Bio, Bridges, and Buildings
to the Milken Institute, San Diego remains the top biotech region in
the country - and it plans to hold that distinction. The area continues
to draw new companies, like Pharmatek Laboratories, a pharmaceutical
chemistry development corporation.
San Diego State University
(SDSU) and Gallup University are tackling the region's growing work
force needs with a new M.B.A. for Executives in Life Sciences. "With
this program, our goal is to produce leaders who have an in-depth
understanding of the best practices that can be used in accelerating
product development and market launch of new biomedical and life
science products that are critical to the improvement of health and key
to the growth of the global biotech industry," says Gail Naughton,
Ph.D., dean of the College of Business Administration at SDSU.
educational infrastructure, San Diego is undertaking critical
transportation infrastructure fixes. State government awarded the
region $451.5 million to fund the projects, including the 10-mile
express Otay River Bridge that connects South Bay to Otay Mesa and the
international border. "The Otay River Bridge is more than just an
engineering feat; it's an international gateway," says South Bay
Expressway CEO Greg Hulsizer. "The bridge will improve regional
mobility by filling a gap in San Diego's freeway system and will
provide a new, convenient connection for businesses across eastern
Chula Vista and Otay Mesa to employment centers across the border."
Diego is also beefing up its office space. The Ryan Companies, a
commercial real estate developer, broke ground on RiverView at Santee
in East San Diego in December 2006. It's a 1.9 million-square-foot,
master-planned mixed-use campus designed for technology, R&D, and
professional offices. "We can attract corporate users at 20 percent
below market rents and a large employment base in the surrounding
area," says Matt Reid, vice president of development for Ryan's West
Division. "I think the land prices are going to drop in the Southern
California area and opportunistic companies will begin locating here."
Angeles is known worldwide as a Hollywood hangout, but the region's
manufacturing jobs are on the rise in 2006. According to Manufacturing
in Southern California, a report issued by the Los Angeles Economic
Development Corporation (LAEDC), Los Angeles is the third-largest
manufacturing "state," behind the entire state of California and Texas.
and Ventura Counties, and the Riverside-San Bernardino area all added
factory jobs during 2006, which was counter to the national trend,"
says LAEDC Chief Economist Jack Kyser. "What are the implications of
this large factory work force? This sector represents a huge market for
all types of suppliers and means that local manufacturers can find
inputs right in their backyard."
The Inland Empire - San
Bernardino County and Riverside County - and Ontario markets are
benefiting from a bustling distribution hub. There's plenty of
undeveloped land there at favorable rates compared to adjacent coastal
communities. For its part, San Bernardino County has three
international airports and nearby access to the ports of Long Beach and
Los Angeles. More industrial land is under development there than in
Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties combined.
developer, Hillwood Investment Properties, plans to complete a total of
12 industrial buildings totaling 5.7 million square feet in four
different developments in the Inland Empire by the end of 2008. "With
the completion of the Interstate 210 extension and increased imports
from Asia arriving at the Southern California ports, this is a perfect
time to add space in the Inland Empire," says John Magness, senior vice
president of Hillwood Investment Properties. "Hillwood has close to
1,000 developable acres in Southern California and is aggressively
seeking other land opportunities in the area."
The City of
Hesperia is challenging companies to think outside the basin - the Los
Angeles basin, that is. Located 90 miles northeast of Los Angeles and
35 miles north of San Bernardino, Hesperia is attracting distribution,
manufacturing and commercial enterprises with its productive, low-cost
labor force. Developers receive fast-track service on permitting, and
companies looking to set up shop quickly will find plenty of existing
industrial and commercially zoned properties.
When you dig
beneath the headlines that magnify the challenges, California's story
is one of growth and opportunity. "California is still growing where
there is available property," says Thomas Loo, co-managing shareholder
in the Los Angeles office of Greenberg Traurig. "You see businesses
locating inland, filling in around large metropolitan areas now.
California is one of the largest economies in the world because of the
climate, the melting pot of talent and the innovation."