Modesto touting its new “opportunity zones”

Central Valley Business Times

April 16, 2018

  • Central Valley city now has 17 areas with designation
  • Nationally, there is $6.1 trillion in capital gains that could be invested

Companies looking to establish a new operation should look to its 17 federally-designated opportunity zones, the city of Modesto says in a new promotion. It says it has four ways to take advantage of the new zones. On April 9, the U.S. Department of Treasury certified 17 census tracts in the Modesto area as opportunity zones. Any investment purpose that stimulates economic activity in these census tracts may participate in the program, the city says. It says there are four primary groups that may be particularly interested in this recent announcement:

  • Investors that want to defer gain from a recent sale and obtain tax-free appreciation from its investment in an Opportunity Fund (O-Fund), which can reduce capital gains tax by up to 15 percent;
  • Sponsors that want to form and operate an Opportunity Fund;
  • Property owners with assets located in Opportunity Zones, and,
  • Developers and business owners that desire to start-up or expand in an Opportunity Zones

Nationally, there is $6.1 trillion in capital gains that could be invested in Opportunity Zones, which could make this effort the largest community development program in the nation’s history, Modesto says. The Treasury Department is now finalizing Opportunity Fund guidelines and rules. Interested parties can use this time to become informed about Opportunity Zones and network to develop Opportunity Zones concepts and opportunities for their communities, the city says.

The Council of Development Finance Agencies offers a comprehensive set of resources. Click here: www.cdfa.net/cdfa/cdfaweb.nsf/resourcecenters/iioa1.html

Enterprise Community Partners Inc. provides a policy overview and anticipates implementation timing. Click here: www.enterprisecommunity.org/download?fid=8856&nid=6212

http://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/4c0e8495-01e9-4972-9694-b050b89aec64.pdf

2018 Sequoia Regional Economic Summit

We are presenting a streamlined format based on feedback from previous years.  Chris Thornberg will be the primary speaker, with a few (no more than a few!) 5 minute economic updates.
 
Doors Open/Breakfast Buffet: 7:30 AM
Program Kick Off: 7:45 AM
Adjournment: 9:30 AM

Gas supplier building new facility at Port of Stockton

STOCKTON — A well-known national company that supplies industrial, specialty and medical gases announced Tuesday it will construct a new production facility at the Port of Stockton before the end of the year.

Airgas USA LLC plans on subleasing property from existing port tenant Pacific Ethanol along Navy Drive, where it will build a plant producing liquid carbon dioxide. The process involves using CO2 byproduct from Pacific Ethanol’s production facility.

The CO2 that Airgas produces will support the manufacturing of dry ice used in a variety of applications from water treatment and food chilling to freezing systems, brewing and winemaking, the company said in its statement.

Up to 30 people will be needed to operate the new Stockton facility, working in manufacturing, distribution and management, according to Airgas spokeswoman Kim Menard.

When asked about the cost of the project, Menard responded: “It is our company policy to not disclose project costs.”

She said construction is scheduled to start “soon” and the facility is expected to be up and running sometime in the second half of this year.

Once the Stockton plant is operational, the company said Airgas will have three “strategically located” plants producing CO2 throughout California.

Upon learning of the Airgas announcement, Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce President Diane Vigil said, “Any new commerce that comes to our community and generates jobs is great. I’m excited about this opportunity.”

Airgas, based in Radnor, Pennsylvania, is a subsidiary of Air Liquide that bills itself as a worldwide supplier of gases, technology and services for industry and health. Air Liquide is headquartered in Paris.

CAR: Housing sales up in state, Central Valley

By Marc Lutz

The California Realtors Association recently reported that California’s home sales were up in February this year by 5.4 over the same time last year. The Central Valley market has fared a bit better despite a lack in inventory.

According to CAR, the sales of existing, single-family detached homes in the state was at an annualized rate of 422,910 in February. That number represents what the total number of homes sold for all of 2018 if rates match what was sold in February.

“February’s solid market performance was likely fueled by rising interest rates, which motivated buyers to rush in and close escrow before rates move even higher as they’re anticipated to do in the coming months,” said Steve White, president of CAR, in a statement. “Despite losing ground in January, February’s strong sales gain more than covered the loss, resulting in a 1.1 percent increase so far this year.”

