Press Room

Cutting Edge Company Creates Opportunity Zone Fund

PRESS RELEASE

 

July 19, 2019

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact:

Bobby Kahn

Executive Director

Madera County EDC

559-675-7768

bkahn@madercountyedc.com

 

Bill Pitman

CEO/Managing Member – Benton Enterprises

(559) 664-0800

bill@elkridgealmonds.com

 

Cutting Edge Company Creates Opportunity Zone Fund

A Madera County business specializing in state-of-the-art food safety technology has launched the region’s first qualified Opportunity Zone business and on June 19, 2019, The Berenda Opportunity Fund, LLC was formed. Also organized at that time, a second new entity named H-ATS to acquire certain assets of Benton Enterprises, LLC including, intellectual property under the name Adaptable Technology Systems (ATS), Heart Ridge Farms (HRF) and Elk Ridge Almonds (ERA).

ATS developed a proprietary process to reduce pathogens through a science and energy based technology to maximize food safety, preserve the integrity and taste of the food products. These techniques will significantly improve safe food handling for a wide variety of foods. Both Heart Ridge Farms and Elk Ridge Almonds currently utilize this technology for the retail brand (HRF) and bulk processing of almonds and pistachios (ERA).

Opportunity Zones are census tracts that were nominated by governors of each state and certified by the United States Treasury into which investors can invest in new projects to spur economic development in exchange for certain federal capital gains tax advantages. The opportunity zone tax incentive was adopted on December 22, 2017 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that provides tax incentives for investments in underserved communities.

Opportunity Zone Funds are investment vehicles that require at least 90% of their capital in “Qualified Property,” which includes stock, partnerships, interests and business property. The fund model enables a broad array of investors to pool their resources in Qualified Zone Property, increasing the scale of capital going to investments in which the Opportunity Zone Fund will invest. An Opportunity Zone Fund provides material tax benefits for investors with capital gains from other investments.

William B. Pitman, with over 40 years of farming and food processing experience, founded Benton Enterprises in 2013. Recognizing the need for improved food safety while preserving and enhancing its product integrity, led to the development of a low temperature process for several types of locally grown nuts marketed for retail sales under brands Heart Ridge Farms (retail) and under Elk Ridge Almonds (bulk). “The H-ATS combination of the Benton businesses and the ATS technologies creates a food safety solution worldwide” said Pitman. “The need for better food safety while preserving the quality is critical and we feel we can help meet those needs with our proprietary technologies,” he added.

Pitman met with the Madera County Economic Development Commission to obtain information about Opportunity Zones and had this to say, “Bobby Kahn was very helpful in getting me started in the right direction”. “Bobby explained the basics of how an Opportunity Zone Fund works and provided me with names of people that could provide the expertise in the formation of an Opportunity Zone Fund” Pitman added.  It is interesting to note that Pitman represents a 7th generation Madera county family that has deep roots in agriculture.  The project consultants are the accounting firm of Moss Adams LLP (Fresno) and the legal firm, Cutting Edge Counsel (Oakland).

 

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About Opportunity Zones: Opportunity Zones are a new tool for community development. Established in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones provide tax incentives for investment in designated census tracts. https://opzones.ca.gov/

 

About The Berenda Opportunity Zone Fund: Located inside a qualified Opportunity Zone. Under this new tax codes, this is a qualified fund for the new investors to enter through.

 

About H-ATS:  An opportunity zone business that includes Heart Ridge Farms (HRF), Elk Ridge Almonds (ERA) and Adaptable Technology Systems (ATS).

 

About Benton Enterprises: Benton Enterprises will manage both H-ATS and The Berenda Opportunity Fund.

 

About Madera County EDC: Madera County Economic Development Commission (MCEDC) is a joint Powers Authority comprised of the County of Madera, the City of Madera, and the City of Chowchilla. MCEDC’s mission is to support dynamic and diverse industry sectors that provide family sustaining wages and a high quality of life. MCEDC assists business with development projects, site selection, demographics, and business incentives. www.maderacountyedc.com

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.

AA Great Wolf 02.JPG
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.

AA Great Wolf 06.JPG
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

Amazon says it will “upskill”100,000 of its workers

 

  • To offer training programs for one in three of its U.S. employees
  • “We think it’s important to invest in our employees”

Amazon employees will be offered training to move into highly skilled technical and non-technical roles across the company’s corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retail stores, and transportation network, or even pursue career paths outside of Amazon, the online retailer says Thursday.

