The City of San Bernardino has proposed a set of initiatives, programs, and investments intended to revitalize its downtown area.
“When we transform our downtown, we transform San Bernardino.” said Interim City Manager Charles McNeely. “And that time is now.”
The Mayor and City Council were given a preview on June 30 of the initiatives planned to revitalize downtown. In the coming months, the City Council will be asked to approve many of the specific steps.
“Downtown San Bernardino is already a huge economic driver for our City,” added McNeely. “It has the potential to bring many more jobs, much more housing, and significantly more economic activity than there currently is.”
The downtown area accounts for only 1.4 percent of the city’s population, but accounts for 19 percent of the city’s jobs.
“To build upon the opportunities in downtown San Bernardino, the City has assembled a set of proposals that will take advantage of San Bernardino’s strengths,” said Economic Development Manager Amanda Hernandez. “Some are best practices; some are specific to San Bernardino. Collectively, they will make a tremendous impact.”
Among the proposals are:
- Partnering with the Cal State San Bernardino Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) to create an Entrepreneurial Resource Center to offer programs and counseling to existing and startup businesses. Since its inception, IECE has counseled and trained nearly 150,000 existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, small business owners, and students.
- Evaluating the feasibility of using Court Street between D and E Streets as a pedestrian corridor to hold farmers markets, arts, culture, and food fairs, and other special events.
- Partnering with downtown businesses and property owners to create a downtown property and business improvement district (PBID).
- Working with Cal State, San Bernardino to develop a downtown satellite campus for select programs.
- Authorizing the San Bernardino Police Department to hire additional officers to create a permanent downtown quality of life team to address safety issues specific to the downtown area. This would build upon a successful pilot project launched earlier this year downtown.
- Working to revitalize City-owned property, including the Regal Cinema Plaza, the Convention Center, San Manuel Stadium – home of the 66ers, E Street retail sites, and the former Woolworth Building.
- Conducting a preliminary Engineering and Space Study Plan to determine the next steps for San Bernardino’s City Hall.
- Starting a $2.5 million renovation to the historic California Theater.
- Adding additional economic development staff to focus on the attraction, retention, and expansion of businesses, housing, and employment.
- Contracting with a real estate brokerage firm to market city-owned property.
- Developing an economic development action plan to build upon recent planning efforts such as the downtown specific plan and investment playbook.
- Launching a façade improvement program to enhance and upgrade building exteriors along key commercial corridors.
- Developing a revolving loan program to provide emergency and ongoing financing to small businesses.
- Exploring the creation of additional downtown special events to build upon the success of the Miracle on Court Street, Route 66 Rendezvous, Arts Fest, and Vegan Fest.
Some steps to revitalize downtown San Bernardino are already underway. In recent months, the City has:
- Created a $3 million small business and non-profit grant program. The program, in partnership with the Small Business Development Center, awards grants between $10,000 and $35,000 to qualifying small businesses and non-profits who receive training on how to sustain and grow their business. A second round of funding will be available in the coming months.
- Began a proactive review of downtown properties to ensure that owners maintain the physical appearance and condition of their properties. This is a result of recent Council actions to expand the size of the Code Enforcement department.
- Investing $9 million into the refurbishment of Seccombe Lake Park. Conceptual plans were presented to the City Council on July 19.
“We are already seeing increased investment in downtown San Bernardino,” added Hernandez. “Entrepreneurs, investors recognize that the transformation is underway.”
- Last year, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted to consolidate and expand its footprint in downtown San Bernardino with the creation of a 307,000 square foot government center. This project will bring more employees to downtown San Bernardino and create additional demand for downtown business and housing options.
- Several new restaurants are under construction on 5th street. This includes a second downtown Starbucks location, a Del Taco, and a Chipotle. In addition, the Planning Commission recently approved the expansion of the In-N-Out Burger and the construction of a Sonic restaurant.
- Investors recently purchased the historic Heritage Building on Court Street with the intention of renovating the building and opening a new restaurant.
- The owners of 330 D Street where Chase Bank is located recently created the shared workspace Studio D. Among its tenants are the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce and Music Changing Lives.
One of the biggest economic opportunities remains the 42-acre Carousel Mall property. Currently, the mall is being demolished, with planning underway to build the infrastructure needed to re-develop the property. Ultimately, the City will seek a private partner to develop the site with new housing and commercial development.
Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce to Lead California Delegation at GITEX GLOBAL 2023 in Dubai
Fostering Technological Synergy: Bridging the Tech Gap with Global Partners
Demonstrating the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce’s (IERCC) commitment to global tech collaboration and innovation, the organization will lead a California delegation to the world-renowned GITEX GLOBAL event in Dubai from October 16-20, 2023. Though the original invitation extended to IERCC’s President & CEO, Mr. Edward Ornelas, Jr., he will not be in attendance. Instead, the California delegation will be spearheaded by the Chamber’s newly-appointed CTO, Mr. Gabriel Rangel.
Organized by the Dubai World Trade Centre, GITEX GLOBAL 2023 promises to be grander than ever. The event is set to host over 6,000 exhibiting companies and startups, drawing more than 170,000 tech and business executives from over 170 countries. The mega-event will sprawl across 41 vast halls and, for the first time ever, will be held at two prominent venues – the iconic Dubai World Trade Centre and the new Dubai Harbour for Expand North Star, making it the host for the world’s largest startup event.