Sales of existing, single-family homes in the Central Valley were up 6.3 percent year-over-year. The San Francisco Bay Area saw the greatest gains with a 7.1 percent increase over February 2017.

Although newer homes continue to be built in the Central Valley region, industry experts have reported a lack of existing inventory, which can lead to more demand and higher prices.

“Home prices across the state continued to grow in general, especially in the Bay Area region, where seven of nine counties posted double-digit annual increases and five of nine counties surpassed their previous peak prices,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, CAR senior vice president and chief economist. “What’s more, with single family home prices rising rapidly out of reach, buyers increasingly turned to condominiums, which pushed the median price of condominiums to a new record high.”

AT $10M, BOB SMITTCAMP COMMITS COMMUNITY MEDICAL’S LARGEST CASH GIFT

Image via Clark Construction

Published On February 27, 2018 – 12:30 PM
Written By Gabriel Dillard

Business owner and philanthropist Robert E. Smittcamp has given $10 million to benefit the neuroscience department at Community Medical Centers — representing the largest single cash gift for the Fresno-based health care system, according to hospital officials.

The gift will be used toward recruiting “world class” neurosurgeons; education, training and retention efforts for department nurses and clinicians; new technological advancements and establishing the Central California Neuroscience Institute at Community Regional as a leader in neurological specialties, according to a statement from Katie Zenovich, Community Medical Centers vice president for corporate development and chief development officer.

“We are so grateful to Bob,” Zenovich said. “His leadership in philanthropy will help us do much more to save and improve lives for decades to come.”

Combined with a 2016 gift to Community Medical Centers, the Smittcamp Family Foundation has contributed more than $11 million to the neuroscience program.

The first son of Earl and Muriel Smittcamp, founders of Wawona Frozen Foods, Robert — known around town as Bob — serves as chairman and CEO of food ingredient company Lyons Magnus.

A message Tuesday morning seeking comment from Smittcamp was not returned.

Community Medical Centers released the following statement from Smittcamp:

“We are impressed with the ambitious vision and leadership of Community Medical Centers and their rapid growth over the last decade,” Smittcamp said. “However, additional growth and recruitment of world-class neurosurgeons is still required to ensure the success of this service line. I am hoping this new gift will accelerate the hospital’s plans in this critical service area that affects so many Valley families.”

“I’ve become knowledgeable about Community Medical Centers over the past decade and concluded that it’s the charity where I can make the biggest difference, for the most people, for the greatest number of years,” Smittcamp added. “This is the Valley’s main hospital system, and I hope many others will join me in helping to grow its capabilities.”

Community Regional Medical Center’s Downtown Fresno campus is the home of the Central California Neuroscience Institute.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/10m-bob-smittcamp-commits-community-medicals-largest-cash-gift/

Report: Central Valley home prices up year-over-year

 Marc Lutz

 

A recent report has shown home prices throughout the Central Valley to be up over the same time last year, but those prices might be coming down.

In its December 2017 data report, CoreLogic, an analytics and data provider, stated that home prices nationally were up 6.6 percent in December over the same time in 2016.

Locally, home prices in Stockton-Lodi and Modesto were also up. In Stockton-Lodi, prices increased by 7.8 percent year-over-year. In Modesto, prices were up 9.1 percent year-over-year. Those prices include distressed sales.

From November 2017 to December 2017, prices increased by 0.5 percent in Stockton-Lodi and decreased 0.4 percent in Modesto.

“Home prices continue to rise as a result of aggressive monetary policy, the economic and jobs recovery and a lack of housing stock. The largest price gains during 2017 were in five Western states: California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Washington,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic in a press release. “As home prices and the cost of originating loans rise, affordability continues to erode, making it more challenging for both first-time buyers and moderate-income families to buy. At this point, we estimate that more than one-third of the 100 largest metropolitan areas are overvalued.”

Thirty-five percent of the metropolitan areas with the overvalued housing markets have prices that are 10 percent above a long-run sustainable level, CoreLogic reports.

“The number of homes for sale has remained very low,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Job growth lowered the unemployment rate to 4.1 percent by year’s end, the lowest level in 17 years. Rising income and consumer confidence has increased the number of prospective homebuyers. The net result of rising demand and limited for-sale inventory is a continued appreciation in home prices.”

