Category: Commercial

T-MOBILE MERGER OK DIALS UP GOOD NEWS FOR KINGSBURG

Regulatory approval of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger clears the way for a 1,000-job call center for Kingsburg. Image via Kingsburg’s economic overview document, photo by Mike Miller with Guarantee Real Estate

Published On July 26, 2019 – 12:41 PM
Written By By TALI ARBEL And MARCY GORDON Associated Press

U.S. regulators have approved T-Mobile’s $26.5 billion takeover of rival Sprint, despite fears of higher prices and job cuts, in a deal that would leave just three major cellphone companies in the country.

The news also marks a pivotal step for a planned T-Mobile “Customer Experience Center” in Kingsburg that would create more than 1,000 new jobs and contribute $105 million to the local economy.

T-Mobile made it clear that the proposed call center’s future hinged on regulatory approval of the merger. The telecom giant also announced similar call centers would be built in Overland Park, Kansas, and Henrietta, New York, if the merger were approved. Adding the expansion of existing call centers, T-Mobile promised the creation of more than 5,000 new jobs by 2021.

The “New T-Mobile” promises to become one of the largest employers in Fresno County, with employees earning wages more than 50% of average for the region.

It’s also a feather in the economic development cap of Kingsburg, which has seen more than 25 news businesses open in the last two years.

“The Kingsburg area in Fresno County is already home to a tremendous amount of innovation, diverse talent and great energy, which makes it a perfect fit for the New T-Mobile!” said T-Mobile and New T-Mobile President Mike Sievert, in a statement from April. “Our new CECs will allow the New T-Mobile to expand the personalized service we give our amazing customers every single day as we continue to grow. We can’t wait to be a partner in the revitalized Central Valley.”

According to a Kingsburg economic overview document posted on the city website last week, the city has a number of active business incentive programs. These include development impact fee discounts as well as rebates for property and sales taxes. No specific site has been identified for the call center, so it’s not known what, if any, incentives T-Mobile might receive for the development project.

Friday’s approval from the Justice Department and five state attorneys general comes after Sprint and T-Mobile agreed to conditions that would set up satellite-TV provider Dish as a smaller rival to Verizon, AT&T and the combined T-Mobile-Sprint company. The Justice Department’s antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, said the conditions set up Dish “as a disruptive force in wireless.”

But attorneys general from other states and public-interest advocates say that Dish is hardly a replacement for Sprint as a stand-alone company and that the conditions fail to address the competitive harm the deal causes.

“By signing off on this merger, the Justice Department has done nothing to remedy the short- and long-term harms the loss of an independent Sprint will create for U.S. wireless users,” Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner said.

A federal judge still must sign off on the approval, as it includes conditions for the new company. The Federal Communications Commission is also expected to give the takeover its blessing.

Dish is paying $5 billion for Sprint’s prepaid cellphone brands including Boost and Virgin Mobile — some 9 million customers — and some spectrum, or airwaves for wireless service, from the two companies. Dish will also be able to rent T-Mobile’s network for seven years while it builds its own.

Dish on Friday promised the FCC that it would build a nationwide network using next-generation “5G” technology by June 2023. But Dish is promising speeds that are only slightly higher than what’s typical today, even though 5G promises the potential for blazing speeds.

The Trump administration has not been consistent in its approach to media and telecom mergers. While the government went to court to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner and then lost, the Justice Department allowed Disney to buy much of 21st Century Fox, a direct competitor, with only minor asset sales to get the deal done. Mergers between direct competitors have historically had a higher bar to clear at the Justice Department.

Sprint and T-Mobile combined would now approach the size of Verizon and AT&T. The companies have argued that bulking up will mean a better next-generation “5G” wireless network than they could make on their own. Sprint and T-Mobile have argued for over a year that having one big company to challenge AT&T and Verizon, rather than two smaller companies, will be better for U.S. consumers.

