California: Boundless Business on the West Coast

With a bevy of financial incentives, acres of available land, and an assortment of creative thinkers, California is home to one of the largest state economies in the nation. Lucrative business deals await, and it’s not too late to take part in this modern-day gold rush.

California has a long history of free thinkers conceiving the inconceivable. Between the entertainment capital of Hollywood and the high-tech Silicon Valley, California’s innovative minds continue to make the state a hot bed for new ideas. The state supports creativity with a solid educational system and job training that produces an unrivaled, highly skilled labor force.

More than 2.5 million students are enrolled in 250 colleges and universities. Approximately 77% of California residents are high school graduates and over 27% have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. California possesses the nation’s highest concentration of engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and skilled technicians.

With six of the top 20 engineering schools, California is a major design center for automobiles, furniture, apparel, software, semiconductors, and electronics. The state also is home to 107 Nobel Laureates and 614 members of the National Academy of Sciences. Now that’s brainpower! All of this means that the many different regions of California are waiting for your location project with open arms and ready minds.

Rancho Cucamonga is Working for You

The city of Rancho Cucamonga continues to stand out in Southern California for many reasons. When it comes to site selection, the city and its redevelopment agency have earned a stellar reputation for teaming with the business community to help ensure the success of companies that chose to establish a preeminent address within the city limits. Today, the redevelopment agency continues to provide substantial support to facilitate the growing success of businesses, new and old.

Rancho Cucamonga has a skilled labor force in a research-oriented environment, which is important because selecting and acquiring the perfect site for your company’s expansion or relocation can be a daunting task. While the list of requirements can be long, one of the top priorities is a workforce located close by to support the company’s needs. The fear of encountering a talent shortage is real among today’s employers. With this understanding, the city of Rancho Cucamonga has put several strategies in motion that help assure that businesses located within the city have a well-matched talent pool from which to draw. During the last few years, the city has worked closely with several colleges and universities to establish community campuses, making it convenient for residents and employees in the city to attend classes and earn a wide array of degrees and certifications -and most importantly, stay current in the ever-changing business world. Rancho Cucamonga also is home to the internationally recognized Universal Technical Institute, which turns out top-ranked technicians in an assortment of fields. While it’s true that these schools’ programs strengthen the skills of current employees, of equal importance is the fact that they provide a training ground for employees of the future.

Surrounded by research-oriented universities and colleges, including the University of California-Riverside and the Claremont Colleges, Rancho Cucamonga stays ahead of the curve in many areas. For example, sustainability is commonplace to many manufacturers in the city who are already well established with a significant history in designing and manufacturing a wide-variety of “green” products. This, of course, makes sense considering that the Southern California location is ideal for companies that want to incorporate alternative energy options into their overall operation.

In addition to easy access to education and training, during the past 10 years there has been a steady influx of highly educated managerial and executive-level residents whose move to the city was spurred in large part by the escalating costs of homes in the surrounding counties. This price increase, fused with a shift in attitude about the overall quality of life, the work/play balance, and the ever-increasing cost of commuting, resulted in Rancho Cucamonga residents wanting to work closer to where they live.

Rancho Cucamonga continues to offer a wide range of office space for lease and for sale, which makes it possible to find a fit that meets the unique needs of a diverse business base. A sampling of available office space includes:

o Rochester Park, a medical/office campus that consists of 14 freestanding, one-story buildings ranging in size from 3,927 to 8,833 square feet. These buildings are for sale or lease and scheduled for completion in late 2008. o Pittsburgh Avenue Professional Center features four freestanding, one-story office buildings ranging from 4,450 to 5,249 square feet, and four two-story buildings from 14,000 to 18,800 square feet. These buildings are for sale and will be completed at the end of 2008. o Haven Avenue Professional Center features eight freestanding buildings that include two one-story buildings with 7,500 square feet each. The development also includes six two-story buildings, ranging in size from 11,000 to 14,000 square feet. These buildings are for sale and scheduled for completion in late 2008.

While the city has seen great growth in Class ‘A’ office space over the past few years, Rancho Cucamonga has not dismissed its past. Historically, the city has a reputation for being a major hub for distribution, logistics, and manufacturing. It’s not surprising considering that its centralized location provides easy access to several major interstate highways, an international airport, and one of the largest shipping ports on the West Coast. With the growing trend of manufacturers choosing to move their operations back to the United States, Rancho Cucamonga continues to welcome businesses in these industries.

