Category: E-Commerce

MADERA COUNTY HOUSING BOOM COULD SPUR AT LEAST ONE NEW CITY

Brent McCaffrey, president of Tesoro Viejo and McCaffrey Homes, shows visitors from the real estate industry and local governments a model of the town center at Tesoro Viejo, a large, mixed-use community being built in southeast Madera County. Photo by David Castellon

Published On October 25, 2019 – 1:35 PM
Written By 

It’s been about three years since the groundbreaking ceremony for Riverstone, one of two massive planned housing developments being built off Highway 41 in southeast Madera County.

Considering the estimated scope of the project — 6,578 homes on about 2,000 acres — it may not be completed for 30 years or more.

But Riverstone and the other big Madera County development to the north along 41, Tesoro Viejo, aren’t just about home building.

In the mix

Both are mixed-use developments with plans to include commercial, comprised of spaces for office, retail and light industrial businesses alongside stylish homes and recreation options that include parks, community centers and trails that will allow residents to walk, jog or bicycle to the nearby San Joaquin River.

In fact, development groups involved with the 1,600-acre Tesoro Viejo development have erected a little more than 70 of the 5,190 homes planned to be built there, and they’ve already built a Madera County fire station and a county sheriff’s sub station on site, as well as “The Hub,” a welcome center for potential homebuyers, along with a restaurant and a brew house planned for the future.

 

Educational opportunities

Tesoro Viejo has also completed a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade elementary school, and even though only about 20 homes have been occupied, the school is fully operational with children from outside the development bussed in.

Eventually, the plan is for the elementary school to mostly serve children living in Tesoro Viejo, said Brent McCaffrey, president of Tesoro Viejo and McCaffrey Homes, the lead developer on the project.

As for Riverstone, the developers there held a second groundbreaking off 41 and Avenue 12 Thursday afternoon for Riverwalk, the first commercial portion of that project.

The plan is for Riverstone to have 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, with Riverwalk comprising about two-thirds of that, said Timothy Jones, a developer and principal in the company that oversees the development, Riverstone Development LLC.

“We have 95 acres along 41,” for Riverwalk, he said.

 

Multi-family in the works

And the commercial area — which unlike Tesoro Viejo will have no industrial businesses — will be mixed use, meaning that some residential and office spaces will be available above some retail and office spaces, Jones said.

In addition, beyond building the single-family homes in the residential portions of Riverstone, “We anticipate having some apartments, definitely some [condominiums] in the mix,” he added.

Riverstone began construction before Tesoro Viejo, and homes started selling there in 2017. So far, about 400 completed, single-family homes have been occupied, with at least 50 more under construction, Jones said.

 

Building ahead

As for the demand among homebuyers, he said, “We’ve got six builders in there now. We’ve got a couple more trying to get in, and we are building ahead of our expected absorption.”

Some experts have said Madera is in the midst of a building boom, in part because spaces for developments with natural areas have become scarce in the Fresno area.

“Years ago, you had to live on a golf course. New people are requiring outdoor living and trails as the No. 1 thing they’re looking for. In all our entire master-planned communities here in Madera County, that is a big emphasis,” Madera County Supervisor Brett Frazier said.

 

New neighborhoods

At Tesoro Viejo, McCaffrey said the home building will be divided into nine “villages” — essentially neighborhoods — each with its own park, while Jones said 20-23 small parks are planned to be built throughout Riverstone.

Both also are planning to build multiple community centers, while Riverstone’s plans also include the construction of three elementary schools, along with a junior high school and high school.

“The first elementary school is set to break ground in January of 2020” and open in August of 2021, said Jones, adding that even after Riverstone is more fully developed, the schools likely will serve not only students there but also those in nearby areas, including The Ranchos and Rolling Hills.

 

Startups welcomed

Among the selling points at Tesoro Viejo — where three million square feet of commercial space is planned to be built — and Riverstone is residents who may start up or work at businesses in the developments will be able to avoid the traffic and time involved in commuting to and from Fresno, Madera and other nearby areas.

