SAN BERNARDINO, CA—In preparation for ICSC Western States, we chatted with thought leader, the County of San Bernardino about the Town of Apple Valley, located in the High Desert region of the Inland Empire in Southern California, which has experienced a number of new retailer expansions and development, further adding to this growing town’s quality of life.

“Recent new home construction is driving the demand for more retailers to serve our population. Although we’ve had good retail growth over the last few years, we are still seeing retail gaps as our residents look to other markets for their consumer demands,” explains Orlando Acevedo, economic development manager of Apple Valley. “We have an opportunity to bring in the kinds of services and dining options that our local population and businesses need.”

According to government officials, the latest sales tax revenue quarterly report for Apple Valley shows a 3.9% increase over the same time last year. In addition, residential permits for single family homes have tripled since 2012-2013. According to Coldwell Banker, the region has reached 95% of retail taxable sales since the 2006 recession, underscoring the recovery that is occurring.  

New locations for Subway, Juice It Up, Fat Jack’s, Fantastic Sam’s, T-Mobile Guiseppe’s Italian Restaurant and Spirit River Café have already opened this year.

Jess Ranch Marketplace, a 93-acre, 969,000-square-foot regional commercial center at Bear Valley Road and Jess Ranch Parkway in Apple Valley, just added OshKosh b’Gosh and Carter’s Children’s Clothing Stores. Both retailers mark their entry into the High Desert region. Ulta Beauty and Jersey Mike’s Subs are also new to Jess Ranch Marketplace joining tenants Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, PetSmart, Famous Footwear, Cinemark and 24 Hour Fitness. The development, owned by Weingarten Realty, is approximately 90% occupied with the opportunity to add medical office, clothing, restaurants and other service-oriented shops.  

“I opened the first Jersey Mike’s in the High Desert in Apple Valley in February 2014. I chose the High Desert because I felt it was underserved in terms of high-quality, quick-service sub shops,” notes Adam Shamel, owner of Jersey Mike’s Apple Valley. “Also, the High Desert has a great sense of community—a real camaraderie that makes a big difference to a shop owner.  Jersey Mike’s is all about that “mom & pop” feel for our customers. That’s our culture and Apple Valley and the High Desert region is a perfect fit for that.”

Nick Di Cosola, senior vice president with Coldwell Banker Commercial notes that there are strong retail investment and development opportunities in Apple Valley. He cites a 33-acre parcel of vacant land on the Northeast Corner of Apple Valley Road and Yucca Loma Road, which is zoned commercial and ready for development.

“This is one of the best properties in the High Desert, because it has the highest surrounding annual household income of $95,000 and a good traffic count. Plus the Town of Apple Valley is building the Yucca Loma Bridge there which will ease travel and goods movement in and through the town’s neighborhoods and will add a third ingress and egress point into Apple Valley,” adds Di Cosola.

“Not only is Apple Valley growing, but it still needs more restaurants, retail, and services. It’s a strong choice for expansion and investment and offers a loyal, local consumer base,” notes Acevedo. “The Town provides no-cost predevelopment meetings prior to submittal to help identify any site or project kinks prior to formal application submittals. We also promote a quick and clear permit process to help projects open their doors efficiently and timely.”

Some projects in development or already built that are representative of the strength and diversity here are as follows:

  • Walmart Supercenter, a planned 260,000-square-foot store opening north of Highway 18 and Dale Evans Parkway, adding critical mass to the area. Nearby opportunities include a 140,000-square-foot former Lowe’s building and a 40,000-square-foot former Ralph’s store in the center of town.
  • Mojave River Crossings, an 80%-occupied retail center, located at the Northwest Corner of Apple Valley Road and Bear Valley Road. The Home Depot anchored center includes McDonald’s, Chevron, Starbucks, Taco Bell, and Wienerschnitzel, along with smaller local tenants. A 4,300-square-foot restaurant on a 47,000-square-foot site sits caddy-corner at the highly visible intersection of Apple Valley and Bear Valley Roads.
  • Apple Valley Commons, a 469,000-square-foot retail center, owned by Lewis Retail Centers, located at the Northwest corner of Highway 18 and Dale Evans Parkway. The center is close to City Hall and features a Super Target, Ross Dress for Less, Dollar Tree, Carl’s Jr, Del Taco, Jack in the Box, Panda Express, Leslie’s Pool, and Verizon. New tenants here include Subway, T-Mobile, and Neal’s Donuts.