Based on a review of its workforce and analysis of U.S. hiring, Amazon says its fastest growing highly skilled jobs over the last five years include data mapping specialist, data scientist, solutions architect and business analyst, as well as logistics coordinator, process improvement manager and transportation specialist within its customer fulfillment network.

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) says it will spend more than $700 million on the training of about 100,000 or its U.S. workforce.

Programs will include “Amazon Technical Academy,” which equips non-technical employees with the essential skills to transition into software engineering careers;“Associate2Tech,” which trains fulfillment center workers to move into technical roles regardless of their previous IT experience; “Machine Learning University” offering employees with technical backgrounds the opportunity to access machine learning skills via an on-site training program; “Amazon Career Choice,” a pre-paid tuition program designed to train fulfillment center employees in high-demand occupations of their choice; “Amazon Apprenticeship,” a Department of Labor-certified program that offers paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships with Amazon; and “AWS Training and Certification,” which provide employees with courses to build practical AWS Cloud knowledge that is essential to operating in a technical field.

“We think it’s important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves,” says Beth Galetti, senior vicepresident for human relations.

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/0fb7bcba-e11a-4fce-9356-c28e89fcb4ec.pdf

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.

VS LivingstonJobs 1.JPG
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

Fresno has some of the best farmers markets around. Here’s where to find them

 

One of the best things about Fresno? Its farmers markets.

Since we feed the nation with what we grow here, it’s no surprise we have some pretty awesome markets.

Sometimes walking through a Fresno farmers market is a sensual experience.

There’s so much to take in: Piles of glossy vegetables, new fruits you’ve never seen before and bundles of mint and basil so fragrant they deserve a vase in the middle of the dining room table.

Mid July is like Christmas when it comes fresh fruit. So many are in season: peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, figs, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe and more.

If you’re a baker, this is your chance to make something photo worthy.

But even in the dead of winter, farmers markets here carry a surprising amount of produce, like hearty dinosaur kale and rainbow chard.

Our farmers markets often carry things you can’t always find at the supermarket: Unusual varieties of pluots (a cross between apricots and plums), heirloom tomatoes with streaks of green and red, yellow raspberries, curly garlic scapes, taro root, and lately, lemon cucumbers – little round cukes that taste like their name.

Part of the fun is not being afraid to ask a farmer what something is or how to prepare it. Then you can impress your friends and family with new and different flavors.

Whichever farmers market you choose, bring lots of small bills and plastic bags.

Our list of markets below covers Fresno and Clovis, though there are certainly many more in outlying cities. Some are seasonal and some are year round. Most markets accept the state’s Electronic Benefit Transfer, or EBT, card or the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.

Kaiser Permanente Fresno Farmers Market

When:From 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays, March through November, starting at 9 a.m. from December through February.

Where: Fresno Medical Center, 7300 N. Fresno St.

Contact: (559) 448-4128.

Details: With all kinds of vegetables and fruit for sale, there are also baked goods, handmade soaps, and flowers. Food trucks and other vendors are there, including Spoon & Fork’s Filipino food, Raw Fresno and Ohana Pantry selling its acai bowls.

Manchester Center Farmers Market

When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, year round.

Where: In the parking lot at Manchester Center, at Blackstone and Shields avenues.

Contact: (559) 360-1377.

Details: With lots of fruit and vegetable vendors, you’ll also find puppet performances for the kids and the Fresno County Bookmobile is there the first Friday of every month from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lots of Mexican food vendors serve burritos, tacos, Mexican seafood dishes, fruit cups and aguas frescas.

The Market On Kern

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, from May to October.

Where: Kern Street, between M and N streets, in downtown Fresno.

Contact: downtownfresno.org or 559-490-9966 ext. 221.

Details: This seasonal market has live music or a DJ each week. It has vegetables, fruit, fresh-squeezed juices, honey and prepared foods like Kettle Corn, Casa de Tamales and vegan friendly Rappit Up!

Old Town Clovis Farmers Market on Fridays

When: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m Fridays, from May through September.

Where: On Pollasky Avenue, between Third and Seventh streets.

Contact: oldtownclovis.org or (559) 298-5774.

Details: This huge farmers market is as much about entertainment as it is about food. There is live music and lots of vendors selling all kinds of vegetables and fruit. Plus there locally made goods like soaps and garden items like succulents. Plenty of food trucks show up and you’ll also find shaved ice, and vendors like the Butternut Baking Co., which sells cookies and other baked goods.