To better meet the needs of its businesses and residents, the Rancho Cucamonga Redevelopment Agency administers a variety of development, redevelopment, and housing-related programs. Some of the programs and services provided to businesses include:

o Services of a consulting electrical engineer to perform special inspections for electrical certification of machinery and equipment. o “Smart Team” services for large companies that bring together principal department representatives to advise new companies on individual site-specific building and tenant improvements. Recently, city team members completed extensive training regarding sustainability issues and are better prepared to advise companies in this area. o An ongoing Business Visitation Program, which provides business owners an opportunity to meet with Redevelopment Agency staff to discuss business opportunities. o The Mayor’s Roundtable, held quarterly, provides an opportunity for business executives to meet with the mayor in small groups to exchange ideas and discuss issues affecting the business community. o And finally, Inside Rancho (, a Web-based site selection tool that displays maps, photographs, and demographic details for available commercial and industrial sites.

Yuba: An Untapped Resource for Retail Expansion

Yuba County, CA was ranked as a “Best Place to do Business” by Forbes and the Milken Institute in 2001 and 2002. In March 2008, the metropolitan statistical area was ranked 12th out of 176 areas nationwide in “Net Migration” by Forbes.

Yuba County’s strongest selling points include available and relatively inexpensive land in California, a low cost of housing (a $208,000 median home price in 2007), and a low cost of doing business. Unincorporated areas in Yuba County do not have a license fee for most businesses, no utility user tax, no Regional Transportation Fee or Tax, no Local Sales Tax in addition to the state Sales Tax of 7.25%, no Parking Tax, and no Gross Receipts Tax.

With excellent access to major metropolitan areas in the Bay Area and Sacramento Region, Yuba County offers a low-cost alternative to other areas in California.

From 2003 through 2007, unincorporated communities in Yuba County were issued 5,500 single-family residential permits, placing the county on the map for rapid growth; the 4.8% expansion rate eclipsed all other California counties by 2006. Most of the new growth occurred in the southern county areas in the Plumas Lake Specific Plan Area, East Linda Specific Plan Area, and the North Arboga Study Area.

As a result of the rapid housing growth in Yuba County, commercial and retail development has not been keeping pace. A retail analysis completed in 2007 by California State University-Chico highlights a $200 million loss in potential taxable sales that, without significant new commercial development, exponentially increases to nearly $700 million at the build-out of these residentially zoned properties.

Recent interest in commercial construction has resulted in the completion of a full-service Rite Aid and a Walgreens groundbreaking, with several additional development projects grading sites or pending construction in 2008.

Beale Air Force Base, with a labor force of 5,000, is the largest employer north of the Bay Area to the Oregon border. Beale houses the unmanned aerial reconnaissance Global Hawk and U2 aircraft missions.

In August 2007, the Beale Enhancement Team (BET) was created to identify and seek out new missions and other growth opportunities for Beale. Its initial effort is designed to position Beale Air Force Base as a permanent location for the Air Force’s new Cyber Command wing. Beale Air Force Base is one location in 18 states vying for consideration as a headquarters location.

Cyber Command is expected to provide jobs initially for about 550 Air Force employees, but resulting partnerships with universities, colleges, the private sector, and high-tech businesses could add thousands of more jobs. Cyber Command is a wing proposed by the Air Force that will utilize electronic offensive and defensive measures to protect American computer systems and assets.

On December 17, 2007, the entire California Legislative Delegation, including both senators and all 53 Congressional Representatives, participated in the bipartisan act of signing a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force recommending the permanent location of the new Cyber Command wing be located at Beale Air Force Base.

A proclamation to promote Beale Air Force Base for Cyber Command authored by California Senator Sam Aanestad was unanimously passed by State Senate and Assembly members in June. “I am hopeful that passage of this measure will convince planners that Beale Air Force Base is the best choice for this new command and the best choice for our nation’s security,” Aanestad says.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office received a “data call request” from the Air Force in May to respond to a variety of infrastructure, transportation, available office space, and related issues for locating Cyber Command’s headquarters.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Beale Air Force and for Yuba County,” says Yuba County Supervisor John Nicoletti. It is anticipated that a team from the Air Force will visit Beale Air Force Base during summer 2008 to evaluate the base for consideration in setting up the new wing.

Recently, Yuba County staff successfully replaced the Yuba-Sutter Enterprise Zone program that ended in 2006. At over 100 square miles, the new six-jurisdiction Enterprise Zone is larger than its predecessor and includes two additional towns.

“We’ve benefited tremendously from having an Enterprise Zone in place since 1986,” comments Yuba County Supervisor Don Schrader. “Based on its recent success in attracting new business, I’m glad the application for a new zone was approved.”

