downtown Fresno.
CRAIG KOHLRUSS email@example.com
Quail State – This bar and restaurant doesn’t exist yet, but its sophisticated Instagram photos of cocktails has people intrigued.
The founder says he has the money to open and is in the final stages of negotiating for a space on Fulton Street. But a deal isn’t signed, so he’s not saying where.
Quail State would serve farm-to-table cuisine inspired by Fresno and California’s multicultural population. The name is nod to California and its state bird.
It would sell craft cocktails made from local, seasonal ingredients. The bar would make its own simple syrups, bitters and vermouth, and barrel-age its own cocktails.
If all goes as planned, it could open this summer.
Josh Islas and his partners are the people behind Quail State. Islas was born and raised in Dinuba and lived in Fresno for a year before moving to Southern California. He has spent 10 years working in bars and restaurants, including in management and marketing.
He has joined with his girlfriend, Hayley Wolf, who will be the chief financial officer, and Fresnan Clinton Jeffries.
His search for a spot on Fulton Street didn’t pan out, but he’s landed a location 100 feet away from the street.
He will sell coffee and tea out of Raizana Tea Co. at the corner of Fulton and Tuolumne streets, next to Warnors Theatre.
You see, he bought Raizana with the help of “angel investors.”
He will continue to fulfill orders for Raizana’s wholesale business, which includes selling through Amazon. He will roast coffee and run his coffee business out of the location, too.
“Our plan is to make it where Fulton Street Coffee and Raizana continue to grow separately, but as sister companies,” Vargas said.
The tea-bar part of the business, where people can come in and order a cup, also will sell coffee. It’s not clear what it will be called and Vargas has some prep work to do first, but he hopes it will be open with regular hours by the beginning of February.
But it hasn’t been smooth sailing for everyone. During Fulton’s grand reopening celebration in October, another entrepreneur previewed the business she wanted to open.
It would have been the city’s first cider bar, plus bring a coffee shop to the northern end of Fulton. She couldn’t reach a deal on the Fulton Street location she wanted to rent, however.
She’s now managing the BroadwayEvents Center not far from Fulton. She still wants to open the cider and coffee business, but it’s probably going to take a little longer.
“I do still want to be on Fulton,” she said. “It’s unfortunate how many storefronts are still just sitting.”
Another business that was up and running when the mall was still closed to cars, Antojitos Mexican Restaurant, has closed. The owners of the business at 1234 Fulton Mall could not be reached for comment.
Little Bean Cafe plans to reopen in 2018 at its location on the corner of Mariposa and Fulton streets in downtown Fresno.
CRAIG KOHLRUSS firstname.lastname@example.org
Little Bean Cafe – This coffee shop was open on Fulton back when it was for pedestrians only. It closed after some electrical problems.
But Little Bean Cafe is planning a comeback. The shop, at the corner of Fulton Street and Mariposa Mall, has signs up that say “Coming Back 2018.”
Owner Guillermo Moreno confirmed the shop should open this year, but he couldn’t pin down a more specific time.
Just the Tip – This restaurant serving tri-tip sandwiches, salads and wraps moved to the area in October. It had outgrown its digs on Divisadero Street near Fresno Community Regional Center.
It moved to 2017 Mariposa Mall, near the corner of Fulton and Mariposa.
“It was perfect timing because of Fulton Street,” said Bianca “Binx” Lopez, one of three partners behind the restaurant.
The trio wasn’t necessarily looking to be on Fulton Street, but they are happy to be part of the changes downtown. They even renamed its sandwiches to reflect nearby streets. The Van Ness, for example, is their French dip sandwich.
Existing restaurants, from left, Donut Downtown, La Cocina de Mamá, Just the Tip and Kids Cafe 2019, are located in what will be known as Renoir Corner, near the artist’s washer woman sculpture at the corner of Mariposa and Fulton streets in downtown Fresno.
• Entry-level community expected to open for sale in Spring 2018
• Latest development by San Joaquin Valley Homes and Presidio Residential Capital
A new residential community called “Brighton” with 115 detached single-family homes more than 72 acres in Tulare is to be built by San Joaquin Valley Homes and Presidio Residential Capital.
Construction on model homes is scheduled to begin in January 2018, and the neighborhood is expected to be open for sale next spring. The retail value of the project is estimated by the developers to exceed $30 million.