Report: Central Valley home prices up year-over-year

Taking a look at top trends in Central Valley tech for 2018

Phillip Lan

 

Twenty-seventeen has proven to be yet another exciting year in technology.

We’ve seen Google’s artificial intelligence create its own ‘AI child,’ which outperforms those created by humans, growth of blockchain, rapid advancements in quantum computing, flying cars and expanded use of the precise gene editing technique CRISPR/Cas-9.

Scientists are even beginning to develop potential roadmaps to reverse aging.

As we close out the year and look forward to 2018, let’s take a moment to see which upcoming technology trends will be the most impactful for the Central Valley.
On a side note, isn’t it interesting that as collective human knowledge grows exponentially, individual humans appear to be less capable? Some of us are losing the ability to read maps, spell correctly and do arithmetic in our heads. As voice-enabled smart devices evolve into wearables and then implantables, some people may find literacy to be unnecessary in a few years.

Back to 2018 tech trends.

Safe-driving vehicles, not self-driving vehicles
Despite all the attention that Tesla and the GM/Cruise Automation combo have been getting, Level 5 fully-autonomous vehicles are still several years away. 2018, however, will see the launch of collision avoidance, automatic braking and lane monitoring technologies from most major vehicle manufacturers.

Besides saving lives and reducing injuries, the elimination of fender-benders will eventually drastically lower our auto insurance premiums. Delivery fleets are now testing these same features, and semi-trucks may well be the application that pushes the pace for adoption of fully autonomous vehicles in the Central Valley.

Agtech hits its stride
Agriculture and construction are two of the last large industries yet to be disrupted by advanced software. Progress has been slow in these sectors, but momentum is now accelerating in agtech. John Deere’s $305 million acquisition of Blue River Technologies has lit a fire under venture firms to investigate opportunities and make investments in this space. We are still a few years away from viable protein reactors that literally produce food out of thin air or lab-grown meat (our grandkids will surely find it barbaric that we had to actually kill animals for meat), but many agtech companies are already being funded to improve yields and reduce pesticide use through intelligent software.

Ceres Imaging (ceresimaging.net), an Oakland-based VC-funded company is led by agricultural and technology professionals including agronomists, hydrologists, and remote sensing experts. The company’s products, which include agronomic insights through aerial spectral imagery, proprietary sensors and analytics, and artificial intelligence software is already being used to help local almond farmers optimize nut harvests and profits.

Local software and digital marketing talent expands 
The next generation of agtech won’t drive productivity gains solely from mechanization as in the past. Instead this new generation will leverage state-of-the-art machine learning and artificial intelligence software. Fortunately, as I mentioned in a previous column, Stanislaus County has established itself as a software development hub, with local companies employing over 1,000 programmers. Several initiatives will further accelerate growth of the county’s software talent pool and even expand it into the Stockton area.

  • Valley Hackathon (valleyhackathon.com) a fast-growing programming contest that highlights local programmers continues to expand and draw coders into the tech community. The next event will be held at Modesto’s ValleyWorx (valleyworx.com) tech and digital design co-working space on January 26 and 27.
  • ValleyWorx now hosts a rapidly expanding coding meetup every Wednesday from 3-8 p.m. The collaboration with Free Code Camp is providing an easy entry point for developers to accelerate their growth.
  • Bay Valley Tech’s (bayvalleytech.com) coding camps and advanced software development classes taught by professional programmers will also grow the local talent pool.
  • In 2018, Bay Valley Foundation (bayvalleyfoundation.com) will begin raising money for a technology scholarship fund to provide tuition assistance to Central Valley students seeking careers in software development.
  • The Entrepreneur Lab, based in downtown Stockton’s Huddle co-working space, is a 21-week, intensive incubation program which cultivates high-growth startups.

In addition to software, the Central Valley’s digital design and marketing capabilities are also expanding rapidly.

Final Cut Media (finalcutmedia.com) saw their business and headcount triple in the last year alone. As experts in marketing strategy, design and digital video creation, they help leading brands such as Bay Area-based Fit Republic Health Clubs successfully plan and execute integrated, digital-focused marketing campaigns. Final Cut is also a trusted advisor to large organizations like Stanislaus County, developing digital/social communications strategies for their human resources and recruiting teams.