Businesses within the new Yuba-Sutter Enterprise Zone are eligible for substantial benefits, such as $37,440 in tax credits per eligible employee; tax credits for up to $20 million for qualified equipment purchases; ability to expense qualified depreciable property; net interest deduction to Zone business lenders; unused tax credits applied to future tax years; preference points when bidding on state contracts; and net operating loss carry-forward for up to 15 years.

More than 11,000 enterprise zone employee vouchers were issued to businesses within the Yuba-Sutter Enterprise Zone over the last 20 years, according to Zone Director Mary Hansen.

Industrial-based businesses that have relocated or expanded recently within Yuba County’s portion of the Yuba-Sutter Enterprise Zone include Placer Waterworks, Inc., Hastie’s Sand & Gravel and a Caltrans soils-testing laboratory. New commercial businesses include a full-service, national drugstore retail chain in Olivehurst, and proposed shopping centers will be constructed at the new Plumas Lake interchange and on Erle Road across from Edgewater. Settler’s Village retail center in Wheatland is filling 45,000 square feet of new commercial space.

Moreno Valley: Growing Fast in the Inland Empire

Ideally situated at the junction of State Route 60 and I-215, Moreno Valley is one of the Inland Empire’s best locations for a new business or development. It is also one of the fastest growing cities in the nation and the third largest city in the Inland Empire. The city offers excellent access to logistics hubs and the March GlobalPort, which has the longest airport runway in California and serves as the West Coast hub for worldwide shipping giant DHL. Ontario International Airport can be reached in 30 minutes, fulfilling passenger service needs. An inter-modal facility is 18 miles away and the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are close by.

Moreno Valley anchors the 29-mile “I-215 Corridor” that stretches along Interstate 215 from State Route 60 to just north of Interstate 15. Office and industrial developments along this corridor are destined for success as international trade expands, industrial space in the coastal counties grows scarce, and the well-educated workforce becomes ever more eager to work close to home.

Nationally recognized development firms currently have more than 22 million square feet of state-of-the-art office and industrial projects under development, some with campus-like amenities. Ridge Property Trust Centerpointe is a nine-building development on 125 acres with available building sizes ranging from 80,000 to 780,000 square feet. Also, First Industrial Realty Trust is developing six buildings with sizes ranging from 191,000 to 1.5 million square feet, while Prologis has proposed 2.3 million square feet in five buildings along Route 60.

Moreno Valley’s expanding medical office market stems from RCC Moreno Valley Community College’s Allied Health certification programs, the city’s two major hospitals, and nearby University of California- Riverside’s School of Medicine, scheduled to open in 2012.

With a growing population of nearly 200,000, the city’s can-do attitude has inspired a number of Fortune 500 companies to choose Moreno Valley for their distribution facilities. Lowes, Minka Lighting, MVP RV, Philips Electronics, Resmed, Ross Dress For Less, Serta Mattress, Supreme Industries, U.S. Postal Service, United Natural Foods, Inc. and Walgreens all have selected Moreno Valley as the place to open distribution centers or manufacturing facilities.

Moreno Valley offers a municipal electrical utility incentive for qualifying energy-efficient design projects; a Foreign Trade Zone; a local Recycling Market Development Zone; and development fee exemptions/ discounts at qualifying locations. Additionally, the city of Moreno Valley partners with Riverside County’s Workforce Development Center to provide employee recruitment, training services, and incentives that save time and money.

Moreno Valley offers a leisurely lifestyle that includes two golf courses, 200 acres of parkland, equestrian and bike trails, and the 8,000-acre Lake Perris State Recreational Area, which is one of Southern California’s most popular boating, fishing, and camping locations. Housing is available in a range of styles and prices.

Hesperia: The Future of Industrial Parks

Located in the business-friendly city of Hesperia, the planned Hesperia Commercial Industrial Park will provide 59 commercial/industrial condominium units in a prime location west of Interstate Highway 15.

The industrial park lies alongside Highway 395, a major U.S. north-south corridor linking Southern California with centers to the north, including Bishop, CA; Reno, NV; Oregon; Washington; and up to the Canadian border.

Hesperia Commercial Industrial Park will comprise 10 buildings totaling 230,000 square feet on 12.5 acres at the southeast corner of Highway 395 and Poplar Street with highly desirable north-south frontage on Interstate 15. Its 59 individual units are destined for sale to individual owner/users, while some may be leased for investment by the builder.

While many industrial projects are on hold in today’s uncertain economic climate, there are still tremendous opportunities for developers with the right strategy. Monitoring every factor that may have an impact on the regional economy, smart investors stay on top of current trends to be ready to serve the market as conditions change.

