Fresno EDC, City Council To Explore Enticing Microchip Makers To Town

Fresno City Councilmember Nelson Esparza, in cooperation with Fresno Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Will Oliver, announced plans Tuesday to incentivize businesses to invest and develop semiconductor manufacturing in the city under the federal Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) program.

At a city hall news conference, Esparza and Oliver discussed the Fresno CHIPs Incentive Act, which aims to bring a competitive edge to the city in attracting the semiconductor industry to be part of the growing U.S. supply chain and innovation ecosystem.

Signed into law during the first year of President Biden’s administration, the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 aims to strengthen U.S. manufacturing and supply chains and invest more than $50 billion in research and development to ensure the U.S. continues to lead in nanotechnology, clean energy, quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

Incentives under the local proposal, to be considered by the Fresno City Council at its Thursday meeting, would allow eligible companies to receive tax breaks with the city, with the incentives being determined in part by the number of jobs created.

Joined by Oliver and Esparza were Fresno Chamber of Commerce CEO Scott Miller, San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Association CEO Genelle Taylor Kumpe and City Attorney Andrew Janz.

“This legislation will provide us the edge we need to be competitive in this market as the industry begins to grow again here on U.S. soil. Fresno can lead the way in attracting those companies in the semi-conductor supply chain here in the Central Valley,” Esparza said.

He said the local legislation is complementary to the federal CHIPS act, making companies’ federal applications more competitive for securing local incentives.

Esparza said this legislation will be the first local CHIPS incentive act in California that is not tied to a state or federal municipality.

According to the proposal, the city will be looking at companies willing to commit capital investments of $20 million to $300 million and more.

Incentive amounts could range from 30-35% of capital investments.

Esparza said they are attempting to make a semiconductor hub in Fresno, positioning the city as a center for technological advancement and economic growth.

Oliver noted that the Fresno EDC was awarded $23 million dollars form the Good Jobs Challenge grant, meant to be used for recruiting and training the workforce.

He said the city has a unique position from an economic and logistical standpoint, offering a natural competitiveness and a strategic location between the major seaports of the state — as well as an available workforce.

The Fresno CHIPS Act program will not only attract semiconductor manufacturers, but complementary companies such as suppliers and distributors as well.

Every $15 invested for projects by companies will be matched with $1 locally to match the economic diversification and growth, Oliver said.

“We think this is great precedent moving forward to realign incentives to our community, our race to the top, living wages, access to health care and benefits, and access to jobs created by companies that are here to grow our economy and community,” Oliver said.

West Hills College officials host groundbreaking for new Lemoore Visual Arts and Applied Science Building in Lemoore

On Friday morning this week, West Hills College Lemoore officials and guests hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at its campus in Lemoore to celebrate the construction of a new Visual Arts & Applied Sciences (VAAS) Building.

Guests were told that this state-of-the-art, 44,382-square-foot facility will serve as a hub for laboratory classrooms, career technical education programs, and nursing and health careers, addressing the growing demand for high-paying jobs in our community.

The VAAS building will be a cornerstone in the college’s mission to provide students with innovative educational opportunities and practical skills. Modern laboratories will allow students to gain hands-on, high-paying jobs in the community.

College officials say the VAAS building is set to be a cornerstone in the college’s mission to provide students with innovative educational opportunities and practical skills. Modern laboratories will offer students the chance to gain hands-on experience in various fields. At the same time, dedicated spaces for career technical education and health career programs will ensure that the curriculum is aligned with local industry needs, preparing students for in-demand jobs and contributing to the region’s healthcare workforce.

“This new building is another significant step forward in our commitment to delivering high-quality education and training opportunities to our students,” said West Hills College President James Preston in a press release before Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony.

“The VAAS building will feature an innovative blend of educational programs in the areas of Health Careers, Information Technology, and Visual Arts that will empower our students and community and enhance our capacity to meet local industry demands,” said Preston.

The groundbreaking ceremony signifies the beginning of a new era for the college and represents a substantial investment in the future of education and the economic vitality of the community.

New Visalia industrial warehouse to break ground

Visalia Industrial Park could have a good year in 2024. Fowler-based G-4 Enterprises is moving forward on a planned 310,000 square feet tilt-up warehouse in the industrial park in the new year. The company has filed building plans and should begin construction in January or February, says their broker, Ethan Smith.

The new building is south of Goshen Avenue at 1030 N. Kelsey St. (Road 84). Depending on the weather, Smith estimates, looking for about eight to 10 months of construction time.

Smith said that 2023 was a confusing year for both developers and tenants. They faced supply chain disruptions, high building costs, and interest rates, as well as uncertainty over the direction of the economy.