Mike Daniel, Partner and Chief Marketing Officer at Final Cut, advises companies to build a solid digital content/distribution strategy and then leverage data to create an effective lead funnel. Final Cut’s success is further driving rapid tech and digital marketing growth in the Valley.

Expanding Bay Area companies bring more high-paying tech jobs
Bay Area technology firms winning in the global marketplace have created tremendous wealth in the form of profits, salaries and stock options. The resulting competition for tech workers and housing have raised salaries but diminished affordable housing in the San Francisco/San Jose region.

Some communities now require an annual income of $218,000 to qualify for a median-priced home.

Tech firms looking for relief have traditionally expanded out of state to destinations such as Denver, Austin and Seattle. The recent surge in Central Valley software talent, however, is beginning to catch the attention of Bay Area companies.

The Modesto/Stockton area now has both affordable housing and tech talent, making the region an attractive option for Bay Area companies who want to keep satellite offices closer to home.

American Medical Response, Novo Technologies and Oportun have all been expanding and hiring software professionals in their Modesto offices. Recently, Varsity Technologies (varsitytechnologies.com), a San Francisco-based company providing outsourced IT services to organizations that want to make a difference (non-profits, schools and healthcare organizations) opened a second office in Modesto within the ValleyWorx tech co-working space.

Local businesses and techies are thrilled to have Varsity bring their expertise and jobs to our community and are confident more Bay Area companies will see the value of investing in our region and our people in 2018.

Gallo in top 100 of ‘Best Places to Work’ for 2018

December 6, 2017

 

E&J Gallo Winery of Modesto was chosen as one of the best places to work in a recent survey.

The winery, founded in 1933, was ranked 14 out of 100 of the “Best Places to Work in 2018” by Glassdoor, a job recruitment company. In 2016, Gallo was ranked 47 out of 50.

Current and former employees give their input about their experience in the workplace, which Glassdoor then compiles. Gallo will be honored with the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award.

“Our employees continue to be our greatest asset. I am proud of our strong company culture and the commitment of our employees who make Gallo a great place to work,” said Joseph Gallo, president and CEO of E&J Gallo Winery, in a statement. “We are deeply appreciative that our employees and Glassdoor have recognized Gallo as a great employer.”

Gallo is the largest family-owned winery in the world, according to the company, and produces brands such as Barefoot Cellars, Dark Horse, Apothic, Carnivor MacMurray Estate Vineyards and many more. Outside of wine, Gallo creates and markets vodka, gin, brandy and whisky.

“We know today’s job seekers are more informed than ever about where they go to work, researching everything from company culture to career opportunities to pay philosophy and more,” said Robert Hohman, CEO of Glassdoor. “Employers where employees love to work continue to prove that they have a recruiting and business performance advantage.”

Gallo in top 100 of ‘Best Places to Work’ for 2018

 

Essendant Claims 405K SF in Shafter

November 30, 2017

Wonderful Real Estate signed a build-to-suit lease with Essendant Co. for a 405,299-square-foot industrial building at Wonderful Industrial Park (WIP) in Shafter, CA. The leading wholesale distributor of business products, will use this facility for local and regional fulfilment, e-commerce and distribution, with move-in scheduled for the second quarter of 2018.

Wonderful Real Estate’s Joe Vargas says, “Essendant completed a thorough evaluation of the Central Valley and selected WIP for its favorable business and community environment, close proximity of qualified labor and a reliable developer/owner with successful track record on deliveries.”

JLL’s Mike McCrary, Peter McWilliams and Mac Hewett are leading the leasing efforts at Wonderful Industrial Park, a 1,625-acre rail served, master-planned, entitled industrial development able to accommodate requirements ranging from 100,000 to two million square feet.

https://www.connect.media/essendant-claims-405k-sf-shafter/?utm_source=mlCalifornia&utm_campaign=mlCalifornia-2017-11-30_19:01-Cyber_Monday_Sales_Hit_3_4B_Top_U_S_Online_Spending_Day_in_History&utm_medium=email&utm_term=news%20inland-empire%20development%20industrial&utm_content=Cyber_Monday_Sales_Hit_3_4B_Top_U_S_Online_Spending_Day_in_History&pid=da2c2d2e-f8de-4f30-8fdc-744ec90994ec

$30 million, 115-home development set for Tulare

TULARE
November 30, 2017 6:36am

 

•  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.

http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=33722