And with the addition of restaurants and possible places for entertainment and shopping, “When people come into the town center, they will hear about the lifestyle, not just a home to live in or a school to go to, but also the social infrastructure where you can live, work, play,” McCaffrey said last month to a group of real estate brokers, local government officials — Frazier among them — and others brought in to hear about the development on a bus tour put on by Fresno State’s Gazarian Real Estate Center.

 

Way of life

In fact, he said his family has donated land to build a Catholic church in the town center.

“So we’re trying to create not just a development, but also the social fabric of the community.”

If this all sounds like a couple of cities in the works, you wouldn’t be far off the mark.

In 1995, Madera County supervisors adopted the Rio Mesa Area Plan, which included supporting residential and commercial development along 15,000 acres of then mostly farmland bordered by Highway 41 to the west, the San Joaquin River to the south, east toward Millerton Lake and Highway 145 to the north.

The plan was to merge those developments into a city, which would be the third in Madera County, after Madera and Chowchilla.

Tesoro Viejo sits in those boundaries, and McCaffrey said he expects his development and possibly some proposed to the south of his could be incorporated someday into a single city.

 

Town of its own

For his part, Jones said his development is far enough south of the Rio Mesa area that it’s unlikely Riverstone is unlikely to be rolled into a city with Tesoro Viejo.

But Riverstone already is a larger development in terms of acreage and number of homes, and on top of that, the developers own about 5,000 adjoining acres they want to get zoned for housing and eventually build an additional 20,000 residential units and dedicate about 600 acres of that for additional commercial development.

“That whole area out there could be another city,” Jones said of Riverstone, but he shied away from saying whether he would support that happening. “You know, we are so far away from that. We’re talking 20 to 40 years before that’s in contemplation realistically. So I can’t tell you the answer to that. I don’t know.”

He added, “I think the issues of becoming a city are complicated.

Gap is bringing 600 jobs to the Fresno area

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Gap Incorporated is set to begin hiring for the 2019 holiday season which will bring more than 600 jobs to the Fresno area.

The company has announced its plans to hire employees for a range of seasonal opportunities including sales associate positions, customer relations representatives and shipment coordinators at distribution centers.

It is hosting a one-day hiring event Saturday, October 5, at all Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and other Gap incorporated locations across the United States from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Most contingency offers will be made immediately after interviewing at the hiring event.

All seasonal associates will also enjoy the same merchandise discount as the company’s current associates, just in time for holiday gift-giving.

Signed State Budget Delivers Millions for the Valley

Friday, June 28, 2019

Funding included for Career Technical Education, Safe Drinking Water, and Valley Fever

SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) issued the following statement regarding Governor Newsom’s signing of the 2019-2020 state budget:

“Governor Newsom’s first state budget reinforces California’s commitment to supporting working families, small businesses, students, seniors and veterans.  This budget builds record reserves for a rainy day and pays off debt while doing more to shore up working families and tackle challenges of affordability and quality of life,” said Assemblymember Salas.  “This budget invests in the Central Valley by addressing the healthcare workforce shortage, allocating $2 million to support valley fever research and providing millions to address safe and affordable drinking water.  The budget also includes funding to help train, grow, and support our workforce and students by expanding workforce development and youth leadership programs.”

State Budget Includes:

  • $2 million to the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical Center to support valley fever research
  • $12.5 million General Fund one-time for safe drinking water in the Central Valley, including $2.5 million to bring communities like Arvin into compliance with safe drinking water standards
  • $705,000 for three Independent Living Centers (ILC), including ILC of Kern County
  • $40,000 for the California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation
  • $1.1 million for planning of Bakersfield College Delano Center: Learning Resource Center Multi-Purpose Building
  • $1.6 million for planning of West Hills College Lemoore Instructional Center Phase 1
  • $12 million over three years for the Youth and Family Civic Engagement Initiative

 

The main budget bill – AB 74 – can be found here.