The two companies tried to combine during the Obama administration but regulators rebuffed them. They resumed talks on combining once President Donald Trump took office, hoping for more industry-friendly regulators. The companies appealed to Trump’s desire for the U.S. to “win” a global 5G race with China as this faster, more reliable wireless is rolled out and applications are built for it. They have been arguing their case for more than a year.

Meanwhile, the FCC agreed in May to back the deal after T-Mobile promised to build out rural broadband and 5G, sell its Boost prepaid brand and keep prices on hold for three years.

But public-interest advocates complained that the FCC conditions did not address the problems of the merger — higher prices, less wireless competition — and would be difficult for regulators to enforce.

Attorneys general from 13 states and the District of Columbia have filed a lawsuit to block the deal . They say the promised benefits, such as better networks in rural areas and faster service overall, cannot be verified. They also worry that eliminating a major wireless company will immediately harm consumers by reducing g competition and driving up prices for cellphone service.

They are not likely to be satisfied by Friday’s settlement. None of the states involved in the suit were part of it. “We have serious concerns that cobbling together this new fourth mobile player, with the government picking winners and losers, will not address the merger’s harm to consumers, workers, and innovation,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

Dish is largely a company with a declining satellite-TV business. It has no wireless business, but over the past decade it has spent more than $21 billion accumulating a large stock of spectrum for wireless service. The wireless industry has long been skeptical of Dish’s ambitions to actually build a wireless service, instead speculating that the company wanted to make money by selling its holdings to other companies.

Recon Analytics founder Roger Entner, a longtime telecom analyst, said in an interview before the Justice Department’s announcement — many terms had been leaked to the press beforehand — that the settlement was good for the incumbent wireless companies, as a weak competitor in Sprint is being replaced by an even weaker one in Dish.

Sprint, the current No. 4 wireless provider, has thousands of stores and other distribution points as well as a cellular network. Dish has none of that, although the settlement gives it the option of taking over some stores and cell sites that T-Mobile ditches over the next five years. Creating and maintaining a retail operation and network cost tens of billions of dollars, Entner said. He doubts that Dish could do that alone, as its core business is in deep decline, or that Dish could find a wealthier company to help it do so.

But New Street Research analysts say Dish could build a lower-cost network and provide cheaper plans for customers. Still, that could take years.

George Slover, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports, also said in an interview earlier that the current structure of four competing providers works. He said it’s not the same to diminish that while enabling a competitor that doesn’t currently have the infrastructure. “Dish might become a competing network at some point but it’s not there now.”

Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank owns Sprint, while Germany’s Deutsche Telekom owns T-Mobile. SoftBank will continue to own 27 percent of the new, bigger T-Mobile and will keep some influence, but it will not control the company.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/t-mobile-merger-ok-dials-up-good-news-for-kingsburg/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=97dc7bf6e4-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_07_26_07_42&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-97dc7bf6e4-78934409&mc_cid=97dc7bf6e4&mc_eid=a126ded657

$30 million boutique hotel planned for Three Rivers

It was standing room only at the Three Rivers Memorial Building on Wednesday evening, as more than 100 locals turned out to discuss the future of the small foothill community during a town hall meeting.

Much of the debate centered on a proposed 200-room, $30 million “luxury lodge” off Highway 198 and Old Three Rivers Road.

District 1 Supervisor Kuyler Crocker said the town hall meeting was intended to educate residents and hear their concerns.

“We are much closer to the starting line than the finish line here,” Crocker said of the proposed hotel. “Now is the opportunity to learn and give feedback.”

Dubbed Sequoia Resort and Spa in preliminary site plans, the boutique hotel would feature striking, earthen architecture and offer guests an experience directly inspired by the backdrop of Sequoia National Park.

Because the land is already zoned for hotel construction and abides by the Three River Community Plan, principal partner Guatam Patel could legally begin construction without public hearing.

