Tejon Ranch Co. Breaks Ground on 700,000 SF Nestlé USA Distribution Center in California

TEJON RANCH, CALIF. — Tejon Ranch Co. has begun construction on a distribution center for Nestlé USA Inc., the world’s largest food and beverage company. The development is located on 58 acres of Tejon Ranch Commerce Center (TRCC) in Tejon Ranch, approximately 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The multi-story, 700,000-square-foot building will be fully automated to serve Nestlé’s portfolio and designed to support future growth and expansion plans. No official opening date has been announced, but Nestlé is targeting 2025 for initial completion of construction and 2026 for commencement of operations.

TRCC represents more than 2.5 million square feet of industrial space either under construction or completed.

Mac Hewett, Mike McCrary and Brent Weirick of JLL represented Tejon Ranch Co. in the 58-acre land sale transaction.

https://rebusinessonline.com/tejon-ranch-co-breaks-ground-on-700000-sf-nestle-usa-distribution-center-in-california/

Another Industrial Tenant Signs at Tejon Ranch in Southern California

Another industrial tenant is moving its operations to part of the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center (TRCC) on the biggest piece of private land in California. The joint venture of Tejon Ranch Company and Majestic Realty Company announced Tuesday that CSW Industrials’ RectorSeal, which manufactures heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration and plumbing products, is moving from Los Angeles into half of a 480,000-square-foot facility at the expansive master-planned development in southwestern Kern County. The asking rent and lease rate were not disclosed.

The developer said it has secured more than 2.5 million square feet of industrial leases at TRCC over the past 24 months. The 1,450-acre development is at the junction of Interstate 5 and Highway 99, about an hour north of the L.A. basin. It’s also home to distribution centers for tenants that include Ikea, Camping World, Caterpillar, Dollar General, Famous Footwear and L’Oréal.

Last month, Tejon Ranch Company announced it closed a $160 million unsecured revolving credit facility with AgWest Farm Credit to fund construction projects, farming and ranching operations, and pay for general corporate expenses.

JLL (JLL)’s Mike McCrary, Mac Hewett, Brent Weirick and Peter McWilliams manage the TRCC listing and represented the landlords on the RectorSeal transaction. Walt Chenoweth and Sean Sullivan with Voit Real Estate Services represented RectorSeal.

https://commercialobserver.com/2023/12/industrial-tejon-ranch-southern-california/

Amazon opens third fulfillment center in Tracy

Amazon officially opened their latest Tracy fulfillment center with a ribbon cutting on Friday at the 3.7 million-square-foot facility on East Grant Line Road. Director of operations Vincent Wong cut the ribbon for the facility, named SCK6, which had a soft opening in October. Assistant General Manager Mohammed Khan said the building will have approximately 1,500 employees and 3,000 robots in the building at 15000 East Grant Line Road.

At maximum capacity he said Amazon will be able to ship 1 million units a day from the facility, which is the online retailer’s second advanced robotics fulfillment center. Wong welcomed the crowd of employees, some dressed in San Jose Sharks attire, along with invited guests to the dedication.

“We are honored to serve the people of Tracy and especially honored to support our work force here in this place. At Amazon, people are our most valuable asset and resources,” Wong said. “Promotion actually plays an important part in their growth and (our employees are) promoted for recognizing our people and reaching their goals. At Amazon, we start with the community in which we work and live, including myself, we are committed to uniting Tracy and leveraging our resources for good. Since the beginning of 2022 we actually provided more than $4 million in donations for our community here and also in in-kind donations and volunteer hours.”

SCK6 is the fourth logistics center opened in Tracy by the online retailer. Mayor Nancy Young welcomed the new facility to the Tracy community noting that her youngest son had just started working at SCK6 the night before.

“When I got on council it was really hard, and even as my children were growing up, it was a challenge to get a job in the city of Tracy, especially for young people because they were really competing with a lot of adults trying to just hold on their homes and make their ends meet,” Young said. “But when Amazon came here it was the first really big opportunity for a lot of young adults and adults alike to be able to get a really good paying job to be able to take care of their finances. I’m just really excited that this is a great addition to continue to grow our community, to grow our economy and I just want to say thank you all for being a part of this and I encourage each and every one of the Sharkies, each and every one of the workers out there to keep moving forward knowing that you can continue to grow wherever you are, blossom wherever you are.”

