San Bernardino County Business Edition Update – Recent Leases Demonstrate the Resiliency of the High Desert – Plans for New High Desert Training Center

June 10, 2020 – High Desert Shows Resiliency

Three major lease transactions with The Boeing Company, United Furniture Industries (UFI) and ComAv Asset Management were recently completed at Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA) in Victorville. The announcements highlight the meaningful operational, workforce, and expansion benefits to high-caliber companies locating at the regional business and logistics hub and within the High Desert.

Brian Parno, chief operating officer at Stirling Development, developer of SCLA, shares why business is looking to the High Desert now more than ever, and the enduring strength of the High Desert region.

The good news is that all three companies decided at some point that they were going to work through the current health crisis and plan for the long term. People are still optimistic about the future.

Boeing is moving one of their operations out of the Los Angeles basin. For them SCLA is a cost-effective, viable alternative. That’s a growing trend we have been witnessing for many months now. Companies are leaving Orange and Los Angeles counties because of economics. There’s a place for them in Victorville with an abundant workforce and very low overall cost of occupancy.

ComAv is a business that’s been at SCLA for more than 13 years. Among many other things, they handle aircraft service. The lease renewal we have agreed upon continues their long-term commitment to the region. San Bernardino County has proven to be an economical place to operate.

Since the end of April we’ve noticed companies are renewing their search for spaces, they’re calling and activity has started back up again. In the 4.5 million square feet of space we’ve built at SCLA, approximately 50 percent of our tenants are manufacturers. The High Desert is attractive because of the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District and the overall lower cost of occupancy. When I look at the future deal flow for our properties, I would say 75 percent are manufacturing-based inquiries.

When we get requests from companies, one of the questions is, “Where am I going to get my workers from?” There are 450,000 people in the High Desert. Most of them would rather work close to home. Currently 60,000 or so people drive down the hill for work each day. They would rather work next door so there is a massive pent-up workforce supply in the immediate region. Every time a business locates here, there is a line around the block of job applicants. With the addition of the new High Desert Training Center this year, operated by Victor Valley Community College, we’re now able to provide customized training solutions for local businesses to further equip their local workforce.

High Desert Training Center Looks to Fall Opening

The High Desert Training Center became a reality in 2019 when Stirling Capital Investments and Prologis, Inc. entered into a 10-year agreement with Victor Valley Community College (VVCC) to donate an existing building at SCLA. VVCC will facilitate hands-on training programs to better prepare the High Desert region’s workforce in the skills identified as in demand by local businesses.

“The partners in our business believe strongly that having a training facility specifically dedicated for businesses in the region will help us grow the economic base of the entire High Desert. It will ensure our community has people with the right skills moving forward,” Brian Parno shared.

According to Dr. Walden, president, Victor Valley College, the Center is making plans for fall classes, with required COVID-19 safety guidelines in place. Some of the programs being planned now include: Apprenticeship with General Atomics; Industrial Mechanical Training; and Workforce Readiness Academy.  There could even be a (pre)apprenticeship program for high school students focused on Industrial Mechanical, pending guidelines and
reopening timelines.

“Victor Valley College is excited about the collaboration with our private sector partners on this exciting project.  Now more than ever, we must prepare the future workforce to meet the needs of local industries,” said Walden.