However, Patel told the packed room he is committed to incorporating community feedback into the project’s design, having already sunk 2.5 years and more than $500,000 into finding an appropriate site.

“We are committed to having a local flair to this. That’s where modern hotel design is going,” he said. “Guests don’t want to sit trapped in their room for three nights. They want to go out and experience the local spots.”

The flair will cost you: Rooms at the resort are expected to run at least $300 a night, Patel said.

That was great news to at least one Three Rivers hotelier, who offers a comparatively humbler — and affordable — stay at the Sequoia Motel a mile up the road from the proposed resort.

“It’s not going to compete with us,” said Chris Schlossin, who opened the 12-room motel 23 years ago. “Three Rivers doesn’t have anything of that caliber. It would be a little glowing star on the map.”

Competition

For Schlossin, Airbnb is a much bigger threat to business.

Large groups of tourists rent out vacation homes on the app for rates at which local lodgings can’t compete. The county presented a draft short-term rental ordinance that Schlossin hopes will remedy the situation with occupancy limits on Airbnb homes.

Neither Airbnb or Sequoia Motel is likely to compete with the luxury project Patel envisions, however.

“It’s a high-end place. That’s something the county doesn’t have,” Schlossin said. “It’s encouraging that they’re reaching out to the community. You gotta give the man (Patel) credit for being a good neighbor.”

Patel committed to incorporating local businesses into the hotel’s operation, so long as they “meet a high operational standard,” including a restaurant and retail space. He hopes that the resort could be a draw during the off-season, benefiting local businesses.

“You only have three-to-four months to make your money here. If they could improve business during the shoulder months, that would be wonderful,” Schlossin said.

The bulk of the 102,000-square-foot project will be built offsite, so builders can erect the building in Three Rivers in a matter of days, minimizing disruption to the environment and neighbors, Patel said.

Housing for the hotel’s estimated 30 employees will be included with the project, so as not to further crunch Three River’s long-term rental and housing market.

He also addressed community concerns surrounding water and the area’s fickle water table.

“This is the water nobody else in the community wants, but that we will use and pay dearly to use,” Patel said, pointing to a state-of-the-art company the developer hopes to partner with to treat water and manage effluent.

Besides water, many residents were concerned about the possibility of a rumored incentive to build the $30 million hotel project in Tulare County.

Last year, the Sierra Star reported that Madera County supervisors cut Patel a deal to move ahead with a similar hotel project in Oakhurst, near Yosemite National Park.

The incentive took the form of a 50% rebate on the hotel’s transient occupancy tax over 25 years. TOT is a tax levied on travelers who stay at a hotel for fewer than 30 days.

The rate varies by county. In Tulare County, the TOT is 10%.

Crocker said the county hadn’t settled on a number yet and discussions with developer Patel Group were still ongoing.

“I understand why (the county) would (offer Patel) a deal for an upscale development, but it’s still frustrating that other hotels have to pay the full tax. We didn’t get any breaks,” Schlossin said.

The supervisor pointed out that such arrangements were common and would benefit both the county and the developer, providing financial incentives to build while capturing tax revenue that wouldn’t otherwise exist.

“The TOT rebate is favorable to attract business and generate long-term economic activity and taxable commerce,” Crocker said.

Some at the town hall questioned whether that tax should be used to benefit only the Three Rivers community, rather than the county’s general fund.

The argument was a no-go for Crocker.

“While Three Rivers does generate more TOT tax, other county communities generate much more sales tax or property tax and we don’t give them special treatment,” Crocker said. “I’m not going to write a blank check to Three Rivers or any other county community.”

The supervisor pointed to a $400,000 restroom project and expansion of the Three Rivers Historical Museum slated to be completed by the of the year.

