It might take five years, it might take a decade, but Kern County is apparently getting a Hard Rock Cafe-branded hotel and casino.
At least that’s the hope of the Tejon Tribe of Kern County, which announced an agreement this week with Hard Rock International, the global hospitality company known for its rock ‘n’ roll-themed restaurants. Hard Rock has agreed to develop and manage a $600 million, 400-room hotel and casino that the tribe has proposed on farmland just west of Highway 99, half an hour south of Bakersfield.
Sandra Hernandez, a council member with the Tejon Tribe, joined The Californian’s Robert Price Wednesday on his weekly “One on One” noon webcast to talk about the Tejon Tribe and its vision for the hotel-casino.
Among the topics they discussed:
• The tribe is considering the possibility of building administrative offices, a health-care facility and housing near the hotel-casino, which will occupy 52 acres of the 306-acre parcel the tribe owns near Mettler.
• The hotel-casino would employ 2,000 people — more than twice the number of known Tejon tribal members. There’s no such thing as a hiring advantage for tribal members, however. “We’re an equal opportunity employer,” Hernandez said.
• Hernandez said she expects to maintain good relations and mutual support among the management of the Tejon’s Hard Rock casino and those of the Eagle Mountain and Tachi Palace gaming casinos in adjacent Tulare and Kings counties, respectively.
The school would likely need $500 million to get started.
Friday, June 7, 2019 6:29PM
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Creating a medical school in the Valley brought dozens of leaders to UCSF Fresno.
“The San Joaquin Valley has roughly 150 doctors per 100,000 residents. In contrast, San Francisco has 411 per 100,000 residents. You can see the dramatic difference that exists. This is one of the most underserved medical regions in the country,” said Assemblymember Adam Gray.
Gray helped lead the first San Joaquin Valley Coalition for Medical Education. He’s currently working on AB 1606 to help fund the school by not allowing people to write off their gambling losses on their taxes and using that fund.
The school would likely need $500 million to get started.
At Friday’s meeting leaders spoke about combining facilities and programs to jumpstart the school.
UCSF Fresno and UC Merced would combine forces to educate students.
“Getting a medical school started is extremely complicated there are a lot of regulatory barriers, political challenges and funding challenges. We’re excited to be partnering with UCSF, the Fresno office on a path to solving those problems,” said Gregg Camfield, UC Merced Executive Vice Chancellor.
UC Merced is working to create programs for the next generation.
“You name it, every kind of health professional is needed in the Valley and we’re committed to helping to produce that workforce,” said Camfield.
More than 300 doctors are currently training in the Valley through UCSF Fresno.
“Helping to develop students from the region who come from in those underrepresented areas in medicine will allow us to put people out into the community to provide care” Michael Peterson, UCSF Fresno Associate Dean.
Keeping the community healthy with a strong workforce of health professionals
“Lawmakers, University officials and leaders hope to the ideas from this meeting and to build more partnerships and find more funding. The San Joaquin Calley Coalition for medical education plans to meet later this year.
21 percent of employers nationwide plan to add employees
Two Central Valley metros are topping that
In the third quarter of 2019, 27 percent of U.S. employers expect to increase payrolls, 3 percent anticipate a decrease and 69 percent expect no change.
Once the data is adjusted to allow for seasonal variation, the national Net Employment Outlook for the U.S. stands at +21 percent, the strongest reported in 13 years.
Hiring intentions are 2 percentage points stronger when compared with the previous quarter, and improve by 3 percentage points in comparison with this time one year ago.
Employers in 28 percent of businesses surveyed in the West expect workforce gains during the coming quarter, while 3 percent anticipate a decrease and 68 percent expect no change. The resulting Net Employment Outlook stands at +25 percent. Once the data is adjusted to allow for seasonal variation, hiring plans for the region are the strongest reported in more than 11 years. Employers report a slight quarter-over-quarter improvement in the Outlook, and a moderate increase when compared with this time one year ago.
