XB-1 Program Developments

Boom Supersonic completed the inaugural flight of XB-1, the world’s first independently developed supersonic jet, at Mojave Air & Space Port. The flight occurred in the “same hallowed airspace where the Bell X-1 first broke the sound barrier in 1947,” according to the company’s founder and CEO, Blake Scholl. The flight testing will aid the development of Overture, a supersonic jet designed to transport passengers up to 1,300 mph at an altitude of 60,000 feet. For more information about today’s milestone achievement


US Cold Storage in Tulare plans $76 mil expansion after food package deal

United States Cold Storage Inc. expects to complete an 8.56- million-cubic-foot refrigerated addition at its Tulare North warehouse in Tulare come February 2025.

This $75.7 million expansion will include some of the industry’s latest storage and retrieval automation and bring the operation’s total space to more than 24.7 million cubic feet, the largest single footprint in the company’s network.

“I am thrilled for our fifth strategic expansion in Tulare,” said Rod Noll, USCS senior vice president for the Western Region. “This expansion reflects the continued growth of some of our major customers who are broadening their manufacturing capabilities. Specifically, we have a consumer-packaged goods customer relocating its business to northern California and to this facility.

“Meanwhile, we also look forward to contributing to the local Tulare business community and creating additional job opportunities.”

Tulare City Manager Marc Mondell added praise. “US Cold Storage has been a fantastic local employer and partner for over 20 years,” he said.  We are thrilled that they are making another large investment into their Tulare facility and look forward to many more years of successful collaboration.”

US Cold Storage plans to break ground for the attached expansion this month, which will ultimately include two new refrigerated rooms capable of storage down to -20F degrees. Officials expect by this November to complete a conventional storage space spanning 3.08 million cubic feet. A second, 5.48 million-cubic- foot room is scheduled to open in February 2025. That space will feature very narrow aisle storage serviced by a warehouse guidance system and semi-automated, turret-style storage and retrieval forklifts.

Upon completion, Tulare North will have approximately 98,500 available pallet positions. The addition also includes 23 more shipping and receiving doors for the operation’s dock, which will boast 73 doors after completion.

“Tulare North is one of our largest facilities in the West Region,” Noll added. “Being a multi-dimensional facility, it can handle a large range of storage temperature requirements. Offering the flexibility of food grade ambient, refrigerated, frozen, and ice cream storage temps allows us to customize our services for many types of customers and many stages of production.”

USCS first built its Tulare North operation in 2002 as a 3.4 million-cubic-foot dry warehouse. Tulare North also offers import and export services, rail handling and product re-pack services. It also is certified according to the BRCGS Food Safety Global Standard. USCS also services the area from a second Tulare operation, a 7.3 million-cubic-foot Tulare South facility, which also offers ambient and refrigerated storage. USCS’s cold storage and logistics network spans 40 sites from coast to coast, including nine California locations from Sacramento and south to Bakersfield.  The company is a subsidiary of the U.K.’s John Swire & Sons Ltd.


$100M Scannell Warehouse Project Seeks Local Contractors

With the Fresno City Council’s final approval Feb. 22 of the $100 million, 900,000 square-foot foot warehouse development by Scannell Properties, it’s time to start learning about bid opportunities.

The Fresno County Economic Development Corp. is hosting a bidders webinar for local contractors Friday, March 15 at 2 p.m. Valencia-based general contractor on the project Storie and Severson Construction will take part.

Nearly two dozen specialty areas are being sought, including asphalt paving, concrete (large scale site and tilt-up), cubs, electrical, HVAC, plumbing and roofing.

Contactors will also be able to learn about local pre-apprenticeship program.

Located off Marks Avenue just north of Highway 180, the speculative project by the national developer is expected to create up to 1,000 long-term industrial jobs and employ 1,000 construction workers.


Massive shipping terminal nears completion in Visalia

VISALIA – Visalia is establishing itself as a core shipping hub in California, as evidenced by a 1-million-square-foot shipping facility on track for completion in June.

Bob O’Neill, the senior vice president of acquisitions for industrial real estate agency CapRock Partners, told The Sun-Gazette that Visalia is perfectly situated for shipping. CapRock is the agency responsible for the construction of the new facility.

“One thing we like about Visalia is its central location,” O’Neill said. “It is one of the only locations where a truck driver can do a one-day turnaround within their eight-hour shift.”

O’Neill explained that the two major ports in California are Long Beach and the Bay Area, both of which can be reached from Visalia.

“Corporate occupiers like it because they can play the shipping lines and ports off of each other and have diversification and pricing power,” O’Neill said. “It is also a location that can service over 50 million people in the western U.S. That is something that is very attractive to us and the tenants we attract.”

The current buildout is just the beginning of CapRock’s investment. The property will ultimately bring more than 5 million square feet of warehouse space. The project is staggered, so once a tenant is occupying the first building, the next building will begin construction.

“It is a long-term commitment,” O’Neill said. “We really like working with the city, we believe in the region; so these are long-term investments for us.”