Valley Fever Funding

“We are grateful to Assemblymember Rudy Salas for authoring this legislation and bringing critical funding to Kern County – where it is needed the most.  As Medical Director for the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical, I am honored to lead our clinical team as we continue our mission to increase education and awareness for the public, patients and health care providers; provide the best patient care available and promote research that includes epidemiology, clinical drug development, prevention, immunology and immunizations.  The $2 million in funding will directly help the patients we care for every day at the Valley Fever Institute.” – Royce Johnson, M.D., Medical Director of the Kern Medical Valley Fever Institute and Chief of Infectious Diseases at Kern Medical

“Every day at the Valley Fever Institute we care for patients fighting Valley Fever.  The $2 million will benefit countless people in Kern County and beyond.  We are grateful to our dedicated legislators for supporting this critical funding and working with us to ensure the health of our community.” – Russell V. Judd, CEO, Kern Medical

 

Dolores Huerta and Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center’s Youth and Family Civic Engagement Initiative (YFCEI)

“We are grateful that the legislature and the Governor have made it possible to expand the Dolores Huerta Foundation and Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center’s Youth and Family Civic Engagement Initiative (YFCEI) to reach more underserved youth throughout California, with a focus on youth engagement, youth empowerment and leadership development utilizing the philosophies of non-violence advocates.  The leadership training that the youth receive will be magnified tenfold as the youth take the lessons learned to address and resolve the many issues that they are confronted with in their respective communities.” – Dolores Huerta

This funding supports the YFCEI’s efforts to serve young people in 12 counties throughout California over the next three years.

 

Independent Living Centers of Kern County

“We want to express our gratitude and dedication to Assemblymember Salas and his staff for the work they have done to maintain equal base rate funding of all Independent Living Centers in CA.  These continued funds come directly to Kern County and stay in Kern County to support the needs of all people with disabilities.” – Jimmie Soto, Executive Director of the Independent Living Center of Kern County

 

California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation

“The California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation is excited about this unique investment to further business development in the Central Valley.  We greatly appreciate Assemblyman Salas championing this effort, and look forward to the development of new and expanding businesses as a result of this program.” – Lance Lippincott, CEO and President of Kings County Economic Development Corporation

We anticipate additional funding for the Central Valley as the Governor signs the remaining budget trailer bills.

https://a32.asmdc.org/press-releases/20190628-signed-state-budget-delivers-millions-valley

Three Kern companies make the 2019 Inc. 5000 list of fast-growing businesses

Three Kern County-based businesses — Grapevine MSP Technology Services and Stria LLC in Bakersfield and Tasteful Selections LLC in Arvin — have been named to 2019’s Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing privately held companies with revenues of more than $2 million last year.

Tasteful Selections, a grower and seller of bite-size potatoes, ranked highest among the three, coming in at number 2,440. Its growth year-over-year growth was pegged at 163 percent, according to Inc.’s website; its annual revenue was listed as $127.5 million.

Stria, a business process outsourcing company specializing in document management, ranked 4,350th with 70 percent growth and revenues of $6.1 million.

Grapevine is an information technology management firm with revenues of $4.8 million per year. Its 57-percent growth rate landed it 4,830th on the Inc. ranking.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/three-kern-companies-make-the-inc-list-of-fast-growing/article_18d4a54c-c45d-11e9-b615-2be90d1e5eca.html

Amazon acknowledges new facility north of Bakersfield

By John Cox

The Bakersfield Californian

August 15, 2015

When Amazon was trying to get approval to build a massive distribution center next to Meadows Field Airport, the company’s approach was so stealthy that senior Kern County officials reviewing its permit application did not know they were actually dealing with the Seattle-based e-commerce giant.

Even after county officials told reporters one year ago this month that Amazon was coming to town, the company known for its secrecy chose to remain publicly silent about its plans for Kern.

All of that ended with an email exchange Thursday.