Old Town Farmers Market on Saturdays

When: 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays year round.

Where: Pollasky between Fifth Street & Bullard Avenue.

Contact: oldtownclovis.org or (559) 298-5774.

Details: This is a year-round market that’s smaller than its Friday-night counterpart. It features plenty of fruit and vegetables, including strawberries, along with herbs, fresh-squeezed juices and fresh flowers. Prepared food is also for sale including tamales, baked goods and other snacks.

River Park Farmers Market on Tuesdays

When: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays year round. Once a month, the market celebrates one food, with quadruple the number of mobile food vendors that day and expanded hours from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. those days. The next one is “peach palooza” on Tuesday, July 23.

Where: River Park between Yoshino’s and H&M.

Contact: www.riverparkfm.com or (559) 994-9292.

Details: This market has grown substantially in recent years. In addition to local farmers selling their fruit and vegetables, you’ll also find live music, free bounce houses and handmade items. Several food trucks and vendors participate, like cupcake truck the Cupcake Route, Quesadilla Gorilla and Tako Korean BBQ.

River Park Farmers Market on Saturdays

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. year round, Saturdays.

Where: River Park between Yoshino’s and H&M.

Contact: www.riverparkfm.com or (559) 994-9292.

Details: Started last year, the market has vendors selling fruit and vegetables, including Asian veggies, and nuts, jams and jellies. Expect prepared foods like fruit cups and carne asada tacos and elote (corn with cheese and chile powder) from Sanchez Corn.

The Farmers Market at Saint Rest Plaza

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the second Saturday of the month through October.

Where: Saint Rest Plaza, Elm and Reverend Chester Riggins avenues in south Fresno.

Contact: (559) 420-0760.

Details: The youngest farmers market around, this one at the newly constructed Saint Rest PlazaOoooby sells its organic produce and fruit, along with a farm called Peach on Earth selling stone fruit. A group of kids called the Sweet Potato Club is also selling its sweet potato goods, including milkshakes.

One or two food trucks are usually there and the market is looking for new vendors.

Tower Farmers Market

When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays, May through September.

Where: In the parking lot of Detention Billiards, 750 E. Olive Ave.

Contact: (559) 633-9895.

Details: Fruit and veggies are for sale, with other vendors selling their goods.

Valley Fresh Farmers Market at Valley’s Children’s Healthcare

When: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays, year round.

Where: Valley Children’s Hospital, 9300 Valley Children’s Pl, Madera. Take the Children’s Blvd. exit from Highway 41.

Contact: www.facebook.com/ValleyFreshFM/ or (559) 994-9292.

Details: This market has veggies and fruit, but focuses more on prepared items, like honey, fresh-cut flowers, and food trucks. Expect to find vendors like Rita’s Italian IceThe Quirky Cafe and Roma’s Italian Street Cuisine.

The Vineyard Farmers Market

When: From 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays

Where: At 100 W. Shaw Ave., its on the northwest corner of Blackstone and Shaw avenues, tucked behind Eyeglass World.

Contact: https://vineyardfarmersmarket.com.

Details: One of the bigger markets around, this market has almost everything grown here sold by the farmers who grew it. That includes stone fruit-like peaches, plums and nectarines, all kinds of berries, artichokes, herbs, flowers, fresh-squeezed juices and greens. You’ll also find honey, jam, bread from La Boulangerie, knife sharpening and coffee available by the cup or the pound. Various food vendors attend the market too, including Casa de Tamales.

Blue Diamond expands Salida facility

 

Central Valley Business Times

June 18, 2019

  • Building a new bulk almond receiving warehouse
  • “This investment … demonstrates our solid commitment to the Modesto region”

Blue Diamond Growers is expanding the capabilities of its Salida facility, which it says it already the largest almond receiving station in the world, with a new bulk receiving warehouse that will store an additional 50 million pounds of almond meats. It will bring the total number of bulk warehouses at the facility to eight.

The company says the state-of-the-art warehouse will feature a number of enhancements to reduce the cooperative’s carbon footprint and meet its sustainability initiatives including increased energy efficiency, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and stormwater recharge.

The warehouse will have LED lights, an integrated truck scale and loading pit, and 2,400 feet of buried perforated pipe directing storm water to the soil beneath the facility.