Some of the world’s most important distribution centers are regional facilities in inland Southern California markets like Hesperia in San Bernardino County. Hesperia is conveniently situated in the heart of the distribution network that serves the combined ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (LA/LGB), the largest port in the nation. LA/LGB handles 44% of all goods imported by cargo container into the United States, with most goods moving via regional highways.

International trade is hot and expected to get hotter, affected by the lowering dollar and the explosion of economies in China and Russia. Port and trucking traffic will remain high, and demand for warehouse and distribution space will be significant. Hesperia Commercial Industrial Park’s location on Highway 395, a heavily traveled truck corridor, is a place where import- and export-related businesses want to be. It will offer individual units in a range of sizes from 1,566 to 14,650 square feet. Clear heights will range from 16 to 20 feet.

The flexible units may be combined and/or customized to meet the needs of potential buyers and tenants. Each unit will feature built-out office areas and rest rooms, ground-level loading, and 200 to 400 amps of power.

More than one million people live within a 20-mile radius of Hesperia, and the city buzzes with approximately 100,000 passing through the city each day.

Encompassing nearly 75 square miles, Hesperia is one of the largest cities in the High Desert, and offers an abundance of land and buildings at a fraction of Los Angeles’ costs.

Many businesses and families are choosing to relocate to Hesperia not only for its affordability, but also for the healthy, pleasant desert climate and clean air quality, free from the congestion of Los Angeles and Orange County.

With an aggressive program to attract business to Hesperia, the city’s Economic Development Department offers a wide array of services to site selectors, business owners, and real estate professionals who are looking for expansion or relocation opportunities. Hesperia offers minimal red tape and a pro-business professional staff. Interested parties can view the city’s e-Source CD online, which provides business owners who are considering Hesperia with demographics, zoning maps, labor statistics, and site selection information.

Permits have already been pulled and construction of Hesperia Commercial Industrial Park will begin at the optimum time to serve growing market demand.

San Joaquin County Has Plenty to Offer

San Joaquin County seems to have it all: a scenic landscape that includes rolling farmlands and the San Francisco Bay delta; a business- friendly environment made even more attractive by easy access to rail, highways, and a large international port; and a less frenetic and more affordable lifestyle that is the envy of San Francisco Bay Area neighbors.

San Joaquin County has history in agriculture and today it remains the core industry with a crop value of $1.7 billion. The region’s fresh produce like asparagus, cherries, walnuts and almonds are exported internationally. The most revenue is generated by the growing wine industry through the Lodi-Woodbridge appellation, and processed cheese from the dairy industry.

San Joaquin County continues to diversify in other economic sectors including manufacturing, logistics, and maritime operations.

“Due to our ideal location, San Joaquin County and its largest city, Stockton, are easily accessible from basically anywhere in California and the western region,” says Michael Locke, president and CEO of the San Joaquin Partnership. “Interstate 5 and State Route Highway 99 are major north-south thoroughfares that both pass through San Joaquin County. Stockton is only minutes from Interstates 205 and 580; that connects us with the San Francisco Bay Area. Additionally, Interstate 5 runs from Canada to Mexico, making it that much more important for commerce.”

“We also have transportation advantages because of our inland Stockton Deep Water Channel, which is 75 nautical miles from the San Francisco Bay Area and direct access to the Pacific Rim,” Locke adds. “With 2,000 acres of developed and available sites at the Port of Stockton, we have an excellent maritime-handling facility that continues to seek new commerce.”

One new business that chose a location in Stockton is Japan-based Kyoho Machine Works Ltd., which manufactures automotive components for Toyota Motor Corporation. Kyoho established Kyoho Manufacturing California, which produces stamped and welded metal body parts, to supply the New United Motors Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) plant in Fremont, CA.

NUMMI, a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors, is a 5,500-employee company that produces the Toyota Corolla, Pontiac Vibe, and Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. The Kyoho investment is the tenth automotive manufacturer taking advantage of San Joaquin County’s cost effective location. Adding to this cluster of automotive component manufacturers is the siting of after- market parts distribution centers for Ford, Chrysler, BMW, and Honda.

The region’s largest location project has been US Gypsum Corporation’s decision to locate a new Sheetrock facility, a $280-million investment, at the Port of Stockton. Other major announcements include new logistic facilities for well-known companies like Crate & Barrel, Home Depot, JC Penney, Sears Logistics Center, and Ghirardelli Chocolates.

“Transportation access to highways, the port, railways, and proximity to international airports is one of the main reasons why many companies are attracted to San Joaquin County,” Locke explains.

