October 12, 2017 Comments (0) Views: 399 California News, Inland Empire

Connect Inland Empire Q&A: Development Drives Growth

By Dennis Kaiser

Connect Inland Empire is coming up on Wednesday, October 18th when commercial real estate leaders will gather again to talk about the biggest trends shaping the market. We asked the City of Moreno Valley’s Mike Lee, Director, Economic Development, to share a few insights on what he sees shaping the region and city, as we gear up for another afternoon of robust panel discussions in our latest 3 CRE Q&A.

Q: What are some of the bigger trends driving the Inland Empire and Moreno Valley?

A: The story of Moreno Valley and the Inland Empire is growth. The Moreno Valley population is growing at an annual rate of 5.68%, and has now reached 209,000. Within a 20-mile trade radius, there’s 2.3 million people. That means we are continuing to add companies into the city, and the driver is industrial development by far. In the past two years, we’ve absorbed 8.4 million square feet and currently there’s another six million square feet of industrial space under construction. The result of all that new development is jobs. We’ve generated 14,000 jobs over the past four years, and we expect those large job generation numbers to continue given the pipeline of construction.

Q: What new changes are you seeing transpire in Moreno Valley?

A: Right now, we are seeing smaller-sized industrial developments coming out this way. Before, developers were building projects larger than 400,000 square feet. Now they are pursuing development projects in the 100,000-square-foot range. While we continue to attract large companies looking for large building spaces, the shift is toward support services for the larger companies that have relocated here who want to be around suppliers for logistics and warehousing since that’s their main customers.

Q: What is the result of all the development and relocation activity?

A: That growth trend is driving the commercial market in Moreno Valley. We are also growing strong on the retail side. Three new hotels are under construction, and a fourth is getting ready to start. Large companies are driving the need for more hotel rooms. These companies are hiring more people, who in turn have more disposable income. We’ve had 15 restaurants open up this year, and another 20 in the pipeline. We’re seeing new car dealerships come to Moreno Valley, and the housing market is coming back strong. People who live in Orange and LA county are priced out. They can get a house in Moreno Valley for an average price of $300,000. We now have 12 housing tracts under construction as homebuilders like Lennar, KB Home and Beazer have aggressively moved back into the Inland Empire. We’re also seeing strength in the medical sector, including the expansion of Kaiser Hospital and Riverside University Health System, which is part of the Riverside County health system.

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