The project was paid for out of the county’s general fund, Crocker said.

https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/local/visalia/2019/07/26/30-million-boutique-hotel-planned-three-rivers-despite-concerns/1827892001/

The water park is coming, so are the jobs. Work under way at Manteca’s Great Wolf Lodge

 

Great Wolf Lodge is bringing a water park back to Manteca, CA. An update on the indoor water park resort and hotel project that is expected to bring 500 to 600 jobs to the Central Valley city.

Yes, the water slides are still coming. So is the hotel. Plus a family entertainment center. And restaurants. But before any of that arrives, expect between 500 and 600 jobs to come to Manteca.

A small-scale village in the form of the Great Wolf Lodge is rising in the Central Valley city just off Highway 120. A representative from a highly anticipated water park resort gave a public presentation at Manteca City Hall on Thursday evening to a packed crowd.

The 500-room, six-story structure is on track to open in June or July of 2020. Construction has been under way since groundbreaking last November. The structure looms large, visible from the freeway next to the Costco and Big League Dreams center.

Steven Jacobsen, vice president of domestic development at Great Wolf, updated the audience on the project’s progress and sought to reassure citizens that the resort would be a good and welcoming neighbor once it opens.

“We’re all about families. And we’re all about providing an opportunity for families to spend time together — quality time,” Jacobsen said. “We’re about creating an incredible experience so the average family can go with family and loved ones and have a great time.”

The new development will feature a connected hotel, indoor water park and family entertainment center. Jacobsen boasted of more than 50 activities “under one roof” at the resort. They include numerous water slides, wave pools, a lazy river, shopping, multiple dining options, bowling, arcades and even an interactive adventure game.

Great Wolf operates 17 resorts in North America, making it the largest indoor water park company on the continent. Besides its upcoming Manteca location, it has another set to open this fall near Phoenix, and one each planned for England and Mexico. The Midwest-founded and based company expects to see 8 million guests through its property next year.

But it was the Manteca project that was front and center Thursday night. The public presentation addressed some of the most pressing concerns about the project from area residents, including access to its lauded indoor water park. Shortly after the development was officially announced last August, some in the area complained the water park would only be open to hotel guests and leave locals high and dry.

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Family entertainment center under construction at the Great Wolf Lodge Resort in Manteca, Calif., Thursday, July 11, 2019. Andy Alfaro AALFARO@MODBEE.COM

Jacobsen reiterated the company’s reasons for its hotel guest-only policy for its water park — safety and overall park enjoyment — but also introduced a new day-pass pilot program the resort has rolled out recently. At other properties, the company is testing passes to allow non-hotel guests to use the water park based on occupancy levels.

“We don’t want you to stand in a Disney line at Great Wolf,” Jacobsen said.

The company is still evaluating the day-pass program, and prices are flexible based on dates and occupancy. Jacobsen wouldn’t give a price range for the passes, but a look at the July day-pass rate at the three closest Great Wolf resorts in Southern California, Washington and Colorado put the fee mid-week at $65-$80 per person and weekend rate at $90-$110 per person.

When compared to booking a hotel room, which has two days of water park access for all of the registered guests included in the rate plus free parking, Jacobsen told the crowd that for a family of four-plus, it typically pencils out better to rent a room instead of doing the day passes.

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Workers move a section of the water slide during construction at the Great Wolf Lodge Resort in Manteca, Calif., Thursday, July 11, 2019. Andy Alfaro AALFARO@MODBEE.COM

Jacobsen also couldn’t give a price range for the Manteca rooms, as they change depending on the day of the week, season and overall occupancy. But in Anaheim this month, rooms start at around $329.99 for a standard and $629 for a premium suite. The largest rooms in the resort will be able to sleep up to 12, and multiple different kinds of rooms and packages are available. Jacobsen also stressed that the Manteca site will not have minimum night stay requirements for hotel guests to use the park.

Still, for folks who don’t want to book a room, the lodge still has public areas that are accessible to non-hotel guests. Those include the restaurants and all of the family fun center, which will have an arcade, bowling alley, games and more.