San Joaquin County Fifth District Supervisor Robert Rickman joined in welcoming the new facility that had been in the planning stages since he was mayor of Tracy.

“When we approved this facility when I was mayor of Tracy one of the issues we ran into was this was going to be the biggest building in the city of Tracy. So, we had to work with Amazon, adjust our zoning in order to get this building built,” Rickman said. “So driving up and down Grant Line Road and seeing just a dirt field to what it is now is just absolutely amazing.”

New jobs generated by the facility will be a boon to the surrounding communities.

“One of our jobs as elected officials is to bring more jobs, bring awesome companies to our counties, to our cities, and Amazon you have fulfilled that role. The building behind me, what you see, you see local employment — people from Tracy, Stockton, Manteca, Ripon, Lodi, Livermore, the entire surrounding communities — coming to Tracy and making a living, not just for themselves but for their families their spouses and their children,” Rickman said.

He noted the health and education benefits their employees their employees and the company’s work with schools and education will make a difference in the community.

“Your footprint isn’t just here in this parking lot on Grant Line Road but encompasses the entire city of Tracy and San Joaquin County where our population is approximately 800,000 people that live here in the county,” Rickman said.

Amazon has three major centers in town include its OAK4 fulfillment center that opened in 2013, just south SCK6. Two more and two centers in the Prologis International Park of Commerce on the west side of town.

https://www.ttownmedia.com/tracy_press/amazon-opens-third-fulfillment-center-in-tracy/article_faf470c0-ce7b-11ed-a6f7-5f3f6ce4d7e1.html

‘A win for the entire region.’ Merced County awarded $49.6 million for Castle rail project

Merced County’s Castle Commerce Center is about to receive a huge boost in the form of a $49.6 million grant to build out an inland port that will improve its capacity to move freight worldwide. The California State Transportation Agency announced Merced County was awarded the grant on Thursday. “This will directly support our agricultural producers and manufacturers throughout the entire San Joaquin Valley,” said Merced County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott Silveira.

“This is a win for the entire region,” Silveira added. “From local agricultural producers to major manufacturers throughout the Valley, being able to transport goods in a quick and efficient manner is absolutely critical. This grant will position us to drive our economy in the right direction.” In January 2022, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed $1.2 billion for port and freight infrastructure to support the state’s goods movement networks, which have been hurt by global disruptions and increased port congestion in recent years. The grant will help the state develop a more efficient, sustainable and resilient goods movement system.

Castle’s rail district became operational in May 2022 under Patriot Rail, which operates the rail line and has already tripled the shipping volume to and from Castle in recent months, according to Merced County spokesperson Mike North. The grant will help area farmers, manufacturers and other businesses to ship and receive goods throughout the San Joaquin Valley cost effectively. “Castle’s inland port and rail activities is focused on increasing regional economic opportunities while reducing semi-truck traffic along our roadways,” North said. The $49.6 million grant will enhance Castle Commerce Center’s existing rail capacity by: Facilitating the development of 70 acres at Castle to support pre-shipment processing and intermodal cross-docking for Central Valley agricultural producers. Providing cost-effective, direct rail service for shippers. Expanding the railway to a new staging and container laydown area to support cross-docking and processing. Evaluating, engineering and planning for further expansion on existing land within Castle Commerce Center. Merced County Supervisor Daron McDaniel, whose District 3 includes Castle Commerce Center, said the inland port and rail district has been in the works for many years and is a major focal point for the county.

“This is a prime example of government facilitating an environment where the private sector can thrive,” McDaniel said. The Merced County inland port will support additional goods movement to and from the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Oakland while making Merced County a focal point for inland goods movement. The rail district expansion project is expected to be complete by mid-2028. “With all that has been accomplished to date and coupled with this sizable state investment, Castle is proving to be the leading economic development site in California,” said Assistant Merced County Executive Officer Mark Hendrickson.

https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/article277078128.html

State of Calif. Announces $1.5B in Port Infrastructure Upgrades (UPDATED July 11)

The State of California on July 6 announced an investment of more than $1.5 billion—including approximately $450 million for zero-emission infrastructure, locomotives, vessels and vehicles—as part of the state’s work to build a more “efficient, sustainable and resilient supply chain.”

