San Bernardino County Retail Picking Up
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SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, CA—“The retailsector in the county is starting to pick up quite significantly…We have a couple of new developments that are coming to fruition.” So says Kelly Reenders, economic development administrator of the County of San Bernardino. GlobeSt.com exclusively chatted with Reenders in preparation for ICSC’s RECon event about the County’s retail activity, what ICSC attendees should know, and what types of retailers are expanding/entering the market this year.
GlobeSt.com: What do you think ICSC attendees should know about the County of San Bernardino in general?
Kelly Reenders: The County of San Bernardino has a population of close to 3 million and a trade area of 22 million and counting. We have 24 cities and towns that are spread across the valleys deserts and mountains. We are the largest county in terms of geography with over 20,000 square miles. Our recovery has been a bit quicker than expected, our unemployment rate has come down significantly, we have seen a lot of infill housing starts, and our consumer confidence is going up. One of the county’s main strengths is that we continue to grow in terms of population, aggressively.
GlobeSt.com: Is the County’s retail sector ready to grow?
Reenders: The retailsector in the county is starting to pick up quite significantly…We have a couple of new developments that are coming to fruition. Majestic Realty has a project in Redlands called Mountain Grove at Citrus Plaza. Mountain Grove is a 47-acre sister project to the Citrus Plaza Shopping Center, which has been highly successful…it is just over half a million square feet, so it is a pretty large center. The opening for Mountain Grove is summer 2015.
We have a couple of the large shopping center projects and we are also seeing a lot of the smallcenters that have been repositioned, start to flourish.
One of the other projects is the phase three of Colonies Crossroads, which was just completed last year. The center is 162,000 square feet and has had tremendous leasing activity as the center is fully occupied. The property serves Upland, LaVerne, Claremont, Rancho Cucamonga, and Fontana.
GlobeSt.com: What types of retailers are expanding/entering the market this year?
Reenders: We have seen everyone from Whole Foods, who is looking at a location in Redlands, to the German-based discount grocery Aldi, who is in the Midwest and east coast now…they are looking at California over the next five years and plan to open nearly 650 stores so we are confident some of those are going to land in our area. Smart & Final is still expected to expand more stores with us in the County and the Wal-Mart Superstores are still in play.
We are also seeing a big surge with ethnic supermarkets. When Albertsons or Ralphs are choosing to close some stores, we are seeing the ethnic grocers come in and take that space.
We still see activity amongst the convenient stores such as Circle K and 7-Eleven and we are seeing a lot of activity from quick service restaurants like Farmer Boys, Miguel’s Jr., Yogurtland, Five Guys, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt to name a few.
GlobeSt.com: Tell me about the County's Vision.
Reenders: The County’s vision is to create opportunities for growth and to build prosperity within the County. Part of that vision is to create a pro-business culture between the public and private sectors to help continue the momentum of growth that we have seen. It helps shape how we plan for infrastructure and development and it really provides a road-map of predictability for somebody looking to invest in our market.
GlobeSt.com: How does this vision benefit the developer, investor and retailer?
Reenders: It formerly outlines the County’s role in helping the development, investor, retailer, or broker, make a successful transaction. The County’s job is to help individuals comply through our processes or regulations and to find a mutually positive outcome. That is the underlying theme of why we are striving to be business friendly and take a positive approach and that makes a difference in the types of investment that comes into our market.
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