“Amazon absolutely acknowledges this project,” spokeswoman Shevaun Brown wrote to The Californian, “but we do not have any new information at this time.”

She was unable to provide a projected opening date or a time when the company will begin hiring people to work at the four-story building that has been under construction since October along Merle Haggard Drive. But she did confirm some details that have already been reported, clarify a misperception and fill in some important blanks.

The company, Brown noted, intends to employ 1,000 full-time, full-benefit jobs when it opens the building, which she said measures 640,000 square feet.

That last detail comes as something of a surprise. Several people have estimated the building’s size at 2.6 million square feet. But that assumes each of the four floors will offer the same amount of floor space, which apparently it will not.

County records suggest the building will house robots that will assist in the distribution process. Their towering presence will reduce the amount of interior floor space considerably. But it is still a massive building and one of the largest in Kern County.

Most of the jobs there will support “order fulfillment,” Brown wrote: “picking, packing and shipping items to customers such as books, small electronics, school supplies and home goods.”

She said there will also be jobs supporting the building operations in the areas of human resources, information technology and management.

Employees at the site will earn a minimum of $15 per hour and have access to comprehensive medical, vision and dental insurance “starting on day one,” Brown wrote.

They will also be able to enroll in a retirement savings plan, a program allowing employees to share their paid leave with their spouse or partner, and prepaid tuition covering 95 percent of the cost of courses related to in-demand fields “regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon,” she added.

Although she was unable to state when the plant might open for business, she did say hiring typically begins one to two months before operations commence — and that this launch typically takes 18 months to two years after the project is announced.

This timetable could suggest the building will begin distribution work sometime between February and August of next year.

The email exchange concluded with an implicit call for patience on the part of job-seekers.

“Even though a building may look finished on the outside,” she wrote, “we’re likely still constructing the different floors, etc.”

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/amazon-acknowledges-construction-project-north-of-bakersfield/article_91f52e16-ba3e-11e9-aacd-d3c1350830ef.html

NEW STATE GROUP TO PROMOTE OPPORTUNITY ZONES

image via caloz.org

image via caloz.org

Published On March 25, 2019 – 11:58 AM
Written By The Business Journal Staff

A new California organization has been formed to help investors and developers take advantage of federal Opportunity Zones.

CalOZ “will promote competitive, equitable and sustainable Opportunity Zone investments in California,” according to a release from the organization.

“Our state must embrace new strategies to rebuild an upward economy that works for all Californians,” said Kunal Merchant, president and Co-Founder of CalOZ. “Opportunity zones offer an important new tool, not only to promote economic mobility and the green economy in areas of our state that need it most, but also to re-evaluate and re-imagine how business, government, and community work together to foster a more competitive, equitable and sustainable economy in California.”

In President Donald Trump’s 2016 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, he outlined what was labeled Opportunity Zones, which offered tax breaks on capital gains for investments in distressed areas.

In Fresno, a number of the areas were established, including the Kings Canyon and Blackstone avenue corridors.

On average, Opportunity Zones have a poverty rate of nearly 31 percent with families making 59 percent of the median income for the area, according to the release, citing information from Economic Innovation Group.

“Opportunity zones offer an intriguing new pathway for our state to expand our middle class and restore the California Dream for all residents,” said Ashley Swearengin, Central Valley Community Foundation’s CEO and former Mayor of Fresno. “I’m thrilled to see CalOZ showing leadership on this issue and excited to support their work both in the Central Valley and state as a whole.”

CalOZ’s first priority will be coordinating with the state to create “high-impact” policies in addition to the ones being offered by the federal government. The plan is to create a “triple-bottom line mindset” for social, environmental and financial opportunities, according to the release.

“With more than three million Californians residing in opportunity zones, California can and must seize the chance to deploy an unprecedented source of private capital into the communities that need it most, “ said Jim Mayer, President and CEO of California Forward. “We’re proud to partner with CalOZ to support state and local action to ensure California emerges as a national leader in this program.”