According to the State of California, the $1.2 billion will fund 15 projects creating an estimated 20,000 jobs and “increase the capacity to move goods throughout the state’s global trade gateways while lessening environmental impacts on neighboring communities.” Administered by the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA), $350 million was also awarded to 13 projects that eliminate street-level rail crossings to make “critical lifesaving safety improvements, reduce emissions and keep goods and people moving.”

Projects receiving funding will help boost capacity to move goods through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach—the busiest ports in the Western Hemisphere—as well as enhance all major trade centers throughout the state—from San Diego to the Central Valley to the Bay Area. The high-priority grade separation projects, the majority of which are funded through the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, will improve safety and reduce conflicts and delays at railroad crossings, helping enhance the state’s freight and passenger rail systems, the State of California said.

The funding—particularly the investments in zero-emission projects, which account for nearly 40 % of the Port and Freight Infrastructure Program awards—builds on a partnership between the governments of California and Japan announced this March to collaborate on strategies to “cut planet-warming pollution at seaports and establish green shipping corridors as part of the state’s broader strategy to aggressively combat and adapt to climate change.”

The investments, the State of California says, also follow the California Transportation Commission’s (CTC) recent approval of $1.1 billion for infrastructure improvements on high-volume freight corridors as part of the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP)—for a total state investment in supply chain infrastructure of more than $2.6 billion in just the past week.

Part of the funding includes a $383.35 million grant awarded to the Port of Long Beach to complete a series of construction and clean-air technology projects aimed at accelerating the transformation to zero-emissions operations and enhancing the reliability of cargo movement.

As part of the state’s Port and Freight Infrastructure Program, nearly $225 million will fund a variety of zero-emissions cargo-moving equipment and supportive infrastructure projects across the Port of Long Beach and include “top handlers” and other manually operated cargo-handling equipment, as well as tugboats and locomotives. The sum is the single largest grant the Port has ever received to support the zero-emissions goals of the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update.

Additionally, $158.4 million of the state grant will go toward the planned Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility, which will shift more cargo from trucks to on-dock rail, where containers are taken to and from marine terminals by trains. The $1.57 billion facility will be built in phases, with construction scheduled to begin in 2024 and be completed in 2032.

As part of its Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), the Port of Long Beach has set a goal of zero-emissions terminal operations by 2030, and zero-emissions trucking by 2035. The Port has a long track record of air quality improvement projects that have “dramatically lowered” emissions since 2005.

Additionally, the Port of Los Angeles has been awarded $233 million in grants from the State of California to complete essential infrastructure projects aimed at creating a more efficient and sustainable supply chain.

Port of Los Angeles infrastructure projects supported by the new state grants include:

  • Maritime Support Facility (MSF) Improvement and Expansion Project—The MSF provides chassis and empty container storage for all 12 container terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, critical to facilitating goods movement throughout the complex. With this new funding, the area will be improved and expanded from 30 to 71 acres. Improvements will include utilities, drainage, sewage, power, water supply, as well as a paved perimeter roadway. The $198.2 million total project amount includes $149.3 million from CalSTA and $48.4 million in matching funds from the Port of Los Angeles.
  • Rail Mainline/Wilmington Community & Waterfront Pedestrian Grade Separation Bridge—In addition to demolition work and soil remediation, the project involves construction of a 400-foot dedicated pedestrian bridge over freight tracks, creating a safer connection between the Wilmington community, several local area schools and the Port of Los Angeles’ Wilmington Waterfront area. The project will also include construction of retaining walls, storm drainage, electrical and utilities, sidewalks and landscaping. The total project cost of $57.9 million includes $42 million from CalSTA, $5.62 million from the Port of Los Angeles and $10.2 million from LA Metro.
  • State Route 47/Seaside Avenue and Navy Way Interchange Improvements—This project will modify the intersection of Navy Way and Seaside Avenue to improve traffic operations, reduce collisions and improve safety. Improvements will add a new westbound auxiliary lane, a new eastbound two-lane collector-distributor road, a new off-ramp terminus and eliminate a traffic signal, among other upgrades. Total project cost of $62.98 million includes $41.79 million from CalSTA and $21.19 million in Port of Los Angeles funds.

Last week the Port of Los Angeles received a $15 million grant from the CTC for a four-lane grade separation on Terminal Island that will reduce truck delays and improve public safety.

