Find out how these hidden gems are starting to shine in the High Desert.
Visitors to the Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA) in the Victor Valley may see Boeing jets bearing the livery of airlines from Singapore to Kenya. It’s not an international airport, but SCLA is the final step in the manufacturing process for these jets before they are delivered to customers around the world. Workers at the site install equipment on new aircraft and make modifications and repairs to planes for Boeing’s global customers. SCLA and its adjoining Southern California Logistics Centre (SCLC) – both part of Victorville’s 5,000-acre Global Access development – are just a few of the assets that make the Victor Valley a top destination for firms seeking large-scale industrial space, particularly those with distribution, warehousing and logistics needs.
Along with available parcels of land that are more affordable than property in surrounding areas, the Victor Valley offers strong transportation infrastructure that includes rail access and roadways with minimal congestion and close proximity to I-15, U.S. 395 and Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. An annual traffic count of 75 million vehicles also makes the region a prime location for distribution and retail operations.
Key Distribution Hub
Over the past few years, the Victor Valley has grown into a strategic West Coast distribution point for firms like Walmart, TruBlu Logistics, Newell Rubbermaid, Mars Chocolate, Red Bull, Goodyear Tire & Rubber and Dr Pepper Snapple Group. The low-cost land and facilities at SCLC allowed Dr Pepper Snapple Group to build a distribution center large enough to service 20 percent of its consumer population in the Southwest region, says Keith Metzler, assistant city manager for the City of Victorville.
“We’ve seen companies locate here instead of leaving California entirely,” Metzler says. “Many of the metropolitan areas have become too costly, but here in the Victor Valley, businesses are still central to a large consumer base. We have also seen instances where companies have moved here because we’ve been able to offer cost-effective solutions for electricity and other utilities.”
The town of Apple Valley is preparing for a new 1.3 million-square-foot distribution center on 106 acres for Big Lots, which is investing $115 million to build a facility with enhanced technology to help the company tap into growing e-commerce opportunities. Along with creating more than 300 construction jobs, the distribution center will bring more than 450 permanent jobs to the area.
“This project affirms the story we’ve been telling for quite awhile that the High Desert, and Apple Valley in particular, are a cost-competitive site location alternative to the Inland Empire market,” says Orlando Acevedo, economic development manager for Apple Valley.
The town can move projects through the pipeline quickly due to its Industrial Specific Plan. The plan covers 6,600 acres of land dedicated to industrial development that offers companies fast-tracked approval through a 90-to-120-day administrative process. This helps businesses partially offset the impact of state tax and regulatory burdens.
“Time is money for these companies, “Acevedo says. “The plan has been a significant reason we’ve been able to land the Big Lots project, and we’ve been working on quite a few others.”
The Victor Valley also has a growing supply of shovel-ready industrial sites, including the 233-acre rail-served Foxborough Industrial Park, the 5.5 million square-foot LEED-certified Watson Logistics Center in Apple Valley and the planned Hesperia Commerce Park, which will include space for industrial warehousing and wholesale distribution centers greater than 200,000 square feet.
Victorville continues to attract a growing group of companies to its spacious 5,000-acre Global Access property, formerly the site of George Air Force Base, especially those looking for land, a high quality workforce and good transportation access. The site will soon add a 22-acre industrial building that will provide 450,000 square feet of space for warehousing, distribution, assembly or manufacturing. SCLA is seeing rising demand for services by maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) firms. Several have recently renewed leases or expanded there, including Boeing, Leading Edge Aviation, GE Aviation and Pacific Aerospace Resources & Technologies. Overall, about 50 aircraft move through the airport each year. SCLA-based MRO provider Pacific Aerospace Resources & Technologies recently announced a contract with Hainan Group, a China-based airline holding company.
President David Green says that with the world-class MRO services provided at SCLA, “there’s no other place like it in the world. It’s a one-stop-shop.”