The U.S. Department of the Treasury certified more than 8,700 qualified areas throughout the country. Of those, California has around 10 percent within its boundaries. And Fresno County is ranked third in terms of having the largest designated Opportunity Zones, according to Merchant.

Those designations will last through the end of 2028.

New state group to promote Opportunity Zones

FOR SECOND TIME IN SIX MONTHS, TRCC SECURES LEASE WITH COMPANY RE-LOCATING FROM LOS ANGELES

TEJON RANCH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb. 14, 2019– Tejon Ranch Co. (NYSE: TRC) today announced that it has agreed to terms on a lease with a company that will relocate its western US distribution operations from the Los Angeles area to the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center (TRCC) in the fourth quarter of this year. The company, which wishes to remain anonymous for the time being due to competitive reasons, will occupy approximately 390,000 square feet of space in a new 580,000-square-foot building TRC is developing in partnership with Majestic Realty Co. The new building represents the third partnership between TRC and Majestic Realty. Construction has commenced, and the building will be ready for occupancy in approximately eight months.

“This decision to move its western distribution warehouse from the Los Angeles area to TRCC underscores Tejon Ranch’s value as a proven and opportune place for companies wanting to locate and/or expand in California,” said Joseph N. Rentfro, executive vice president of real estate at Tejon Ranch Co. “Coming on the heels of L’Oréal USA’s decision last fall to move its professional salon distribution subsidiary, SalonCentric, from its Valencia facility to Tejon, it reinforces our location as a place where companies find great value in our compelling logistics model, our outstanding labor force, and where they have opportunity to grow and expand.”

“Majestic Realty is extremely pleased the partnership has been able to pre-lease a large portion of the new building we’re developing in partnership with Tejon Ranch Co.,” said Brett Tremaine, senior vice president at Majestic Realty Co. “Working in Tejon Ranch, the time required to deliver a building ready for occupancy is as efficient and expeditious a process as you’ll find anywhere in the state, and perhaps the country. And with L’Oréal, and now a second company moving up from Los Angeles, we believe many more companies currently located in the Los Angeles basin will want to avail themselves of the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center’s strategic location at the southern gateway to Kern County.”

“It makes perfect sense for growing companies located in Los Angeles to consider relocating operations to Tejon Ranch,” said John DeGrinis, SIOR, executive managing director of Newmark Knight Frank, who represented TRCC and the other party in this transaction. “As available space is at a premium in Los Angeles–and commanding premium prices–Tejon Ranch represents an attractive alternative for companies needing additional space and seeking value for their businesses.”

“TRCC’s central location with direct access to Interstate 5 allows companies to get their goods to market easily and quickly,” Rentfro added. “In addition, employees and professional drivers have access to a wide variety of adjacent amenities. And with total operating costs among the lowest in the state, TRCC gives companies opportunities to take their distribution operations to the next level.”

This newest tenant at TRCC imports goods for sale throughout the US and beyond and will therefore have opportunity to take advantage of TRCC’s status as a Foreign Trade Zone. All industrial sites within TRCC, totaling nearly 1,100 acres, are included in FTZ #276, which was re-established and expanded last year by the U.S. Department of Commerce in conjunction with Kern County. FTZ #276 is locally administered by the County of Kern and is one of the largest activated FTZs in California.

The Tejon Ranch Commerce Center is Tejon Ranch Co.’s 1,450-acre master planned commercial/industrial development located at the junction of Interstate 5 and Highway 99 in Kern County, about an hour north of the Los Angeles basin. It’s entitled for more than 20 million square feet of commercial and industrial space, with about 15 million square feet still available. In addition to the previously mentioned L’Oréal USA, the Commerce Center is also home to major distribution centers for IKEA, Famous Footwear, Dollar General (NYSE: DG), Vision Media and Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT).

http://tejonranch.com/for-second-time-in-six-months-trcc-secures-lease-with-company-re-locating-from-los-angeles/

UPS TO PULL TRIGGER ON NEW VISALIA HUB, 600 JOBS


Image via flickr.comPublished On December 5, 2018 – 1:11 PM
Written By John Lindt

United Parcel Service (UPS) is moving forward on plans for its new Visalia distribution hub this month.