Of the $1.5 billion awarded by CalSTA, approximately $250 million is allocated for zero-emission infrastructure, locomotives, vehicles and vessels.

Southern California regional projects totaling $191 million were among the grants announced. These include a $100 million BNSF rail expansion project in the High Desert and another $76.3 million zero-emission rail and drayage fleet support project by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, among others. These projects support the Port of Los Angeles by improving cargo movement throughout the region.

Additionally, Merced County has been awarded a $49.6 million grant—one of the largest in the history of Merced County and San Joaquin Valley—from CalSTA to build-out an inland port at Castle Commerce Center, “leveraging its unique capacity to move freight worldwide.”

The $49.6 million CalSTA grant will enhance Castle Commerce Center’s existing rail capacity by:

  • Facilitating the development of 70 acres at Castle to support pre-shipment processing and intermodal cross-docking for Central Valley agricultural producers.
  • Providing cost-effective, direct rail service for shippers.
  • Expanding the railway to a new staging and container laydown area to support cross-docking and processing.
  • Evaluating, engineering, and planning for further expansion on existing land within Castle Commerce Center.

These projects, Merced County says, will support additional goods movement to and from the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, and the Port of Oakland while making the County a focal point for inland goods movement.

Situated at the southeastern corner of Castle, its rail district became operational in May 2022 under Patriot Rail, which operates the rail line and has already tripled the shipping volume to and from Castle in recent months. The CalSTA grant, Merced County says, will “further enhance the viability of agricultural producers, manufacturers, and other enterprises throughout the San Joaquin Valley to cost-effectively and efficiently ship and receive goods along the BNSF railroad mainline, which runs adjacent to the site.” Castle’s inland port and rail activities is focused on increasing regional economic opportunities while reducing semi-truck traffic along its roadways.

“Patriot Rail is privileged to partner with Merced County to advance the rail foundation of an inland port at the Castle Commerce Center,” said Patriot Rail CEO John E. Fenton.

The rail district expansion project is expected to be complete by mid-2028.

Meanwhile, the Port of Stockton was awarded $45.9 million for the Rail Infrastructure Improvements for Sustainable Exports (RISE) Project through CalSTA’s Port and Freight Infrastructure Program (PFIP).

The RIISE project supports building new infrastructure to enhance rail capacity, accommodate increased freight tonnage and train frequencies, mitigate potential service disruptions, and reduce long-term repair and maintenance costs. PFIP will fund the replacement of the San Joaquin River rail bridge; expansion of the port’s long lead track to two tracks; and procurement of a zero-emission electric railcar mover.

The project will help reduce trucks traversing neighborhood streets, consistent with the priorities of near-port communities and the Stockton AB 617 Community Steering Committee, reducing public health harms and negative environmental and economic impacts.

“No other state has a supply chain as critical to the national and global economy as California,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “These investments—unprecedented in scope and scale—will modernize our ports, reduce pollution, eliminate bottlenecks and create a more dynamic distribution network.”

“CalSTA’s ‘Core Four’ priorities are safety, climate action, equity and economic prosperity, and the strategic investments announced today shine in all those areas,” said Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin during an event on July 6 announcing the awards at the Port of Long Beach. “These awards—a direct result of Governor Newsom’s visionary leadership—will help maintain our state’s competitive edge in our nation-leading supply chain infrastructure and will create a cleaner, safer and more efficient goods movement system that will have a lasting positive impact for the people of California. The historic level of state funding also puts these projects in a stronger position to compete for significant federal infrastructure dollars from the Biden-Harris Administration.”

https://www.railwayage.com/intermodal/state-of-calif-announces-1-5b-in-port-infrastructure-upgrades/

 

Tesla Presents Its New Megapack Factory In Lathrop, California

Tesla’s all-new battery energy storage system (BESS) factory in Lathrop, California is almost ready and is ramping up production. This week, the company showed a short video, presenting the plant and some of the production processes, on its Linkedin profile. Tesla is now looking for more employees – but that’s not a surprise, as basically the entire EV industry is investing and competing for workers. The site in Lathrop is pretty big as it’s envisioned for an annual output of 40 GWh of Tesla Megapack systems (according to the announcement from 2021).