In three of the West’s industry sectors, employers report moderately stronger hiring intentions for Quarter 3 2019 when compared with the previous quarter: information, professional & business services and transportation & utilities. Slightly stronger hiring prospects are reported in four of the region’s industry sectors: financial activities, government, leisure & hospitality and nondurable goods manufacturing.
Education & health services sector employers in the West report a relatively stable labor market in a comparison with the second quarter of 2019, Manpower says.
During the next three months, job seekers in the West’s durable goods manufacturing and other services sectors can expect moderately weaker hiring activity when compared with the previous quarter, according to employers. Employers in the region’s construction and wholesale & retail trade sectors report slightly weaker hiring plans.
Manpower says 31 percent of employers in the Sacramento metropolitan area expect a net employment increase in the third quarter, one of the strongest performances in the nation.
More than one out of four (26 percent) of employers in the Stockton metro expect a net employment increase in Q 3, on par with Boston, Columbus, Omaha, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C.
Twenty percent of Bakersfield employers told Manpower that they plan to increase their workforces in the third quarter and 19 percent of those in the Fresno MSA said the same.
Employers in the Midwest report the strongest hiring prospects in 18 years, with Manpower’s outlook improving by 2 percentage points in comparison with Quarter 2 2019.
In the Northeast, hiring plans are 1 percentage point stronger when compared with the previous quarter and the outlook reported in the South is unchanged. The strongest regional hiring pace is expected in the West, where the outlook is +22 percent. Midwest employers report an outlook of +21 percent, and outlooks stand at +20 percent and +19 percent in the South and the Northeast, respectively.
In a comparison with the second quarter of 2019, hiring prospects are slightly stronger in the West and the Midwest, says Manpower. Northeast employers report relatively stable hiring plans, and the outlook for the South is unchanged. When compared with this time one year ago, employers in the West report moderately stronger hiring intentions. Slight year-over-year improvements are reported in the Midwest and the Northeast, while employers in the South report relatively stable hiring plans.
The Home2 Suites just west of Coffee Road on the north side of the Westside Parkway south of Brimhall Road hotel is under construction.
Alex Horvath / The Californian
Expectations that Bakersfield’s economy is on the rise have created the city’s biggest hotel boom since the Great Recession.
Half a dozen hotels with a combined 658 rooms are proposed or under construction, all on the city’s west side and many of them extended-stay properties geared toward business travelers. Some of the incoming brands are entirely new to the city.
Hoteliers say the rush of private investment is being driven in part by other local projects, such as the Amazon distribution center under construction near Meadows Field Airport. There’s also a sense the city’s relatively low housing and labor costs have created an incentive to build while the savings last.
Conditions in Bakersfield’s hotel market have improved significantly during the past decade — the city’s occupancy rate is up more than six points, average room rates have increased 25 percent and Bakersfield’s hotel room inventory is up 12 percent, according to hotel data tracker STR.
Those numbers alone don’t explain the construction seen in the market lately, said Francois Khoury, general manager of the DoubleTree by Hilton Bakersfield, which is finishing up more than $15 million of renovations that began in April of last year.
He said a bigger factor in the recent investment is anticipation that oil prices are on the way up and that now’s the time to prepare for good times ahead in the local economy.
“Everybody wants to be ready,” he said.
AFFORDABILITY AND GROWTH
Jenny Hlaudy, general manager of The Courtyard by Marriott, sees affordability as bringing investor attention to the Bakersfield market. Land is inexpensive locally, she said, and so are housing costs.
At the same time, the area’s overall growth, combined with large construction projects going on around town, are helping not just hotels but also local restaurants and stores. She said the net effect is a desirable place to build new lodging.
“It’s huge,” she said of the hotel boom. “We haven’t had that much growth, as far as hotels, in many years. … It’s going to truly impact this city.”
One of the new hotels coming online later this year is a 113-room Home2 Suites by Hilton west of Coffee Road near Brimhall Road. Director of Sales Denise Connor said a large housing-residential-retail project proposed nearby, the Bakersfield Commons proposal, is probably one reason why the hotel is being built.
“With the Bakersfield Commons coming in, that is going to bring in potential new growth,” Connor said. She added that new roads projects and the Amazon center are further positive signs that could lead to business for the hotel.