“Brighton is ideally located for families and professionals with easy access to employment and entertainment opportunities in the Central Valley,” says Danny Garcia, vice president of sales at SJV Homes.
The development will feature entry-level homes with five floor plans ranging from 1,574 to 2,314 square feet and a move-up line ranging from 2,000 to 2,831 square feet on lots averaging 7,226 square feet. It will include a community park and a pond.
Founded in 2013 by Joe Leal, Jim Robinson and Randy Merrill, SJV Homes sold its 1,000th home in September. Brighton is SJV Homes’ 16th joint venture project with Presidio Residential Capital, a San Diego-based real estate investment company that funds 100 percent of the projects and operations of SJV Homes.
According to the National Association of Home Builders’ formula to determine the local impact of single-family housing in typical metro areas, adding 115 single-family homes will generate $33 million in local income, $9 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments and 453 local jobs, says SJV Homes.
One decade after Bass Pro Shops announced its intention to build a store in Bakersfield — a plan that has been marked with uncertainty amid economic downturn — the outdoor retail giant announced Wednesday that it would build its fifth California location in Kern County.
The Missouri-based outdoor retailer, which specializes in hunting, fishing and camping gear, will open a 100,000-square-foot store to anchor an 800,000-square-foot mixed-retail center at the northeast corner of Hosking Avenue and Highway 99 known as the Bakersfield Gateway.
It will be the retailer’s only store between Manteca and Rancho Cucamonga.
“We are very excited to be the lead anchor tenant for this innovative new development that is sure to have such a positive impac
t on Bakersfield, one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States,” Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO Johnny Morris said in a prepared statement. “Our store will be a tribute to the great sporting tradition and heritage of the region and a celebration of the sporting men and women of California.”
No timeline or estimated date for when the store would open has been released.
Stephen Coslik, chairman of The Woodmont Company, the Texas-based developer planning the project, said he
’s now confident the Bakersfield Gateway would be a success, crediting Bass Pro Shops’ “incredible draw.”
Beyond anchoring the anticipated development, Bass Pro Shops could boost the local economy. It anticipates hiring between 250 and 300 employees, many of whom will be locals.
Bass Pro Shops announced its intention to open a 150,000-square-foot store in Bakersfield first in 2007 at the Bakersfield Gateway site, but the recession sidelined the project.
“The project never materialized,” company communications manager Katie Mitchell told The Californian in 2014.
Bass Pro Shops never pulled out of the deal, which some considered critical to the success of the 93-acre development, said Bakersfield Community Development Director Jacqui Kitchen, adding, “it was just a long and extended negotiation.”
“With all the changes the retail sector has seen in the last several years, I think Bass Pro took some time to reflect on their overall development plans nationwide, but ultimately they realized this is a great opportunity they had within the city of Bakersfield,” Kitchen said. “It’s something we’ve all known is coming the last several years, and we’re very happy they’ve moved ahead with their (announcement).”
Although plans have not yet been finalized, Bass Pro Shop officials said in a press release that the Bakersfield location would include a gift and nature center featuring a variety of outdoor related items “from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture.” It would also include an expansive boat showroom offering Tracker, Nitro, Suntracker, Tahoe and Mako boats built by White River Marine Group.
Bakersfield planning and development officials have been working for the last five years to woo the retail giant to town, Kitchen said. Once the retailer gets site plans approved through the planning commission and applies for building permits, the city plans to help Bass Pro coast through the process, Kitchen added.
“The city is ready and willing to help them get through all the permitting process and make sure there’s as little red tape as possible,” Kitchen said.
Most exciting about the deal, Kitchen said, was the size of the store.
At 100,000-square-feet, it’s not the largest tier store Bass Pro Shops constructs, but it is larger than what’s been rumored, Kitchen said.
“We wanted to make sure Bakersfield residents get the best available amenity,” Kitchen said. “It seems Bass Pro is seeking to do just that.”
With virtually no vacant space in the Visalia Industrial Park a spurt of new construction is underway that will make room for both new tenants, local company expansions and relocations in coming months.
If there are few empty buildings to lease, Visalia sports about 1,000 acres of land “zoned and ready to go,” according to Visalia economic development manager staffer Devon Jones.