A single Megapack container has a capacity of about 3 MWh, plus all necessary power electronics. At 40 GWh, Tesla should be able to produce more than 13,000 Megapacks per year. That’s an order of magnitude increase compared to its 2021 output. With the new manufacturing facility, Tesla’s Energy business is now expected to quickly expand. The company recently set a new quarterly record of 2.1 GWh of battery energy storage system deployment (all types).

Once the Lathrop plant is completed, more than 10 GWh to be installed per quarter. That will be a groundbreaking change for the entire industry and potentially a huge help to utilities, which are looking for high-volume and reasonably priced battery systems. Tesla’s advantage will be large BESS like the Megapack, series production at high volume and use of the Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry (the company previously announced the switch to LFP cells in entry-level version of its cars – Model 3/Model Y, and energy storage systems).

Currently, BESS accounts for only several percent of Tesla’s total revenues and margins are much lower than in the case of cars. Because the company is quickly expanding its EV business (higher production of cars and new models), we guess that in the foreseeable future, BESS share will remain under 10%.

https://insideevs.com/news/618643/tesla-megapack-factory-lathrop-california/

Amazon’s started to deliver orders by drones in California and Texas

Amazon is now delivering orders by drones in California and Texas with the aim to ultimately fly out packages to customers’ homes within an hour, Ars Technica reports. The retail giant’s drone delivery service, Amazon Prime Air, already dropped a small number of packages via drone in the backyards of customers in the run-up to Christmas in Lockeford, California, and College Station, Texas.

“Our aim is to safely introduce our drones to the skies. We are starting in these communities and will gradually expand deliveries to more customers over time,” Amazon Air spokesperson Natalie Banke told KTXL Fox 40.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave Amazon Part 135 approval to send packages by drone in 2020, as well as filing Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact/Record of Decision documents for Lockeford on November 14th and College Station on December 12th.

The rural town of Lockeford, California, is located 50 miles southeast of Sacramento and has only about 3,500 residents, while College Station, Texas, is a medium-sized city 100 miles northwest of Houston that’s home to Texas A&M.

Those living in either town are eligible to sign up and place orders, while Amazon will notify customers elsewhere when drone delivery is available in their area. The most recent filings indicate Amazon’s deliveries will be available within 3.73 miles of its delivery center in Texas and within four miles of its drone depot (aka Prime Air Drone Delivery Center, or PADDC) in California.

FAA:

Operations from the College Station PADDC would occur during daylight hours up to five days per week. The operating area is divided into four sectors, with each sector having a maximum of approximately 50 delivery flights per operating day. Only one aircraft in each sector can be airborne at any time. Operations from the Lockeford PADDC would occur during daylight hours up to five days per week. The operating area is divided into four sectors, with each sector having a maximum of approximately 50 delivery flights per operating day. Only one aircraft in each sector can be airborne at any time.

After placing an order, customers will receive both tracking information and an estimated delivery time they can expect the drone to drop off the package in their backyard.

The drones are intentionally shaped in a hexagonal fashion with six propellers to improve stability and minimize high-frequency sound waves, Amazon claims. Still, though the MK27-2 delivery drones fly autonomously and are programmed to avoid running into obstacles like chimneys, Amazon says it’s currently using humans to monitor deliveries.

Safety will continue to be a consideration, particularly given some setbacks Amazon faced in developing the drone delivery program, including crashes. In one incident at its test site in Pendleton, Oregon, a drone fell 160 feet and sparked a brush fire that stretched across 25 acres, as reported by Insider and Bloomberg.

At current, Amazon is currently working on a new and reportedly safer MK30 drone that will be available to use in 2024. It should be lighter and smaller than MK27-2 delivery drones, handle high temperatures and light rain better, and go further. Amazon is just one of many companies working on their own drone delivery services. Alphabet and Walmart, for example, launched versions of their own in the past year to select customers in certain areas.

https://www.theverge.com/2022/12/28/23529705/amazon-drone-delivery-prime-air-california-texas

MADERA COUNTY 2023 FORECAST: CENTERSTAGE IN THE CENTER OF THE STATE

The Nov. 25 print edition of The Business Journal 

Despite inflation and a limited housing market, Madera is still poised for a positive economic outlook for 2023.

With a slew of new projects waiting to come online, Madera County remains robust with strong growth in both the industrial and commercial sectors.