David Lyman, manager of Visit Bakersfield, the city’s convention and visitors bureau credited an increase in local events for recent hotel investments, as well as travelers stopping overnight on their way to national parks to the north and south.
Whatever the reason, Bakersfield’s hotel tax — a 12 percent addition to the cost of a room — is now bringing in more money than it ever has. This fiscal year alone the tax is projected to raise $9.7 million for the city’s general fund.
Add that to the money visitors spend on meals and supplies, he said, and the local hospitality industry becomes an economic force that is growing fast.
“These projects create and retain jobs, not just the people who work in the hotels and restaurants,” he said. “We all like to keep that money flowing locally.”
BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — A huge rockin’ establishment will soon be calling Kern County home.
The Tejon Indian tribe in partnership with Hard Rock International have announced today that the two organizations are bringing a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino right here in our community.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon will be developed right here on over 300 acres of land, which is located just off highway 99 near the Mettler exIt.
Just about 20 minutes south of Bakersfield will soon be called home to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tejon.
Scott Nielson, managing member developer, of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon says that the casino is projected to bring in more than 3,000 jobs and 1,000 of those will be for construction.
The projected cost to build the casino is around $600 million and an environmental report still must be done before construction can begin.
“Hard Rock’s interest in this area is because it believes that the Bakersfield and Kern County area Is underserved for this kind of entertainment,” said Nielson. “We believe that at this location we can build the type of facility and we project that it will attract people from all over California.”
The casino and hotel will sit on more than 300 acres of land located off Highway 99 and Highway 166. It will include a 22 acre RV park, 400 hotel rooms, a Rock Spa and Fitness center, resort pool and a convention center with an entertainment venue. 52 of those acres will be used for the actual structure of the hotel and casino.
The rest of the acres will be utilized for other usage the Tejon tribe will decide on at a later time.
“There will be a very large entertainment venue and meeting space which will be the largest in Kern County,” Nielson said. “Which will allow Kern County to hold events and functions that it isn’t currently able to host.”
The announcement came down on Tuesday as a partnership with the Tejon Indian Tribe and Hard Rock international. The Tejon tribe will own the casino but controlled by Hard Rock.
“We are in the process of moving forward and hope to conclude that process in a year. It would then take 18 to 24 months to complete the development and the construction of this project,” Nielson said.
The two companies have been working closely with the county, who tells 23ABC they are very excited about the partnership. The county says that the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is going to have a great impact on Kern’s economy.
“This is another company that is coming along and seeing the value that Kern County offers,” said Megan Person, director of countywide communications.
“We have had Amazon, Loreal, now we have the Hard Rock. Obviously Kern County has something to offer these big businesses.”
Person says the sheriff and fire department will be responsible for responding to the area and the casino will build additional infrastructure to support their needs.
“Because they will require fire and sheriff services this isn’t formalized yet, but they will build a facility or station to help man the area,” Person said.
Officials added that it’s still unclear how much the county could benefit financially from this project.
“The county won’t be able to tax the tribe, because it’s a government in of itself and a government can’t tax another government,” Nielson said. “The tribe will enter into an agreement where they will pay the county as if they were being tax”
The actual date of groundbreaking here for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino has not been finalized yet, but 23ABC is told the doors won’t open until a few more years.
Something new under the Valley sun: Marketing a table grape
• Delano growers start marketing what they say is a new table grape
• Tie marketing to pro basketball
Two families of grape growers in the Central Valley have partnered with the National Basketball Association to
introduce consumers to what they say is a new variety of table grapes.
The Campbell and Middleton families, owners of Blanc Vineyards in Bakersfield, have entered the company into a
multi-year licensing deal with the NBA that will see official league and team logos on packaging for its newest
varieties, including the “Pristine,” at supermarkets and in big box stores nationwide starting this month.
The Pristine, a large, crispy, green seedless grape, is the flagship proprietary variety grape of Blanc Vineyards. The
growers claim it is the best green variety globally. It’s the result of more than 20 years of cultivation, they say.