“Blue Diamond is excited about the continued growth of our business and this investment by the cooperative demonstrates our solid commitment to the Modesto region,” says Mark Jansen, president and CEO of Blue Diamond Growers. “Expanding our capabilities also provides us with an opportunity to meet the needs of our grower-owners and customers as we deliver innovative new almond products worldwide.”

The unique design of the warehouse features 60-foot ceilings and extends 26 feet into the ground, increasing Blue Diamond’s receiving capacity by 25 percent. Growers can expect “gentle handling” of almond meats, enabling higher yield and throughput on the main production line, and separate areas inside for storing three different varieties of almonds, the co-op says.

The cooperative expects the warehouse to be in operation for the fall 2020 harvest season.

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/9d1e0d27-a128-41cd-8b12-a75742ebf937.pdf

California unemployment rate dips slightly in May

Central Valley Business Times

July 5, 2019

  • Down one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.2 percent
  • Employers add 19,400 nonfarm payroll jobs
  • Central Valley has two counties with jobless rates less than state average

California’s unemployment dipped to 4.2 percent in May while the state’s employers added a net 19,400 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to data released Friday by the California Employment Development Department from two surveys.

California has now gained a total of 3,235,900 jobs since the Great Recession ended and the current economic expansion began in February 2010.

Highlight’s from the monthly report include:

  • California’s 19,400 job gain accounted for 26 percent of the nation’s total 75,000 job gain for the month.
  • The state’s 111-month employment expansion is the second-longest on record behind the 113-month long expansion of the 1960s.
  • California has gained 3,235,900 jobs since the current economic expansion began in February 2010, averaging over 29,000 jobs gained per month over the period – far more than the 8-9,000 jobs needed each month to accommodate people entering the labor force.
  • Seven of California’s 11 major industry sectors gained jobs in May. The biggest increase of 12,800 jobs came in construction, reflecting an increase in home building. That’s followed by a gain of 4,500 jobs in leisure and hospitality on the strength of the state’s tourism industry, and a 1,800 job gain in government.

In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 321,372 people receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the survey week in May compared to 364,431 in April and 337,974 people in May 2018. Concurrently, 38,396 people filed new claims in May which was a month-over decrease of 5,635.

Here are MAY’s unemployment rates for Central Valley counties, followed by, in parentheses, the rates for April:

  • Fresno – 6.4 percent; (7.7 percent)
  • Kern – 7.2 percent; (8.4 percent)
  • Kings – 6.7 percent; (8.3 percent)
  • Madera – 6.3 percent; (7.6 percent)
  • Merced – 7.3 percent; (9.0 percent)
  • San Joaquin – 5.1 percent; (6.0 percent)
  • Stanislaus – 5.6 percent; (6.4 percent)
  • Tulare – 8.1 percent; (9.8 percent)

For all practical purposes, no one is jobless for more than a nanosecond in San Mateo County. Its jobless rate in May fell to a microscopic 1.7 percent from 1.9 percent in April, the EDD says.

At the other end is Imperial County, with 16.4 percent of its adult workforce jobless. That’s up from 16.2 percent in April.

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

UC Merced ranked one of the nation’s top young universities, new ranking reports

 

More than 1,000 students walked the stage at UC Merced in the university’s 10th commencement ceremonies Saturday in Merced. More will walk the stage Sunday. (Thaddeus Miller/tmiller@mercedsunstar.com) http://www.mercedsunstar.com

The University of California, Merced landed on a list of the top five “young universities” in the country.

The University tied with Rush University in Ill., at number four among U.S. universities in the 2019 Times Higher Education Young University Rankings, according to a UC Merced news release.

This is UC Merced’s first year of eligibility for the ranking, which evaluates research, teaching, citations, industry income and international outlook of the qualifying universities.

“I consider this ranking to be an incredible feat for our young campus because it shows that we are a top-notch university that is already being recognized for excellence at just 14 years old,” said Chancellor Dorothy Leland in a news release.

Universities that ranked ahead of UC Merced on the list were the University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Texas at Dallas and George Mason University.

Last fall, UC Merced was ranked number 67 among public schools by the U.S. News and World Report. The ranking was an increase of 20 spots from the previous year according to the university. 

The university has also been ranked number 15 for social mobility, number 17 for best undergraduate teaching among public universities as well as being ranked number two in the nation for outperforming graduation rate expectations, according to the news release. 

UC Merced was also recognized last year as “University of the Year” by Education Dive.

https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/education/uc-merced/article231992142.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