Darren Rose, the new executive director of the Madera County Economic Development Commission (EDC), said there is strong business interest in the county because of its location, workforce and business friendly environment.

Rose said that the industrial sector is seeing a lot of movement in the county, adding up to 1 million square feet of industrial space.

Cold storage company Amond World is currently building a 250,000-square-foot almond cold storage facility near the Madera Airport. Construction is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2023.

Though they cannot be publicly named because of proprietary issues, a few local businesses in the county are preparing to expand, including a food manufacturer, a light-industrial construction fabrication company and an industrial component manufacturer and solutions provider.

Ready Roast Nut Company, an industrial supplier and processor of roasted tree nuts, is working with the city for its expansion as well, Rose said.

In August, ground broke for AutoZone’s Northern California distribution center, located in the Chowchilla Industrial Park near Highway 99. The $150 million project will create 300 full-time jobs.

The facility will cover 540,000 square feet and will be online by the end of 2023.

On the retail end, Rose said that there are inquiries from national brands, but with the national economic fluctuations, these companies cannot be disclosed.

“We have our eyes wide open — we are on the precipice of potential national recession, and retail tracks the economy very closely. We are excited, but we don’t know what the future holds from a national standpoint and what it would mean to locate a national company in the Madera market,” Rose said.

But the county does remain on the radar for national companies he said. The available workforce and land, as well as the transportation corridors, make the region attractive to national actors.

Madera will also be getting its first In N’ Out that will be going in the former space of the SugarPine Smokehouse restaurant near the Madera fairgrounds, which could open possibly by 2024, Rose said.

Rose said the ag industry in the county is expected to remain strong, but it is facing several challenges.

“The cost of fuel, supply chain issues with international markets are not as active and of course water,” Rose said. “Hopefully, the international markets begin to open and in turn help with commodity prices.”

Residential real estate is expected to remain active, but Rose said there is likely to be a slowdown because of the lack of available housing.

Madera City Manager Arnoldo Rodriguez said that the city has been fortunate this year with investment from private development, as well as grant funding for public projects.

For retail, Rodriguez said that Madera doesn’t have a single large vacant retail space, which is a challenge as the city is getting inquiries from national companies.

A Big Lots is going into the space of a former Save Mart, expected to open by early 2023.

Madera is expecting to break ground for its “Village D” master plan in the summer of 2023, consisting of 11,000 residential units and approximately two million square feet of commercial space near the Madera airport.

With the approval of Village D, and other subdivision housing projects, Rodriguez said the city is hopeful for a strong housing market.

“If interest rates come down a little bit, I think we will see a decent amount of development. With interest rates a little bit higher than average, people are skittish,” Rodriguez said. “While we can do a lot locally, some of it is dependent on national economic issues that we cannot control.”

With federal and state funding programs available, Rodriguez said the city has been aggressive in securing millions in grants for road repairs, new parks and park improvement, Fresno River conservation efforts and repairs for sidewalks.

The city also secured a $14 million grant to rehabilitate portions of Highway 145, which includes Yosemite Avenue, Downtown Madera’s main street. Construction for this will begin in 2025.

As well as attracting the attention of national companies, Madera County was able to attract national and international travelers as well.

Covid-19 restrictions in 2020, which carried into 2021, did lead to less visitors travelling to areas including Yosemite and Bass Lake, but the pent-demand led to a record number of visitors in 2022.

“The second quarter was strong — it beat all records,” said Rhonda Salisbury, CEO of the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau. “2019 was the highest we had in tourism numbers, and 2022 beat that and 2021. But then the fires hit in July.”

California wildfires burned in the busiest time of the season, Salisbury said, which did bring down the number of visitors to the parks and lakes.

Since Yosemite National Park will no long be requiring reservations to visit, Salisbury expects this will draw more visitors in 2023.

She added that the bureau is expecting around the same number of visitors in 2023, especially with a lot of international travel rates returning to normal. They expect the typical European travelers to return in 2023, as well as for agritourism and Central Valley wineries.

Even with higher gas prices across the state, Salisbury said that if people are committed to traveling, gas prices are not going to deter them from taking a trip to the area.

“There’s more options of places to travel,” Salisbury said. “For a while California just toured California. Thank goodness we have so much to see and do.”