The area also has attracted investment by both international and national industrial developers. ProLogis, Panattoni Development Company, Opus West Corporation, Industrial Developments International, AMB Property Corporation, and Buzz Oates Enterprises are among the companies investing in sites and buildings in San Joaquin County.

The San Joaquin Partnership, a private, non-profit economic development corporation designed to attract business and industry to the region, has provided a meaningful economic impact. Since 1995, the San Joaquin Partnership has been successful in providing services and assistance to more than 307 businesses that chose to expand or locate in San Joaquin County. These businesses have created over 49,000 new jobs that provide an annual labor income of $2.2 billion.

Recognizing market, workforce, land or building requirements, and competitive position dictate a company’s location choice, and San Joaquin County provides the opportunities to meet these business needs.

SMUD: Innovative Energy and Customer Satisfaction

Sacramento, the capital of California and the state’s first incorporated city, is currently one of the fastest growing metropolitan regions in the country. Sacramento’s six-county region is home to high-tech manufacturers, software developers, biotechnology and medical research laboratories, food processors, medical equipment manufacturers, call centers, and distribution facilities, making it highly diversified and stabilizing its economy.

The region’s leading institutions of higher education, including California State University-Sacramento and the world-renowned University of California-Davis, offer opportunities for internships and technology transfer, and contribute substantially to the region’s labor pool. The UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento includes a Level 1 trauma center, a comprehensive cancer treatment center, a children’s hospital, a neuromuscular skeletal institute, and transplant services. The Sacramento region also has five community colleges, several private institutions of higher education, and more than 160 vocational training programs.

For more than 60 years, the region’s reliable and affordable power has been provided by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), the nation’s sixth-largest customer-owned not-for-profit electric utility. SMUD serves 1.3 million people who live and work in Sacramento County, providing electricity at rates that are nearly 23% below those of neighboring investor-owned utilities.

For the second year in a row, SMUD received top honors in the West and the highest score in the nation in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2008 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study. The study surveyed customers from the 58 largest electric utilities in the nation.

When compared with 14 other utilities in the Western region, SMUD maintained the top position and increased its overall score by 15 points over last year.

“What an honor to be recognized by our customers two years in a row for exceptional service,” says SMUD Board President Larry Carr. “We are committed to keeping our customers happy and are always looking for ways to improve our level of service.”

SMUD is a recognized leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and its sustainable environmental solutions.

In keeping with that reputation, SMUD recently unveiled a huge solar panel array that will provide electricity for a new program, SolarShares, for customers who want solar power but cannot site or afford owning them.

The array, or “solar farm,” shares land with a Wilton turkey farm. The array will convert the sun’s energy into more than one million watts of renewable electricity, enough to avoid greenhouse gas emissions from 3,291 barrels of oil in the program’s first year alone, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.

SolarShares is the first program of its kind and the largest in the nation. All SMUD residential customers can now be solar energy users regardless of where they live and without committing thousands of dollars to buy their own solar panels.

The solar array consists of rows of racks that cover more than seven acres and contains more than 17,000 solar panels. The array was built and is owned by renewable energy company enXco. SMUD will buy solar power produced by the array through a power purchase agreement and will then sell subscriptions to portions of the array to interested customers through the SolarShares program. For a fixed monthly fee, customers will get the solar power generated by their panels credited to their energy bill, as if they owned the system. Depending on the customer’s energy use and the amount of solar power they buy, most customers can ensure between 10% and 50% of their energy comes from the new SMUD solar farm.

Business-friendly Concord

The San Francisco Bay Area provides a key gateway to the economies of California and the world. But, doing business in just any Bay Area location is no longer sufficient. Today’s unpredictable economy demands that companies locate in a community offering easy access to the entire region; a stable, safe business environment; room for growth; and a high quality of life. As a result, companies continue to discover the rewards of Concord.

Located 29 miles east of San Francisco and adjacent to beautiful Mt. Diablo, Concord, the largest city in Contra Costa County, has maintained the steady growth of both its business and residential communities. Its prime location in the Bay Area provides ready access to San Francisco, Silicon Valley, the growing East Bay, Sacramento, and some of the world’s leading universities.

Business-friendly government, outstanding Class A office space, industrial parks, two BART stations, and access to major freeways combine with favorable home prices, an educated workforce, and a dynamic retail environment to make Concord a premier business location.

Chevron, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, and T-Mobile have business operations located in Concord, alongside 6,000 other businesses. Large and small companies indicate Concord’s freeway access, county airport, central Bay Area location and skilled workforce are major reasons for locating in Concord. With a proactive city government, Concord is a breath of fresh air for businesses looking to locate in the Bay Area.