And for those not looking to stay or play, the lodge could become their work as Jacobsen revealed the complex would hire between 500 to 600 full-time and part-time jobs. Positions will range from lifeguards to waitstaff, engineers to hotel clerks. Jacobsen said they are teaming with the City of Manteca to help publicize the positions.

Great Wolf rendering.JPG
A rendering of the Great Wolf Lodge in Manteca which will include a 6-story, 500-room hotel, family entertainment center and 95,000 square-foot indoor waterpark. Gensler GREAT WOLF RESORT

There will be a job fair in the city about 30 to 45 days before its opening next summer. So job seekers should be on the lookout for information around April and May of next year. Jacobsen said the job fair would ensure that Manteca residents “got first crack” at employment.

The managerial positions should be hired 30 to 45 days before the site’s opening, and then the bulk of the remaining staff should come on board about two and a half weeks out. No other job descriptions, salary information or employment requirements have been released yet.

Jacobsen and city staff also addressed some logistical concerns from area residents, including traffic on Daniels Street. City Manager Tim Ogden assured attendees that the road, which currently stops at the Great Wolf construction site, would be extended to McKinley Avenue on the west side of the project. That work should be completed by next February, months before the opening.

https://www.modbee.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/biz-beat/article232523217.html

New, skilled jobs expected to come to Merced County with new Livingston facility

 
City of Livingston and Emerald Textile Services officials cut the ribbon during a groundbreaking ceremony of the business’s new automated medical laundry facility, Friday, July 12, 2019, at 420 Industrial Drive in Livingston, Merced County, California.

City of Livingston and Emerald Textile Services officials cut the ribbon during a groundbreaking ceremony of the business’s new automated medical laundry facility, Friday, July 12, 2019, at 420 Industrial Drive in Livingston, Merced County, California. VSHANKER@MERCEDSUNSTAR.COM

The Livingston community on Friday celebrated the groundbreaking of a new business expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the area.

San Diego-based Emerald Textile Services is in the process of converting a former water treatment center for dialysis at 420 Industrial Drive into a far-reaching hospital laundry service.

Dozens of community members gathered for a event celebrating the new business.

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Rich Bott, CEO of Emerald Textile Services, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony of an automated medical laundry facility, Friday, July 12, 2019, at 420 Industrial Drive in Livingston, Merced County, California. Vikaas ShankerVSHANKER@MERCEDSUNSTAR.COM

While the exact number of jobs created has yet to be determined, the city estimates the business will bring about 250 new skilled labor jobs, increasing Livingston’s 3,500-person workforce by more than 7 percent.

“This has a huge impact,” Livingston City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez said, noting the city will benefit by increases in sales tax revenue, property values and “overall quality of life.”

Livingston’s unemployment rate of 7.3 percent is equivalent to Merced County’s May 2019 rate — more than double the state unadjusted rate of 3.5 percent and national 3.4 percent rate, according to the latest state data.

The automated laundry facility will serve acute care hospitals and clinics from Monterrey to San Francisco and from Roseville to Fresno, producing 60 million pounds of hygienically clean textiles each year, according to a city news release.

The company expects the plant to use 70 percent less water and natural gas compared to similar laundries, making it an eco-friendly facility, officials said.

“We have a very modest little industrial park here, but it’s perfectly situated next to the freeway,” Ramirez said, adding he hopes the addition of the laundry facility will help spark more growth in the area.

The investment into the Livingston facility includes $25 million in new equipment, Ramirez said.

“Emerald Textile Services aligns with our community values, what we believe in,” Ramirez said.

The new facility will serve many hospitals and medical clinics, with Kaiser Permanente being a major business partner, officials said.

“We believe we’re going to be good stewards,” said Greg Anderson, Emerald Textile Services’ board chairman.

https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/article232594307.html

Yard House restaurant will be accompanied by other additions to The Shops at River Walk

A restaurant isn’t the only new business coming to The Shops at River Walk, but it’s likely to arrive there before anything else does.