Developers looking to encourage companies who might want a location in the Central Valley are building several concrete tilt-up “spec buildings” in Visalia that can be ready for tenant improvements and occupancy in a matter of weeks.
Making new projects feasible, the city has a streamlined permitting process and lots are hooked up to sewer and water. In addition there has been a $130 million investment in roads over the past few years with easy access to Hwy 99 and the rest of California.
We are talking ’speedy delivery’ – not just for goods but for new buildings that will house future distribution and manufacturing hubs.
Visalia’s mid-state location makes it attractive for ground shipping of goods to the Western US, enabling parcels to arrive in one-day to many locations.
None other than United Parcel Service appears to be convinced, having invested in the purchase of 58 acres north Riggin at Plaza earlier this summer. Sources says UPS plans a phased development to start with – a modular sorting center to replace its current small distribution center on Goshen Ave. Then, a 400,000 permanent complex will be next for UPS – said to be the big company’s future main hub in the Central Valley. Growth around its Fresno facility has boxed them in say real estate sources. Visalia’s ample industrial acreage is apparently the answer.
The land is the first parcel to sell in the Central Valley Logistics Center industrial park on the northwest corner of Plaza and Riggin since it was zoned for development a decade ago.
Another big shipper is making Visalia its hub. Golden State Overnight (GSO) now owned by Britain’s Royal Mail, is building a 63,000sf distribution center at a cost of $2.3 million right now.Royal Mail bought GSO last year for $90 million.
“If Memphis is the biggest hub for FedEx and Louisville is the main UPS hub – Visalia is our most important hub for the future” says GSO’s McKinley.
The company has a smaller facility it leases now that has truck docks only on one side, says company VP Bob McKinley. The complex being built by Visalia based American Inc will offer triple the number of cargo doors on both sides with full automation on the conveyor system, he says.
The GSO hub will employ about 70 when it opens and likely double that in some years expects McKinley.
“If Memphis is a the biggest hub for FedEx and Louisville is the main UPS hub – Visalia is our most important hub for the future” says GSO’s McKinley.
Perhaps the most active developer who has long recognized the need to offer new industrial space in Visalia ahead of demand – is John Brelsford of Fresno who owns Diversified Development Group.
Last summer Brelsford broke ground on a fast-track construction project to build 3 clustered industrial buildings in a matter of weeks along Riggin near VF Corp, completing them – a total of 403,000sf – by late October of this year.
Commuters passing by each morning last month marveled at the rapid progress on construction each day.
While Mr Brelsford says he can’t reveal prospective tenants he is working with International Paper, who a has major paper cup manufacturing plant here, will use the most northerly building, a 140,000sf space according to the City of Visalia who received tenant improvement plans in recent days.
“They are about ready to move in” says city planner Jason Huckleberry.
A second space is close to being filled as well says Mr Brelsford.
Next Phase Coming
Because interest has been so brisk Brelsford is not waiting to build more “spec” space. He says he expects to build about 800,000sf beginning next March on 33 acres he owns on the southeast corner of Plaza and Riggin, a few blocks from his other project.
Last year Brelsford acquired another big parcel at Plaza and Riggin – 150 acres from Doe family – now fully entitled and in the city limits at the northwest corner of this same key intersection.The spot is just 1.5 miles from the new Betty Drive interchange on Hwy 99 that is expected to be complete in a few months.
If newcomers make the news, expansion of existing industrial park tenants are the bread and butter of Visalia’s economy.
While some worry that many new distribution companies looking here take larger spaces of source but actually have few employees. But some are both big on their space needs and offer lots of jobs
Consider VF Corp, the international clothing maker, who has a million square foot distribution center on Plaza Drive. VF, maker of Wrangler, Lee Jeans and NorthFace outdoor clothing, employs up to 1,100 people and most of them live within a 10-15-mile radius from the facility says the company.VF has recently completed a $3 million upgrade to their facility and plans more in 2018.
Another industrial park tenant that continues to grow larger is Perfection Pet Foods, a division of Western Milling, based in Goshen. The pet food maker is building a $6.2 million office and warehouse right now. Owner Kevin Kruse says they are replacing a 100,000sf warehouse a few miles away.”We wont have to move our products across town” from their manufacturing plant, he figures. The new warehouse will house products ready to ship to Walmart and other large customers. Perfection Pet Foods employs about 120 at their growing campus of buildings in the northwest part of the industrial park.