“We see more development in the Valley in 2024,” Smith said.

Visalia has a leg up when it comes to site selection with a track record of getting deals done on construction, approvals, and both utilities and land in place, he added. Planned industrial projects in Visalia have mostly been on hold in the past year, with only one huge building breaking ground in June, a massive 1.2 million-square-foot building west of Plaza Drive and north of Riggin under construction.

CapRock, developers of two Amazon buildings in Visalia, is developing the spec building. No tenant has been announced. The building could be ready by mid-2024. Seefried Properties is poised to move forward in 2024 on a huge 280-acre project at Riggin, west of Shirk. Seefried built the 400-job Ace Hardware project, now open on Plaza Drive. G-4 also has been stalled in Goshen on a speculative industrial building there. Still, a new agreement to provide sewer service to the community on new projects should also allow this project to move forward.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon Breaks Ground

Hard Rock International and the Tejon Indian Tribe celebrated the groundbreaking of the long-awaited hotel and casino located at Hwy. 166 and Sabodan Road West in the community of Mettler, California on Tejon Tribal land. The celebration featured a commemorative shovel groundbreaking with Hard Rock representatives, Tejon Indian Tribe leadership and general membership plus statewide and local community leaders.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon will be more than 700,000 square feet of which 150,000 square feet will be gaming space, featuring 2,500 of the most popular slots, 48 table games, and video poker, and will be the second closest class III casino to Los Angeles.

“This is an exciting day for the state of California, Kern County and the Tejon Indian Tribe,” said Octavio Escobedo, III Chair of the Tejon Indian Tribe. “This groundbreaking is a symbolic ceremony for the Tribe, which was landless for more than 150 years and has been a priority for us since we were reaffirmed as a federally recognized Indian tribe. From the start of our relationship with the United States government in 1851, our Tribe has fought for a homeland for our people. Today we are one major step closer to the dream of self-determination through economic development. The Tribe would like to thank local community support, the support from Kern County government, the entire California State Legislature, our federal delegation in Washington DC, and especially Governor Gavin Newsom. Including all the non-governmental organizations, SSCR LLC, Hard Rock International and the Seminole Tribe of Florida who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us to help make our dream of restoring our land base and this groundbreaking possible.”

The project is expected to create approximately 2,000 construction-specific jobs and will be managed by the Penta Building Group, a southern California Company. Once both phases are completed, the project is expected to create approximately 5,000 direct and indirect jobs, both full-time and part-time.

Multiple dining options, including a signature Hard Rock Cafe and fine dining restaurant Council Oak Steaks and Seafood, a Rock Shop, and much more will be included in phase one. Rounding out the second phase will be a 400-room hotel, additional fine dining, pool, spa, cigar lounge and 2,800-seat Hard Rock Live event venue that will draw attractions like concert performances, comedy acts and sporting events to name a few. In addition, Hard Rock’s signature memorabilia will be on display throughout the property. The anticipated completion date of phase one is expected to be 22 months after the first shovel in the ground. Phase two is expected to be another 20 months and will complete the entire hotel and casino.

“Hard Rock is proud to partner with the Tejon Indian Tribe on creating a world-class entertainment destination,” said Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International. “The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon property will be another incredible offering in our West Coast portfolio, and we are committed to supporting the local community and creating a lasting positive economic impact for the State of California.”

West Hills College Lemoore Awards Nearly $200,000 in NSF S-STEM CORES Scholarships

West Hills College Lemoore recently awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM CORES Scholarships to 20 STEM students studying Biology, Engineering, Physics and Math.

The scholarships, valued at up to $10,000 annually per student ($5,000 per semester) for a maximum of four semesters, are part of WHCL’s commitment to developing future STEM leaders, the school stated in a release.

Recipient students will find comprehensive support, including a dedicated faculty mentor and complementary tutoring for courses, monthly cohort meetings and seminars, field trips each semester, and paid research opportunities. Thanks to the scholarship, two students will have the chance to attend conferences a year.

“To be eligible, students must be enrolled at West Hills College Lemoore in a STEM major, exhibit academic dedication, and genuine financial need,” said Kurt Sterling, Dean of Education at WHCL. “Our college wants to make it easier for students to tackle their living expenses and basic needs while focusing on academics. We hope that these scholarships contribute to their success.”
This academic year, the college will distribute nearly $200,000 in NSF S-STEM CORES Scholarships, half of which is being disbursed today. A second distribution is planned for the next semester.

“The access to SI tutors, myriad STEM opportunities, and activities have been invaluable. I’m also grateful for the MESA program and future internship opportunities,” said Emily Rocha, a WHCL Biology sophomore and first-time recipient.