Construction workers at the development on the north side of Stockdale Highway just west of Calloway Drive were busy Monday building a future location for Yard House, the chain known for its vast selection of beers, often served in tall glasses, as well as burgers and salads.

Scott Thayer, senior vice president of developer Castle Cooke California Inc., said the 8,870-square-foot restaurant project is coming along well, as is a roughly 1,500-square-foot patio being built for Yard House. But he was not authorized to say when it’s expected to open.

He did, however, share a little bit about what else might be going up nearby.

There’s going to be a new office building, for one thing — a two-story affair measuring 17,000 square feet, Thayer said. He added that final plans for the project have not yet been sent to city officials for review.

In addition, two buildings measuring 5,700 square feet each will be built near the Yard House. But again, he’s unable to disclose who’s going in at those spaces.

Thayer did offer this, though: They’re going to be retail stores.

Once leases get signed — and not before — Thayer said the names of the future tenants will be released.

He said he’d like to share more but that now things are in potential tenants’ hands.

“The longer they take to sign the leases, the longer it’ll take for us to start” construction, he said.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/yard-house-restaurant-will-be-accompanied-by-other-additions-to/article_1c1f0048-96dc-11e9-9fbb-3b76cba60b46.html

OPENING DATE SET FOR NEW CLOVIS COSTCO; FRESNO ACE OPENS

Photo by David Castellon The new Westlake Ace Hardware at 1536 N. Champlain Dr. in northeast Fresno has opened for business, replacing the Orchard Supply Hardware store.

Published On June 18, 2019 – 11:18 AM
Written By David Castellon

A new Ace Hardware store is open for business in northeast Fresno, while a date in July has been set to open Clovis’ new Costco store.

The final phase or construction is underway for the new Costco on the west side of Clovis Avenue south of Shaw Avenue, one of the busiest traffic areas in Clovis.

The new store will be about 30,000 square feet bigger than the current one, a few blocks west at 380 W. Ashlan Ave.

Plans are to close that store on July 17 and open the new store and gas station the next day, according to a manager, who added that the gas station at the Ashlan Avenue store may stay open awhile after the location closes.

Another new store, the Ace on East Champlain Drive, near East Shepherd Avenue, opened on May 31.

It replaced the Orchard Supply Hardware that shut down there early this year, along with all of the 97 other OSH stores in California, Florida and 0regon.

So far, the former OSH stores on Champlain and in Visalia have been converted into Ace stores under separate management.

Westlake Ace Hardware, an affiliate that now operates 127 Ace stores in 10 states, took over the lease on the Champlain Avenue, and there is speculation that Ace affiliates are eyeing other former OSH stores in the Valley and in other parts of California.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/opening-date-set-for-new-clovis-costco-fresno-ace-opens

Gallo is buying 34 wine and spirit brands you’ve heard of — for $1.7 billion

 
The front entrance of the new Dry Creek office building at the E&J Gallo Winery in Modesto, Calif., on Tuesday, August 30, 2016.

The front entrance of the new Dry Creek office building at the E&J Gallo Winery in Modesto, Calif., on Tuesday, August 30, 2016.  AALFARO@MODBEE.COM

E.&J. Gallo Winery has 34 new wine and spirit brands to its name after reaching a $1.7 billion deal to purchase properties from its rival Constellation Brands.

The Modesto-based company reached an agreement with Constellation, best known for producing beers like Corona, Modelo and Pacifico, to acquire several well-known wine brands, including Northern California labels Clos du Bois, Black Box and Ravenswood, in addition to sparking wine and spirits.