Mr. Edward Ornelas, Jr. commented, “While I regret not attending GITEX personally, I am proud to have Mr. Rangel at the helm of this effort. I’m confident that our delegation will foster new collaborations and present the Golden State as a tech powerhouse.”
This year’s conference adopts the compelling theme of “The Year to Imagine AI in Everything”. Attendees are poised to witness the grandest showcase of AI tech giants and industry frontrunners. Additionally, it promises to kindle profound dialogues and debates concerning the socio-economic implications of burgeoning AI technology.
“Leading the California delegation at GITEX offers us an unmatched platform to nurture and solidify relationships with global tech partners,” said Mr. Gabriel Rangel, CTO of IERCC. “As the technology landscape continues to evolve, it’s critical for us to be a part of these international collaborations. I’m honored to spearhead this mission on behalf of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce.”
An integral part of the California delegation, Mr. Ram Thanapandian, Principal Technology Consultant to the State of California and Chair of CA State Treasurer Fiona Ma’s Technical Advisory Commission, will be present, providing invaluable insights and representing the State of California Treasurer’s Office.
IERCC’s leadership in organizing this delegation underscores the crucial role that California plays in the global tech ecosystem and mirrors Dubai’s ambitious vision as encapsulated in the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33). This strategy aims to substantially expand Dubai’s economic landscape in the upcoming decade, securing its stature among the world’s leading global cities.
Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President of the Dubai World Trade Centre and CEO of KAOUN International, remarked on the invaluable contributions the California delegation will bring to the event. She looks forward to an event marked by knowledge-sharing, collaboration, and pioneering discussions.
For additional information on GITEX GLOBAL 2023, please refer to: GITEX 2023 Preview.
Economist Christopher Thornberg, State Treasurer Fiona Ma Headline New Forecast Conference
Coming October 5th
Economic Horizon 2024: What Lies Ahead?
The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Beacon Economics and the County of San Bernardino, is thrilled to announce that the anticipated economic forecast conference, Economic Horizon 2024: What Lies Ahead, Inland Empire? will be held October 5th from 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM at the El Prado Golf Courses in the vibrant city of Chino, California.
Esteemed economist, Dr. Christopher Thornberg will present complete outlooks for the U.S., California, and Inland Empire economies. “The Inland Empire stands at the crossroads of remarkable economic opportunities and challenges,” said Thornberg. “I’m excited to unpack the trends and shifts that will define the region’s economic landscape in the next year, and beyond.”
Known for his razor-sharp observations, and fun, energized delivery, Thornberg’s presentation will include pointed discussions about inflation, the Fed’s next move, housing markets, strengths and instabilities in the economy, and what current trends mean for the nation, state, and local region.
The conference will also be graced by the insights of California State Treasurer Fiona Ma as keynote speaker. In her words, “The strength of California’s economy is deeply interwoven with the growth trajectories of its regions. The Inland Empire, with its dynamism and resilience, is a testament to this synergy. I am honored to join ‘Economic Horizon 2024’ and share a vision where policies, partnerships, and potentials converge to elevate the Inland Empire to unprecedented economic heights.”
“This conference is a testament to the collaborative spirit of the Inland Empire and our commitment to fostering a robust, resilient economy,” said Edward Ornelas, Jr., President of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Our partnership with Beacon Economics and the County of San Bernardino aims to offer a platform for profound economic discussion, forecasting, and strategic future planning.”
Attendees can anticipate not only expert insights into the economy but also networking opportunities and a chance to connect with key business, government, and nonprofit leaders from across the region.
Full event details are available at: economy.iechamber.org
Webb Investments acquires Silver Creek Industries, an industry leader in modular construction for schools
Webb Investments today announced the launch of a new company, Silver Creek Modular, after acquiring the assets of Silver Creek Industries, a highly respected modular construction company known for bringing innovative, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to the education industry.
Silver Creek Industries’ existing business, including its employees and its Perris, Calif., manufacturing facility, will remain with the new company, with Webb providing the investment capital, resources and expertise to enhance Silver Creek’s presence in the modular construction marketplace.
The acquisition closed in June of 2023, following Silver Creek Industries’ Chapter 11 filing in the Central Bankruptcy Court of California.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Silver Creek into our family business, and look forward to building on our shared commitment to improving educational opportunities within communities across our region,” said Kiana Webb, CEO of Webb Family Enterprises. “This acquisition aligns with our strategy to invest in established firms that can help us drive community revitalization and inclusive growth, while improving quality of life and increasing economic output.”
Silver Creek Industries was founded in 2004 and has completed more than 1,000 projects in the education, commercial, medical, military, government and multi-family housing markets. More recently, the company’s focus has been on providing high-quality, sustainable modular buildings for schools and educational institutions. Silver Creek Industries is well known for delivering projects on time and on budget, with minimal disruption to school and the community.
Webb Investments is a privately held, family-owned company focusing on creating a community development ecosystem that drives inclusive, organic growth and transforms the areas they serve.
For more information on Webb Investments, please visit webbinvestments.com.
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