May 11, 2017
The annual ICSC RECon retail extravaganza is just around the corner. As we gear up to head over to Las Vegas May 21 to 24, Connect Media is tapping into the insights of CRE leaders to get a pulse of the market and see what’s on their minds.
We asked San Bernardino County’s Reg Javier, deputy executive officer of Workforce and Economic Development, to highlight retail activity in the county, the trends driving the market and what the county is doing to promote growth.
Q: Many new retailers are expanding into San Bernardino County, targeting its growing Millennial population. Who is locating there?
A: Punch Bowl Social, an “eatertainment” leader, will open its restaurant/bar concept in Rancho Cucamonga’s Victoria Gardens this May, because of the center’s Millennial appeal. Big Al’s, a sports bar and entertainment center with bowling, arcade games, billiards and more, just opened its first California location in Ontario, providing another entertainment-focused option. Haven City Market will reimagine a vacant JC Penney in Rancho Cucamonga into an exciting new artisanal food hall, gourmet food market, boutique retail space and outdoor garden area as a destination for all ages. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store will open its first California location in Victorville. These retailers and developers are choosing the County because they see strong growth and opportunity in the region.
Q: The County’s retail market is hot – can you talk about trends behind this surge in activity?
A: In its Q1 2017 Retail Market Report, CBRE notes that the region’s vacancy rate of 6.8% demonstrates continued improvement. CBRE also reports 86,419 square feet of positive absorption, and 184,000 square feet of new construction. Retail is hot right now because the County is a lower cost housing option for young families and baby boomers who are being priced out of the coastal communities. New housing is in demand and construction is up. In turn, more retail expansion is occurring across the County as well as along the 210 freeway corridor.
Q: How does San Bernardino County facilitate growth? What role does the County play? Are there any special programs or incentives companies should know about?
A: To provide greater insight to retailers looking into the area, the County is using ESRI’s Tapestry program. Tapestry ‘s demographic and socioeconomic data provides detailed information on County resident’s lifestyle choices, what they buy, and how they spend their free time. This data helps to identify the best customers and underserved markets for retailers and developers. The County’s workforce development department is another tool for new retailers, as our team can help with job fairs, recruitment and staffing at almost no cost.