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ONTARIO, CA-More than 1.6 million sf of new retail space is under way or in the planning stages here, according to a new tally by city officials. Officials say they have committed to the new space to meet the demand for retail and services from a “ballooning population and year-after-year job growth” that have turned Ontario into the third largest city in the Inland Empire.”It’s an aggressive plan but a necessary one,” says Greg Devereaux, Ontario’s city manager. Retail development is “at the top of our list,” says Devereaux, who notes that the city leads the region in taxable retail sales at $3.8 million, recorded at year-end 2004. With a current population of 170,373, Ontario is projected to add 100,000 new residents by 2020, with a population of 3.2 million people in its market area. Economist John Husing, who specializes in the Inland Empire and is generally regarded as the authority on the region’s economy, has projected that the region will add 1.8 million new residents by 2020.Ontario’s new retail developments include new ground up construction as well as repositionings, lifestyle urban villages, neighborhood centers and historic reuse. Among the retail projects planned as part of the 1.6 million sf are:The $200-million Downtown Civic Center redevelopment, led by J.H. Snyder Co. of Los Angeles, is being designed to revitalize a 12-block area of the city’s core. It will include approximately 750 units of housing, 100,000 sf of ground-floor retail; and 200,000 sf of office space and academic spaces in cooperation with the University of LaVerne Law School. It is being designed by architect Jon Jerde of the Jerde Partnership.Piemonte at Ontario Center, a project of Sacramento-based Panattoni Development Co., The development will be an urban village on 94 acres that will include approximately 350,000 sf of retail and restaurant space, 806 residential units, 550,000 sf of class A corporate office space, a hotel and a health club. A new 8,000-sf tenant to be announced soon for Ontario Mills, the 1.7-million-sf center that already comprises more than 250 shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. In addition, the Disney Outlet and Lego Factory Outlet have announced plans to each open 4,000-sf stores in September as well as Against All Odds, a clothing chain, which will open a 4,200-sf store in July.

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