Included in the purchase were wine brands: Clos du Bois, Black Box, Ravenswood, Estancia, Mark West, Franciscan, Toasted Head, Hogue Cellars, Wild Horse, Blackstone, Vendange, Rex Goliath, Diseno, Hidden Crush, Taylor Country Cellars, Blufeld, Manischewitz, Wild Irish Rose, Arbor Mist, Milestone, La Terre, Taylor Dessert, Paul Masson Dessert, Capri, Cribari Dessert, Primal Roots, Taylor NY Table, Paul Masson Table,

Also included in the deal were sparkling wine brands Cook’s and J. Roget and Paul Masson brandy. The deal adds about 700 employees to Gallo’s existing 6,500 worldwide, and six winemaking facilities. They are Mission Bell in Madera, Turner Road Vintners in Lodi, Clos du Bois in Geyserville and Wild Horse in Templeton, along with Washington state’s Hogue Cellars and New York’s Canandaigua.

Most of the newly acquired wines are around the $11 price point. New York-based Constellation retains all of its beer brands, SVEDKA Vodka and several other wine labels including the high-profile Robert Mondavi brand family. Late last year, Constellation made a $4 billion investment in Canopy Growth, a Canadian-based cannabis company.

Earlier this year, Wine Business Monthly named Gallo No. 1 and Constellation No. 3 for the U.S.’s largest wineries by volume. The Wine Group out of Livermore (with a large production facility near Ripon) came in at No. 2.

Gallo has long sold wine at a range of prices and should do well with the labels it is buying from Constellation, said Cyril Penn, editor of Wine Business Monthly, speaking by phone from his Sonoma office.

“I would not expect them to dumb down these brands,” he said. “If anything, it will rejuvenate them.”

Gallo has succeeded through “vertical integration” that has grape growing, bottle making, distribution and other functions under one ownership, Penn said.

Brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo founded the winery in Modesto in 1933. It concentrated on lower-priced wines from the San Joaquin Valley for most of its history but branched in the 1980s into premium vineyards near the California coast. Gallo later added Washington state and also imports wine and spirits from several countries.

The growth has come through Gallo’s own startup wineries and through purchases of established brands. Usually, the acquisition costs are disclosed because the companies are not publicly traded. Constellation is.

For Gallo, the addition brings some well-known brands into its portfolio.

“We are committed to remaining a family-owned company focused on growing the wine industry.,” said Gallo CEO Joseph E. Gallo in a press release about the acquisition. “While we continue to invest in our premium and luxury businesses, we see a tremendous opportunity with this acquisition to bring new consumers into the wine category. We will continue to provide our customers and consumers with quality products at every price point.”

The Gallo portfolio has over 100 brands, including wine labels Gallo Family Vineyards, Barefoot Cellars, Dark Horse, Apothic and Ecco Domani. Its spirits roster includes New Amsterdam vodka and gin, E&J brandy and Familia Camarena tequila.

E.&J. Gallo Winery of Modesto has rebranded and relaunched its Thunderbird wine. The old version, known for its citrus flavor and high alcohol, has been discontinued. The new Thunderbird comes in chardonnay, red blend and cabernet sauvignon.

The deal is one of the larger acquisitions for a Central Valley-based company in recent history. In 2002, Save Mart Supermarkets purchased Food 4 Less for $165 million. In 2007, Modesto-founded 5.11 Tactical owner Dan Costa sold the majority stake in his company for $305 million.

“This is a large deal; it’s a large acquisition for the Central Valley,” said Jeff Michael, director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. “This makes Gallo a bigger player in the wine industry here, where they are already large and dominant.”

https://www.modbee.com/news/business/article228800324.html


How many jobs might Hard Rock casino bring to Kern County?

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.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/how-many-jobs-might-hard-rock-casino-bring-to-kern/article_f756f168-87c6-11e9-a7da-37ca7ab1260e.html

Hotel construction is booming as developers bet on Bakersfield’s economy

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.

IMPROVING CONDITIONS

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.

SHARED BENEFITS

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.”

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/hotel-construction-is-booming-as-developers-bet-on-bakersfield-s/article_b7730026-87e1-11e9-8101-2fe0197fa532.html