EMPIRE OF THE SUN
Centered among the region’s oldest cities and located mainly in Southeast California, the Inland Empire (IE) is the third largest metropolitan area in California, and with 4.1 million people it is the 13th largest urban area in the U.S. Previously referred to as the “Orange Empire” for its orange groves and industry, the term “Inland Empire” was coined in the 1950s to distinguish the area from the large, coastal regions of the state.
The IE is comprised of the San Bernardino and Riverside Counties and has had one of the most robust economies in the country. From high tech to film and medical, companies of all types find the distribution channels, diversity, affordability, and location to be key reasons for doing business here. Some of the Fortune 500 companies that already have capitalized on its assets include Walmart, Lowe’s, FedEx, and Black & Decker.
With an area that encompasses approximately 60 miles from north to south (and is approximately 50 miles wide) each of the more than 50 cities that make up the IE have benefits to offer businesses and residents.
Population of Largest Cities in
The Inland Empire from 2007 to 2009
City 2007 2009
SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU
SOLID CORE FOR GROWTH IN RIVERSIDE, ONTARIO, HESPERIA
Riverside is the largest city in the IE and the county seat of Riverside County. With a population of more than 300,000 people, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S.
Though still in the approval process, Riverside Community Hospital plans to expand along with its population. The expansion will more than double the hospital’s space with a 562,000-square-foot, ten-story building, and bring 303 new patient rooms. The $400-million project will replace the hospital’s current parking structure; a new parking garage will be built in 2010 with an opening anticipated for 2011. The hope is for the actual hospital tower to be completed between 2013 and 2015. An average of 150-350 workers will be on site at any given time filling the 1.5 million work hours of direct construction for the project.
Ontario is increasingly identified for its growing importance to the state, national, and international economies. Positioned within the hub of L.A., Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, with expanding logistics and high technology sectors, it is acclaimed as Southern California’s next urban center. Home to an international airport (ONT), the Ontario Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), an innovation corridor of 14 colleges and universities, and an abundant and skilled workforce, Ontario’s quality office development, competitive commercial lease rates, and lifestyle amenities are attracting large professional firms and corporate headquarters.
The business-friendly City of Hesperia is a leader in supporting long-term development of the regional economy. With $2 million in federal grant funding, the city plans to start the G Avenue Industrial Rail Lead Track Project (approximately one mile of new railroad lead track and a parallel runaround track) in January 2010 in order to facilitate operations for a greater number of warehousing and distribution centers near I- 15. The track will offer opportunities for industrial users to purchase rail-accessible properties.
Strategically positioned for logistics and distribution, fast-growing Hesperia is situated within easy access to the logistics network that serves the combined ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (LA/LGB), the nation’s largest international cargo trade area. Hesperia is sited on I-15, and Hwy 395, a major corridor linking California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington to the Canadian border.
FONTANA, A CITY OF ACTION
Identified as the “Crossroads of the Inland Empire” due to its geography, Fontana is in San Bernardino County at the intersection of major freeways (I-10, I-15, and State Routes 66 and 30). Just 10 minutes from ONT and with Metrolink rail service to the greater LA area running through the center of town, it is home to many major distribution centers including Sears and Mercedes-Benz. Deemed one of the best places to raise a family in the U.S. by Best Life magazine in 2008, Fontana provides a full range of services. And, with mountains, beaches, and desert all within driving distance, Fontana has something for everyone.
Fontana has taken action to replace a 60-year-old hospital tower at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. Ground broke on the project in May, signaling the beginning of a $700-million construction that will bring a new 482,078-square-foot, 314-bed, seven story hospital to the city. A parking lot, hospital support building, and a central utility plant also will be constructed. The facility will feature energy-efficient lighting, electrical, and plumbing systems as well as other sustainable solutions. Scheduled to open in 2013, the hospital will be one of the largest and most innovative facilities in the Inland Empire.