Next year, Rocha plans to transfer to a four-year university, aiming for a healthcare career.

The president of WHCL, James Preston, added, “Our mission is to remove barriers and provide opportunities. These scholarships are more than just financial aid; they invest in our students’ futures and potential to contribute to the STEM community.”


A Wyoming-based corporation has received a $15 million state grant to relocate its headquarters to Fresno, where it plans to manufacture semiconductors and energy storage systems. In the process, the company plans to create at least 500 new, full-time jobs and make nearly $21 million of capital investments in the region.

Tynergy was one of a dozen companies awarded nearly $150 million in grants and tax credits as part of the latest round of the CalCompetes program by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development announced Nov. 17. The announcement comes weeks after members of the Fresno City Council and Fresno County Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Will Oliver hosted a City Hall news conference announcing the Fresno CHIPS Act.

The proposal would create incentives for manufacturers of semiconductors. The Fresno County Economic Development Corp. said in a social media post that Tynergy plans to offer starting salaries of $70,000 per year, complementary training programs and a “robust” benefits package, including childcare services for all employees.

Tynergy is a subsidiary of Indonesia-based green energy company Mirah Green. It bills itself as a sustainable energy development company with a goal to “eradicate poverty through affordable and clean energy while taking climate action.”

CapRock breaks ground on Visalia location

VISALIA – On Aug. 24, CapRock Partners announced their groundbreaking of Building I, a 1.27-million-square-foot industrial warehouse development that will provide 100s of jobs once it finishes construction in the third quarter of 2024. The construction of this facility is part of CapRock’s Central Point masterplan, which upon completion will total up to 5-million-square-feet of logistical distribution space to lease to various companies likely to fall under the “fortune 100 banner;” such as companies like, or akin to, Amazon or UPS.

While CapRock doesn’t currently have a tennent set to occupy the space – which began construction this summer – the facility will allow its occupant to reach over 50 million customers with one-day ground shipping.

“CapRock is excited to be underway in constructing the first building at CapRock Central Point III in Visalia, a vibrant industrial market and logistics hub providing unmatched connectivity in the heart of California’s Central Valley,” CapRock’s senior vice president Bob O’Neill said in a press release.

As Visalia is located approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles and 230 miles south of San Francisco, it has become a hub of logistical distribution spaces. The city’s industrial park is already occupied by prominent companies such as UPS, Amazon and FedEx.

However, location isn’t the only thing Visalia has to offer. According to O’Neill, the layout of the city itself makes the implementation of facilities such as Building I more practical.

“The city of Visalia is actually one of the best planned cities in the state of California, as far as their master plan,” O’Neill said in an interview with The Sun-Gazette. “They’ve invested heavily in the infrastructure to service these industrial areas, in order of widening streets and providing great access to the 99 freeway and Highway 198.”

Not only does Visalia’s infrastructure benefit the developing facilities and their future effectiveness, it also benefits the city itself.

“Once Building I is completed, the new property tax bases will benefit the city, as opposed to what it was before with just farmland,” O’Neill said.
Should CapRock deem the area as highly desired, they will move forward with the implementation of construction of three other buildings, which will bring more jobs and more tax funds.
“It’s all going to be driven by market demand in the overall economy,” O’Neill said. “So if (Building I) leases during construction, and we’re seeing robust demand that’ll warrant us proceeding with these other three buildings, we will go ahead and do that.”

Building I — along with the rest of Central Point III — will be located at 4001 N. Plaza Drive, adjacent to the 88 acres of land CapRock previously sold to UPS for the development of one of the logistics company’s largest facilities in the Western U.S. CapRock has various other facilities around California as well as in other states such as Nevada, Arizona and Texas. They are an investment and development organization that hopes to continue spreading west and up the coast to create more distribution centers to allow people faster access to various products and services.


Despite the negative impacts from the closure of Madera Community Hospital to kick off 2023, the region saw continued growth with the promise of more in 2024 and beyond. Madera has always been known for having low industrial vacancy rates. For 2023, that extended to retail.

“This year we’ve had a tight retail commercial real estate market,” said Madera County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Darren Rose.

Rose added that in 2023, the county saw only 1-3% of commercial real estate plots available. The industrial real estate market also proved to have a tight 2023, limiting options for potential warehouse and logistic center expansion.

“There’s not a lot of options for retailers to locate,” he said.

Despite the challenge, 2024 looks to add more commercial real estate space up and down Highway 41, with industrial and commercial lots at Tesoro Viejo coming online this year, as well as developments of new commercial areas near Highway 41 and Road 200 as well as west near Highway 99 and Avenue 17. Rose hopes that 2024 brings more commercial and industrial investors to the area; he said that the continued development of both the Tesoro Viejo and Riverstone communities are playing a key factor in attracting potential investors.