O’Neill said that the city has been helpful in navigating the permitting process and has been highly supportive throughout the project. CapRock first began investing in construction projects in Visalia in 2017. O’Neill said the biggest challenges up to this point have been the market timing.

“The biggest challenges have been navigating inflation which has caused significant construction cost increases and significant increases in financing costs for our construction loan,” O’Neill said. “We have been able to work through those and find a window in time that has enabled us to move forward with this project and deliver it this summer.”

A tenant has not yet been identified for the current space, but O’Neill said he anticipates a Fortune 500 corporation to occupy the property. CapRock has received “very preliminary” inquiries, according to O’Neill.

Depending on the occupant, O’Neill believes the project could employ anywhere from 300 to over 1,000 people. While the building is expected to be some type of shipping hub, O’Neill said similar buildings have been used for light manufacturing and assembly.

Companies such as Tesla frequently occupy large warehouse buildings to construct solar chargers and battery stations, which are then shipped to locations where they are installed.

“We build our facilities to be flexible in terms of what kinds of tenants can occupy them,” O’Neill said. “One of the types of tenants that we have fielded inquiries from in other markets has been the manufacturing type, with some assembly, and also a component of distribution.”

The building currently has the walls up and the roof finished. O’Neill said the next phase of the project will be paint, which he said will happen soon. At that point, O’Neill anticipates rapid increases in interest from tenants who can see the light at the end of the tunnel for the project.

Two other developments, known as CapRock Central Point 1 and 2, were completed in 2021. The shipping hub is located at 4001 Plaza Drive, which offers easy access to freeways, rail lines and airports. The building is expected to be completed in June.


Plan calls for football stadium, 2 community parks, pair of lakes 668 housing units plus 339,886 square feet of commercial uses

The housing includes:

*80 apartments incorporated with mixed use commercial.

*378 units in more traditional apartment complexes.

Cambay Group — the developer of River Islands — will retain ownership of the apartments.

Having 668 living units integrated with commercial uses along with recreational amenities is designed to make the town center neighborhood walkable for those that reside there. A stadium that River Islands will use for home football games will be under the control of a private entity just like the Islanders baseball field and adjoining soccer complex.

As such, they are designed to be employed for a variety of community uses that could range from concerts and car shows to festivals and more. The Lathrop Polce Department headquarters is also part of the town center. There will be two manmade lakes.

River Islands President Susan Dell’Osso has noted in the past that the goal is to lure restaurants that can offer lakeside dining among other uses. There are no “box-style” commercial endeavors envisioned for the town center. With the close proximity of the stadium and baseball field, such a design lends itself to attendees of the games to walk to nearby restaurants before or after games. The idea of a town center stadium was inspired by Dell’Osso’s high school days in Southern California where high school games were played at a community college stadium on top of a commercial area. Classmates — and family of players as well as others attending — would often walk to restaurants after games to dine. There will also be two community parks in the town center neighborhood.


Business co-op office opens at Amtrak Station

On Thursday, officials with the City of Hanford, the Valley Community Small Business Development Center, and community members gathered at the Hanford Amtrak Station to celebrate the opening of the Hanford Outreach Office. The two-year “in-kind” facility lease agreement, provided by the city, allows the Valley Community SBDC to provide workshops, one-on-one counseling, webinars, and various technical assistance to small business owners and entrepreneurs.


‘University Community Development’ dream is alive and well

The Virginia Smith Trust — which at one time controlled all the land that UC Merced is on, and the land south of the University on Old Lake Road — is still very active.

There’s a plan that’s moving along to boost an already significant scholarship fund for high school students across the county through the development of a University Community on the remaining VST land, near the campus.

This plan includes the construction of 4,000 dwelling units for all income levels, 862,000 square feet of retail/office space, a K-8 school, a fire station, sports park and recreation center, a MCOE Scholars Academy, and its own police sub-station.

All of this is making its way through the local government approval process and state review. The plan is expected to take 15 years for completion, and the backers of the project are optimistic of receiving the go-ahead. It is the only project which presently has all the environmental clearance for such a project in that northern area of Merced.

It is a major undertaking; however, when it’s completed, it will meet the dreams of the Virginia Smith family in providing scholarships for students to go to get their degree.

Not everyone is on board. There is an element of the city saying, “This is great for the north part of the city, but what about South Merced, and what about affordable housing?”

Steve Peck, the project manager, spoke at the Merced Rotary Club last week and answered questions about the plan and timetable for meetings with the various agencies. He said it was a case of completing the promise made many years ago.

“We don’t want to take anyone for granted,” Peck said. “This is really about providing a means for our local children to gain a college education.”

While the terms of the Virginia Trust make it clear the scholarship program is for four-year college programs, it does not exclude Merced College which now offers some four year degrees.

Without the Virginia Trust there is no way UC Merced would have located in the Merced area. When the decision was made to locate the UC campus, both Madera and Fresno were in the race and seemed to have the upper hand. Bob Carpenter and other people like Tim O’Neill were major players in bringing the university to Merced.