Sounding more like wine tasters, the growers say the grape “has a crisp snappy texture coupled with a taste that
starts off with a sweet vanilla streak and ends with a zesty Granny Smith apple finish.”
They are grown to retain firmness and fresh taste well after harvest. “Green grapes are natural, healthy snack food. To most
consumers, they’re all the same, but they’re really not, which is why we believe the NBA partnership makes
sense,” says Jack Campbell, co-owner of Blanc Vineyards. “The NBA does an unbelievable job ofhighlighting their athletes, and we are applying the same strategy to the grape industry.”
He says the growers thing that by putting consumers’ favorite sport- or team-logo on our packaging, they will be
able to instantly differentiate their products with a familiar and trusted name. “That gives us a huge advantage at
points of purchase and again for return sales,” Mr. Campbell says.
The NBA licensing agreement isn’t the first for the Campbells. Since 2015 the family has entered into licensing agreements with a variety of firms such as the Walt Disney Company to reach new customers.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture grapes represent a $6 billion crop in the U.S. with more than
seven million tons produced each year between 2015 and 2018, mostly in California. Blanc Vineyards is a joint venture between Four Star Fruit
Inc. and Delano Farms Inc. that began in 2010 in Delano, after growing grapes in Kern County for decades. This partnership gives both companies exclusive rights to grow and distribute Pristine variety grapes. The companies sell grapes from May to January and ship a combined 20 million boxes annually.
An Israeli company has announced that it will bring 25 new jobs to Oildale. On Monday, the company, Hadco Metal Trading Co., hosted a groundbreaking for a 250,000 square foot logistics center planned to be located near Meadows Field Airport.
“Kern’s thriving logistics and transportation industry is attracting international and national attention to our area,” Supervisor Mike Maggard said in a statement on Thursday. “Kern County and our private sector partners will continue to build upon this excellent news of providing jobs and economic growth.”
Hadco said in a release that it would invest $25 million in the new center, which will be used to distribute metal products to customers located throughout California and the surrounding regions.
“Hadco intends to make further investments in order to further expand the capacity of the plant and increase hiring,” the company said in a news release.
The company currently operates five logistics centers throughout the United States, employing about 150 Americans.
Hadco services machine shops, fabricators and equipment manufacturers. Its main hub is located in the Philadelphia region.
It is unclear what kind of jobs will be available at the new center, or what the timeline is for construction.
The company expects to receive four-to-five trucks carrying materials from suppliers at its Bakersfield facility, and send two to three trucks loaded with materials out each night to transfer stations and customers north and south of the city.
The logistics center will be located in the vicinity of the new Amazon facility currently under construction that is expected to bring 2,000 jobs to the county.
The empty Orchard Supply Hardware, Toys R Us and Babies R Us sites in Modesto and Turlock, CA all have been sold or leased. OSH sites on Oakdale Road in Modesto and Turlock will become Ace Hardwares. BY MARIJKE ROWLAND
Those big empty Orchard Supply Hardware, Toys R Us and Babies R Us buildings dotting Stanislaus County might not be empty much longer.
In April it was announced the owners of Strand Ace Hardware in Escalon were going to take over the former OSH site on Oakdale Road. Work continues on that site, with a planned opening at the end of June. Now another new Ace Hardware is slated to take over the former OSH site on Geer Road in Turlock. A banner went up on the building last month with a planned late summer opening.
Modesto’s second former Orchard site, on Sisk Road, was sold earlier this year to Mad Monk Holdings, LLC, whose Berkeley-based owner also operates Rasputin Music & Movies. The next-door Toys R Us building was sold as well earlier this year, to the Miami-based commercial real estate investment firm Corbin Holdings.
A little further north on Sisk Road, the former Babies R Us site remains vacant, but plans are still moving forward for Rasputin Music & Movies, which currently has a shop on Dale Road, to relocate to the space. The new store will be a combined Rasputin and an Anastasia New & Vintage Clothingstore, both associated with Mad Monk Holdings, LLC.