Both neighborhoods are nationally recognized as lifestyle communities — residential builds in which residents share interest in similar social, recreational and fitness activities — something that Rose said is attractive to commercial developers.

“It’s been brought up in a couple of discussions with site selectors — the fact that we have those two new communities as well as a lot of other important developments throughout Madera Ranchos and other developments,” he said. “Tesoro is just a beautiful, well thought out area.”

Rose said that the continued expansion is bringing the Rio Mesa Plan to life. The plan, first introduced around 30 years ago, focuses on a mixture of residential, commercial and industrial zoning. The continued growth next year is echoed by Mike Prandini, president and CEO of the Building Industry Association of Fresno/Madera Counties. Homebuilding continues at Riverstone and Tesoro Viejo, which has space for nearly 12,000 new homes combined.

Madera’s development, in this regard, is unique to these master planned communities; Fresno is not able to develop in the same way because of the state’s new “vehicle miles traveled” metric, which determines the environmental impact of new housing developments.

Farther up Highway 99, the AutoZone distribution center is scheduled to open in 2024 and looks to bring around 350 new jobs to the area, in addition to employment opportunities through companies like PG&E and the construction of California’s High Speed Rail project. Rose hopes an improving economy will play a key role in driving some of these developments, citing the recent weeks’ uptick in the condition of inflation rates.

“As the macro-national environment improves, I think everything goes downstream from that — from interest rates and inflationary concerns,” Rose said, adding that as the rates continue to go down more secure interest will be focused on industrial, commercial and retail projects.

“I think that’s a safe thing to say,” he added. “I’m not saying there’s a lot of money parked on the sidelines. But if you read the Wall Street Journal you can pretty much garner that there’s a lot of money parked on the sidelines because firms, banks — they’re waiting to see what unfolds with the economy.”

Overall, despite 2023 presenting new and unpredictable challenges through the economy and mother nature, Rose said that the outlook for 2024 is promising, stressing Madera County government’s business-friendly attitude.

“That’s been one of my best selling points,” Rose said. “Obviously, government processes, they take time, but those entities want to make it possible to get deals moving forward.”

Rose also mentioned the partnership between the Madera County EDC and PG&E, which is making considerable investments in human workforce, as well as infrastructure expansion, which will help businesses continue to grow.

“We’ve made headway; it’s not perfect, we’ve had delays, but PG&E is doing what it takes in order to serve our business and our residential communities,” he said.

In addition to the partnership with PG&E, Rose stressed Madera County’s potential in another key commodity that the county possesses: land. Through government programs outlined by the State of California, the county is poised to see job growth thanks largely in part to the available land for projects to be built on.

“With the governor’s California Jobs First…those primary focuses are job creation — creating the foundation necessary to help garner job growth,” Rose said, adding that the initiative will expand infrastructure necessary for continued job creation.

While always welcoming new businesses, Rose said that the EDC’s primary “bread and butter” for job growth is already established.

“The fastest way forward for us are our local businesses that are expanding,” he said.

UC Merced Medical Education Building Gains Final Approval from UC Regents

At their Nov. 15 meeting, the Regents of the University of California gave final approval for the construction of a new medical education building at UC Merced. The vote approved the final design, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) findings and the full budget and financing.

The four-story building, designed by the firm ZGF, will feature 203,500 square feet of instructional, academic office, research and community-facing space and common areas. The project has a price tag of $300 million, funded by a combination of state General Fund appropriations, the campus budget and donor gifts.

“We are very pleased by the Regents’ show of support for medical education at UC Merced,” said UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz. “The lack of quality healthcare options in the region is well-documented, and this new building will enable UC Merced to train physicians uniquely qualified to address the Valley’s health needs.”

The new facility will be home to UC Merced’s medical education pathway, which was developed in partnership with UCSF and UCSF Fresno. The first cohort of students began classes this fall. It will also house:

● The departments of Psychological Sciences and Public Health

● The Health Sciences Research Institute

● Allied healthcare-related programs (developed in partnership with community colleges)

● A range of medical education and general assignment learning environments

● Specialty learning spaces for medical education, general assignment classrooms, and class laboratories to support several new and existing academic programs

This project will comply with the University of California Sustainable Practices Policy, which establishes goals for green building, clean energy, transportation, climate protection, facilities operations, zero waste, procurement, food service and water systems. Supporting UC Merced’s carbon neutrality status, the building will be run entirely on clean electricity, without the use of natural gas.

Construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2024 with completion slated for fall 2026. Current growth projections show the facility serving approximately 2,220 undergraduates by 2030.

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.