Potential industrial project aims to bring 5,000 jobs to Ontario

03.13.2015

The Irvine-based Sares-Regis development group plans to develop 150 acres of empty land north of the 10 Freeway in Ontario.

ONTARIO >> Development plans for 3 million square feet of industrial space on one of the last big swaths of vacant land in the city — north of the 10 Freeway, near Vineyard Avenue — could bring thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in potential revenue to the city.

Irvine-based development group Sares-Regis is in the process of acquiring 150 acres of a total of 250 acres of the undeveloped land, owned for about 50 years by the Meredith Family Trust. The property, located southeast of Fourth Street and Vineyard Avenue and west of a flood control channel, is one of the few remaining undeveloped pieces of land in Ontario.

“The Meredith (property) is one of the last vacant pieces of land under single ownership in the city,” said Scott Murphy, city planning director.

Representatives for the Meredith Family Trust could not be immediately reached for comment.

If approved and completed, the project is expected to generate over 5,000 jobs and about $85 million in revenue to the city of Ontario over 20 years, said Patrick Russell, vice president of commercial development for Sares-Regis.

Sares-Regis submitted an application to amend the city’s specific plan for the location, which is expected to be heard by the Planning Commission on March 19, officials said.

The original specific plan for the 250 acres call for mixed-use development of high density housing, apartments, retail and office space, Murphy said.

If approved, the plan amendment would allow for development of light industrial buildings on the 150 acres in the process of being acquired, he said. The remaining 100 acres, adjacent to the 10 Freeway, and south of Inland Empire Boulevard, would remain zoned for mixed-use development.

“They have submitted applications for a general plan amendment and a specific plan amendment to change from mixed-use to an industrial designation,” Murphy said. “They’ve been going through a series of environment studies on the project.”

Sares-Regis, Russell said, plans on building a high quality, environmentally sustainable project, that would include drought-tolerant landscaping and pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The project will feature seven industrial buildings, including some warehousing, Russell said.

Solar panels are planned for the roofs of the buildings, which will provide 1.6 million kilowatt hours per year, Russell said.

Sares-Regis hopes to break ground this summer, with 12 months of construction expected prior to the first tenant moving in, Russell said.

“There is always strong user interest for this type of industrial project in the Ontario area due to the excellent location, business friendly leadership and proximity to the airport,” Russell said.

Russell said the project, if approved, would mean a density reduction for the city’s plan for the area. In addition, the project would bring infrastructure improvements that would help reduce flooding on Fourth Street, he said.

“We’re in effect downsizing the property for less density and less traffic by requesting the change to allow industrial use, and I think that is an important fact for folks to understand,” Russell said. “Because potentially, what was originally envisioned for the Ontario general plan was a much denser project that would have produced more than double the traffic. So this is among the many benefits to the community from going with a much lower density.”

Randall Lewis, principal of The Lewis Group of Companies which has developed a fair amount of land in the region, said the proposed project will have a positive impact on the local economy.

“It’s a very well-located piece of property, and it will be attractive for many uses,” Lewis said of the Meredith land. “It would be good to get extra jobs to the Inland Empire to fuel the rest of the economy.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Neil Nisperos

Neil covers the economy for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, The Sun and the Redlands Daily Facts. Reach the author at %3Ea%2F%3C6000ps4000psswengnal1000pssorepsin4000pslien%3E%22sorepsiN%20lieN%20liaM-E%22%3Deltit%20%22%3Btuo-esae%20s14000ps0%203000psnoitisnart-tikbew-%20%3Btuo-esae%20s14000ps0%203000psnoitisnart%20%3Benon%203000psnoitaroced-txet%20%3B%29471%20%2C021%20%2C28%28bgr%203000psroloc%22%3Delyts%20%226000ps4000psswengnal1000pssorepsin4000pslien3000psot2000ps%22%3Dferh%20a%3C or follow Neil on Twitter: @ReporterNeil.

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