As interest in new buildings grow, the vacated space makes room for others who will likely gobble up this 100,000sf left by the pet food company, for example.
Meanwhile smaller players like local developer Danny Freitas says his various Visalia industrial park spaces are all spoken for and he will now build two new 40,000sf “spec” warehouses for lease, one on Kelsey and one on Sunnyview.
Also in the industrial park, Servall, the big appliance parts and repair company says they will open their new sales and distribution center in Visalia in December 2017 at 2247 N. Plaza Dr., Suite D, in am existing 35,000 sf building – one of the few vacant spots in the Mid-State 99 complex.
The company cited their ability to do one-day shipping of appliance parts to consumers and businesses throughout all of California.The business will employ 20.
Four Navy F-35C Lightening II fighters arrived at Naval Air Station LeMoore, California on Jan. 25 in what naval aviation officials are calling a huge step in the evolution of Lemoore as the Navy’s first Joint Strike Fighter Base.
It’s a major step in the Navy’s journey to get the Joint Strike Fighter into carrier air wings, currently slated to happen in February 2019.
This is the first delivery of the aircraft carrier variant JSF stealth fighter not only to the base, but to the “Rough Raiders” of Strike Fighter Squadron 125. The squadron was reactivated at Lemoore on Jan. 12 to be the West Coast JSF fleet replacement squadron.
“The jets behind me represent the incredible new fifth generation capability for our future air wings, with its stealth qualities it can penetrate threat envelopes, its integrated sensor packages collect and fuse information, providing a common operational picture for the carrier strike group and joint force commanders,” Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander of Naval Air Forces told the assembled crowd at Lemoore.
LEMOORE, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2017) Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander of Naval Air Forces, speaking at the arrival of the first four JSF F-35C fighters at NAS Lemoore called the JSF “game-changing technology for naval carrier air wings.
Photo Credit: MC3 Zachary Eshleman/Navy
“This is truly game changing technology and, no kidding, what it takes to win the future high end fight,” Shoemaker said.
Still, naval aviation officials say the airframe is a critical cog in the Navy’s air wing of the future. The Navy is transitioning to include the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters and their sister aircraft, the EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft.
The high-tech wing is rounded out by the Northrop Grumman E-2D Hawkeye multi-mission surveillance aircraft and Sikorsky MH-60R/S Seahawk helicopters and then next generation of the Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft, now expected to be a variant of the Boeing V-22 Osprey.
“The initial plan is for VFA-125 and the first 7 operational F-35C squadrons to be based out of NAS Lemoore,” said Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld, spokeswoman for Naval Air Forces in San Diego.
The original plan had the Navy’s first JSF unit — the “Grim Reapers” of Strike Fighter Squadron 101, currently based at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle, to move to Lemoore this month.
Instead, the Navy opted to stand up VFA-125 at Lemoore as a separate West Coast squadron instead. Groeneveld told Navy Times that no decision has been made on any future JSF home bases, including on the East Coast.
For now, VFA-101 will stay in Eglin and also train pilots and enlisted maintainers as the service begins to transition squadrons into the new stealth jet.
“There is no plan in the foreseeable future for VFA-101 to be stood down,” Groeneveld said. “The requirement is for two FRS while we are transitioning squadrons. Both will be capable of instructing the same syllabus to include new accession pilots and transitioning aircrew.”
Navy’s leadership considers Lemoore an ideal place to train pilots and aircrews. There’s easy access to training ranges in Nevada and it’s a short hop out to carriers operating off the West Coast from San Diego as well as Washington State.
“We enjoy basically unencroached airspace in Lemoore to practice here as we do at sea,” said Capt. David James, commanding officer of NAS Lemoore.
Lemoore, is expected to add more personnel and F-35C squadrons over the coming years. In the past year, the service relocated the “Knighthawks” of Strike Fighter Squadron 136 from Naval Air Station, Oceana in Virginia to the base.
Two F-35C Lightning II stealth fighters set up for the catapult launchers as part of the aircraft’s first sea trials aboard the aircraft carrier Nimitz.