Blueprints call for a 425,000 square foot facility expected to employ 600 people.

Mayor Warren Gubler said he and City Manger Randy Groom met with UPS representatives about a month ago. ”They told us they want to build their plant next year and it will bring 300 more jobs to Visalia,” Gubler said.

UPS bought 58 acres last year at the northeast corner of Plaza and Riggin avenues, the first development that would be north of Riggin in the industrial park.

Asked about the plan, a UPS spokesman said they had no comment.

But local Teamsters, who have a contract with UPS, say they have been advised of the plan.” UPS Visalia has about 274 employees now and they have told us they want to add 300 to 400 more,” says Teamsters Local 948 Secretary Adam Ochoa.

”They want to start construction right away” adding that UPS wants to be operating in time for next year’s busy holiday season.

The UPS Visalia facility is expected to be the new Central Valley regional hub for ground shipments with room to expand if necessary. UPS is expanding its logistics hubs all around the country as they struggle to handle the ever-increasing demand from online shopping.

Community Development Director Nick Mascia says the city is working directly with UPS and their contractor on a plan that would place the new distribution facility on the north end of the property with vehicular access from both Riggin Avenue and Plaza Drive.

UPS has a smaller 40,000 square foot distribution center on Goshen Avenue they will no longer need once the large new highly automated facility opens. Mascia says in their building design process they are working first on a design for the conveyor systems to handle packages at the new Visalia plant.

And business is brisk. Nationally UPS package volume has increased 4.9 percent in the second quarter of this year even as their domestic revenue was up 8.1 percent.

UPS investment in new facilities and technology appears to be paying off as they compete to deliver on time.

UPS delivered 98.3 percent of packages shipped during Thanksgiving week on time, according to ShipMatrix Inc. Last year during the same week, 89.2 percent of parcels shipped through UPS Express were delivered on the day they were promised, meaning about 3.3 million packages a day arrived late.

The Wall Street Journal say UPS has added 22 new or retrofitted automated facilities in the U.S to handle the crushing volume of packages arriving at our front doors.

In August 2017, UPS purchased the 58 acres in Visalia’s industrial park. The big block of land was bought from developer Central California Logistics Center who had available some 480 acres of land north of Riggin Avenue on both sides of Plaza Drive. With UPS in place, demand for the remaining 400-plus acres should pick up.

Because of UPS’ plans, there will likely be more of these hubs sprouting along what has been open-range land on the sparsely populated northwestern edge of Visalia.

With little congestion and plenty of land available, UPS made a decision to invest in this property with their distribution hubs in Fresno and Visalia. Those hubs have been very busy and highly impacted by nearby development that has boxed them in — thwarting any kind of future major expansion.

For years, Visalia has promoted its center-state location and the presence of a major UPS transportation hub with access to 98 percent of California’s population via overnight delivery — 95 million consumers.

This presence is also credited with attracting scores of other distribution centers that use UPS for overnight shipping, claims about which both Visalia and Fresno boast.

One company, Diversified Development Group of Fresno, has invested heavily in buying land and developing “spec,” — or speculation — buildings before firm commitments. DDG has three developments within a block of the new Visalia UPS complex and expects more deals as large as 1 million square feet.

Recently, power toolmaker Hilti Inc. leased a new 166,000 square foot warehouse just built by DDG next to VF Corp. on American Avenue at Riggin Avenue. DDG also has plans for a new 700,000 square foot set of four “spec” buildings expected to break ground in 2019 at the southeast corner of Plaza and Riggin avenues.

Helping to highlight the location of these properties is the completion of the new $36 million Betty Drive interchange, less than two miles away at Highway 99. This will speed truck traffic in and out of the Visalia Industrial Park.