Strand Ace Vice President Dirk Swanson, whose family has run the Escalon hardware store since 1975, said they hope to open in about three weeks, with a grand opening celebration planned for the last week of June. Staff has been working at the site daily — rearranging, organizing and stocking inventory. The 44,000-square-foot building is a significant step up from the company’s existing 28,000-square-foot store, which will remain open when the new one debuts.
Swanson said the company has been hiring the 50 to 60 positions needed to staff the new store. There are still a number of positions available and job-seekers should go to the Strand Ace websiteto apply. They’ve already hired a handful of former OSH employees for the new Modesto store as well.
The space, in the same complex as a Michael’s and Big Lots, has been stripped down to the studs inside. A spokesman for Mentzer PR Group, which is representing Ace Hardware, said a soft opening is planned for late summer. The new store will be owned and operated by a a subsidiary of Ace Hardware Corporation.
The Illinois-based hardware company has more than 5,200 hardware stores in about 70 countries. Ace stores have been filling empty Orchard Supply buildings up and down California, including recent stores in Fresno and Thousand Oaks.
The other former OSH building in Modesto on Sisk Road remains empty and boarded up. According to county property records, the building was purchased by Mad Monk Holdings in February. The holding company is run by Berkeley entrepreneur Ken Sarachan, who operates the new and used music/movies chain Rasputin and new and used clothing store Anastasia. He also owns several buildings along Berkeley’s famed Telegraph Avenue.
Sarachan purchased both the old Babies R Us space and OSH store on Sisk Road this year. In February it was announced that the Modesto Rasputin store, which has been located two doors down from Trader Joe’s on Dale Road since it opened 2014, would move to the empty Babies R Us site. The new space will be a merged Rasputin and Anastasia store. At the time representatives had hoped to make the move this spring, but the company has gone through restructuring since. Rasputin stores in Stockton, Fairfield and Newark have closed.
Modesto store manager Ryan Hewitt said while the move to the new space is still planned, there is no set date yet. He said staff have been clearing out the old Babies R Us store, which was owned by now-defunct parent company Toys R Us, and still had fixtures and other furniture inside. They plan to hire more employees to staff the new site, and are looking for clothing buyers in particular. Interested parties should email email@example.com.
Hewitt said the company has not announced what it plans to do with the Sisk Road Orchard Supply site yet. But for the time being, it has been used to store items from the closed Rasputin locations and other sites.
Next door to the old Orchard Supply on Sisk Road, the Toys R Us building also remains vacant. But it too was purchased earlier this year by an outside buyer.
Corbin Holdings picked up the property in late December 2018. The privately held Miami real estate investment firm has purchased a string of old Toys R Us/Babies R Us buildings in California, Iowa, Connecticut, Virginia, Florida and Louisiana. The company website touts the purchase of the approximately 46,000 square-foot building in Modesto just of Highway 99 for its high-traffic location between Vintage Faire Mall and the nearby Walmart and Kohl’s stores.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Bitwise 41 in Downtown Fresno is taking shape. Offices are getting closer and closer to completion in the building formerly known as the Old Spaghetti Factory.
“We are inside, so the glass is in, lights are up, doors are on, windows are set and you can tell it is starting to look like a finished building which is super exciting,” said Channelle Charest with Bitwise.
The new building is adding to Bitwise Industries growing footprint in Fresno. They have four campuses total and two of them are currently under construction including Bitwise 41 on Ventura and R street. It’s located just steps away from the Hive and State Center Warehouse.
“Accessibility is key, anyone can get here, it is super easy to see right off the freeway and it is a historical building in Fresno,” said Charest.
Business FresYes reality has already announced they’re moving in along with 150 agents, they’re taking up the entire second floor. They’re not the only ones, Express Employment Professionals is also calling the building home and, More tenants are on the way. Bitwise is staying tight-lipped but is dropping some hints.
“It will be a mix of our base tech tenants which is great,” she said. “They will be focusing on education and also expanding our startup community in Fresno as well.”
In addition, they’ll also have others moving in that will support their current occupant base. Bitwise 41 is scheduled to open August 1st of this year.