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Home / Neighborhood / San Bernardino / Report: High-speed rail, development to bolster retail in San Bernardino County

Report: High-speed rail, development to bolster retail in San Bernardino County

by Staff
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A new era of enhanced retail sales and product availability is in store for San Bernardino County in the near future, according to a recent report in the real estate trade publication GlobeSt.com by ALM.

“Emerging opportunity and sustainable progress” was how the article published last month characterized America’s largest county by size and 15th most populous, as it gets set for “a first-of-its-kind transportation project” along with plans to develop a nearly 10,000-acre master plan.

“We talk about San Bernardino County’s affordability and for good reason, but I think this chapter of our development will really emphasize the broad growth and economic diversification taking place across the unincorporated areas of the county and all 24 cities,” Derek Armstrong, director of the San Bernardino County Economic Development Department, told GlobeSt.com.

Rancho Cucamonga, the county’s fourth-most populous city, is slated to be the end point for the country’s first high-speed rail link between Las Vegas and Southern California spearheaded by developer Brightline West. The Cucamonga Station’s transit-oriented district will be where travelers connect with Metrolink rail that will take them to Los Angeles or Ontario International Airport.

“All in one place, the multi-modal transportation hub and enhancements will further elevate the region as a travel and economic destination,” Armstrong said. “There is great excitement about Cucamonga Station.”

The Resort, a forthcoming 160-acre mixed-use development adjacent to the Cucamonga Station will have 3,450 residences for sale or lease and 220,000 square feet of retail space. 

“The Resort aims to provide a unique and engaging experience, offering convenience, activities, public spaces, and services within 0.5 miles of Cucamonga Station,” according to the article. 

Another project, dubbed the Epicenter Master Plan, was approved by the Rancho Cucamonga City Council late last year, and intends to reinvigorate the 56 acre-area around the “minor league baseball-anchored Epicenter Sports Complex,” GlobeSt.com reported.

In the High Desert city of Hesperia, Silverwood Developers has devised a master plan for a community developed by DMB Development that will total 9,366 acres with 15,633 residential units and 700,000 square feet of commercial space. The “transformative project” will also include nearly 5,000 acres of open space featuring 387 acres of parks and 166 miles of paths, which connect to the famed Pacific Crest Trail, the article reported.

The first phase of the project is underway and will add about 2,000 homes, with model homes expected by early next year.

“Call it massive or even mega, Silverwood is projected to grow the city of Hesperia’s population by 50,000 people over the next 15 to 20 years,” Armstrong said. “It’s really designed to be a walkable community with town squares and stores. The abundance of open space is a beautiful feature that a lot of people really look for when moving to a new community.”

San Bernardino County saw an uptick in retail rents and experienced historically low vacancy rates under 6% at the end of 2023, the article reported. At least six retail developments larger than 50,000 square feet are scheduled for delivery this year.

“The county’s supply chain, manufacturing and healthcare industry clusters are driving the demand to which retailers are attracted,” according to GlobeSt.com. Global shipper Maersk recently moved into 1.2 million square feet of industrial space in Hesperia, and the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Rancho Cucamonga is getting $500 million in improvements.

“I believe as San Bernardino County moves forward, with our population growth, as one of the more affordable options in the region for families that are looking to start and grow, we’ll see the high demand for retail and its growth trend remain strong as well,” Armstrong said. “The retail industry is poised to continue to thrive.”

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