500K SQUARE FEET OF ALMOND COLD STORAGE COMING TO MADERA

Developers broke ground Tuesday on an almond cold storage facility in Madera open to all growers in hopes of alleviating price pressures on the nut. The owners hope the facility at 2842 N. Golden State Blvd. will be the first of many throughout the Central Valley. A project over seven years in the making, Amond World looks to open by the second quarter of 2023, said Robert Sullivan, managing partner for the company. The company name (“almond” without the “L”) links to a colloquialism of the word “almond” popular in the Central Valley — pronounced “am-end.”

The two 250,000-square-foot buildings are focused entirely on almonds. What separates this facility from others is that they will take almonds from any grower, according to Steve Sagouspe, managing partner along with Sullivan. The cold storage will allow almonds to be stored up to two years, meaning during times of plenty, growers can keep the nut in storage rather than bringing it to market. Each building will be able to store 50 million pounds of finished product. “I think farmers and processors are going to really enjoy the opportunity of being able to time their sale rather than having to get rid of it,” Sullivan said. With shipping disrupted as it is now, growers are having to sit on massive amounts of product, creating gluts in the market. Almonds this year have traded below $2 a pound, down from highs of $5 a pound a few years ago. Having access to cold storage means longer shelf life and more stable markets, Sagouspe said.

This also means the almonds don’t need to be fumigated for sanitary purposes. They will also be able to store certified organic almonds. Sullivan and Sagouspe contracted with Madera’s Span Development to build their ground-up development at the Madera Airport Industrial Park. Sullivan hopes to have the building up in the first half of 2023. The Amond World model allows for more growth in the Valley — anywhere almond grows, he added. They are currently scouting additional real estate near Chowchilla and Pixley.

The partnership with Span Development allows them to build several at a time. Part of the seven-year delay came with finding investors, said Sagouspe. They had courted suitors from other parts of the world, but they weren’t a good fit. They eventually found Adam Hayner from Los Angeles-based Origo Investments. The fit was good, he said. Coming from Washington originally and being involved in apple farming, Hayner knew about the importance of cold storage, Sagouspe said. Hayner said supporting the Central Valley is integral to supporting the food chain. The building would also be built with sustainable materials and powered by renewable energy, including solar panels and solar batteries. Sullivan hopes within five years to have 5 million square feet of cold storage online. Sullivan and Sagouspe were both previously real estate brokers with backgrounds in ag, but said Amond World is their new full-time job.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/500k-square-feet-of-almond-cold-storage-coming-to-madera/

Plans advance for Mojave Inland Port, first of its kind in California


MOJAVE, Calif. — Kern County, Calif., supervisors have approved a proclamation in support of the Mojave Inland Port, a planned 410-acre facility intended to receive and distribute up to 3 million containers per year from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. “The Mojave Inland Port is a fully permitted industrial site that will provide a solution for California goods movement at the ports,” Lorelei Oviatt, Kern County director of planning, said in a press release from holding company Pioneer Partners, which is spearheading the project. “This one-of-a-kind project will help unsnarl the congestion in the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach; it will help the national economy by reducing pressure on the supply chain; it will help the local economy through job creation,” said Pioneer Partners Chairman Richard Kellogg. “Goods will get to businesses and consumers faster and more efficiently. We can’t wait to get started.”

Plans call for groundbreaking in 2023 with the facility beginning operation in 2024. Pioneer Partners says it will work with Kern County officials to secure the necessary building permits. Developer Greenbriar Capital says in a press release that the project will the California’s first inland dry-land port and the largest in the U.S. and could support as many as 3,000 new jobs while generating an annual economic impact exceeding $500 million. “Inland ports are a critical component to the future balance of our supply chain. They can provide flexibility and efficiency, all while relieving traffic congestion at critical choke points,” said Trelynd Bradley, an official at the California Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development. “We appreciate the work that Pioneer’s Mojave Inland Port proposal has done to help find new solutions to address our supply chain challenges.”

The site is about 90 miles from the San Pedro Bay location of the two ports. Containers will arrive at the site astride Union Pacific’s main line via shuttle trains and can be distributed via state highways 15 and 58. There is also a 12,500-foot, heavy-lift runaway at the adjacent to the Mojave Air & Space Port.

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/plans-advance-for-mojave-inland-port-first-of-its-kind-in-california/