Even after Merced was named as the location for the university, a major legal challenge forced it to locate on a public golf course, and not on the other side of the lake where many thought it should be built. The opponents used the Fairy Shrimp species as a means of challenging the use of most of the land given to the UC Merced by the Virginia Smith Trust, which is essentially made up of Merced County Office of Education Board members.

In getting the California Regents to decide on Merced for its location, the local committee came up with a stroke of genius and asked the school children to sign post cards urging the Regents to locate in Merced. At a critical time those postcards arrived at the Regents meeting and the result was tremendous. Merced was decided as the best location.

As the Virginia Smith project winds its way though the labyrinth of meetings, the first one was held on July 12 at the county’s Planning Commission, to be followed by a second meeting of the commission on Aug. 9. The Merced County Board of Supervisors will hear the proposal on Aug. 22. Then a tentative meeting with the Merced City Council is set up for Oct. 6 over the need to annex the area, perhaps in December.

If all goes well, the Virginia Smith Project will start on January of 2025, and they are hoping to have the first homes for sale or rent on June in 2026. Completion of the project is slated for 2042.



PressBox Sports Grill owners Thomas and Davita Miller are in the process of opening a new Fresno restaurant they describe as modern California cuisine meets French technique. The Millers have been working with a local designer on the feel of “Bulle”, coming this summer to a former Chase bank building at Marks and Herndon avenues.

“Our design concept is a luxury modern garden feel,” Miller said. “The ambience will be lively.”

He describes the restaurant as “extreme farm to table,” using the finest local ingredients possible. Taking an heirloom approach to its cuisine, Bulle will avoid genetically modified foods and embrace sustainability. The protein will be free range and hormone free.

“So the goal is going to be using the most free of all the radical particles that we deal with in our society today,” said Miller.

French technique will be prevalent — think braising, boiling and other unique touches. The name “Bulle,” which means “bubble” in French, was chosen because bubbles are a joyful but possibly overlooked part of people’s lives, he said. They represent boiling temperatures for food and liquids. People love them in champagne.

The plan for Bulle is to open around July or August this year. Plumbing is being installed before any major cosmetics are completed. Miller said on Monday he’s paying for permits to get the ball rolling this week for bigger plans. Miller anticipates more features to be added as the process of creating the restaurant continues.

It’s going to be a busy year for the Sunset Square Shopping Center. Across from Bulle, in a former Rite Aid building, the 27,000 square-foot Syctron Freeplay Arena is set to open for families possibly by the end of March. The lease for the play arena and three new restaurants for the Sunset Square Shopping Center earned the 2023 CoStar Impact Award for lease of the year in 2023, selected for the real estate information firm by a panel of local industry professionals.

“This large retail vacancy was a blight on the area for many years,” said Jeff Pace, president of Colliers, a local judge. “Once occupied, the tenancy will add an innovative use to this neighborhood center and increase foot traffic for the benefit of other small retail tenants in the center. The use really compliments the neighborhood by providing a new facility for healthy indoor family recreation.”


Library patrons can look forward to enhancements

Kings County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with 4Creeks, Incorporated to prepare a plan, specification, and estimate package for the Kings County Library remodel project Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Jan. 30, the Board approved the agreement and adopted the budget change. Hanford Library Manager Tanya Russell told The Sentinel she and staff see a need at both libraries.

“The Hanford and Lemoore libraries are in critical need of infrastructure modernization and life safety measures,” Russell said. “This is what prompted the application for the grant funds, and we are very happy to have been awarded.”

4Creeks, one of two bidders, will be compensated $1,317,000 in architectural design services as outlined in the agreement. The project will primarily cover fire systems, HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical systems, and address ADA accessibility and safety. In 2022, the Library received a California State Library Building Forward Infrastructure grant award for life safety and critical infrastructure needs.

The Library was awarded $13,639,097, according to a Building Forward Library Facilities Improvement Program document. There was $489 million made available in grant funding, marking the single largest investment ever in California libraries. The Hanford Library was built in 1968, and the Lemoore Library was built in 1952, and remodeled in 1981.

Library contingency funds, $279,300, are designated for architectural designs and estimates that cover optional items at both libraries. Russell said these optional remodel items include new study rooms, children’s sections and teen sections. Another optional remodel item at the Hanford library is the addition of a multi-purpose room with after-hour access.

A librarian’s office and a secondary entrance are optional items at the Lemoore Library.

“Throughout the years, the community has expressed the need for ADA-compliant restrooms to also include infant changing areas and security cameras to make people feel safer has been a request,” Russell said. “Enclosed quiet study rooms have been a request as well.”

Russell said that the library was also recently awarded $6,500 for the lunch at the library summer program. Stratford, Kettleman City, Avenal, and Armona schools are partnering with the library to give children free books for home and to provide essential nutrition information. Russell said officials and staff intend to host two to three community outreach updates throughout the remodeling project.

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.