The expansion last week of the Port of Long Beach Foreign Trade Zone No. 50--the only such facility in Southern California--to include the California Commerce Center in Ontario, makes it one of the largest combination public and private trade zones in the United States in terms of space set aside for its activities.
When the 1,350-acre commerce center, adjoining Ontario International Airport, is completed, it will contain hotels, service businesses and office buildings as well as industrial and research-and-development facilities, and will be valued at more than $1 billion.
Inclusion of the center in the zone was approved Monday by the Foreign Trade Zones Board in Washington, and the grant was formally presented Friday by John C. Evans, deputy assistant secretary for import administration, International Trade Administration of the Commerce Department, at the Ontario Civic Center.
As explained by a Port of Long Beach spokesman, a foreign trade zone is basically a duty-free area. Goods in transit through this country may be warehoused in bond without paying duty, and there are other advantages. For instance, a component may be brought in duty-free, installed and the duty only paid when the unit is shipped out of the zone, at a different and probably lower rate, as part of a completed article.
The center adjoins the eastern boundary of the airport and extends west to the junction of the San Bernardino (Interstate 10) and Devore (Interstate 15) freeways; its southern boundary is one mile north of the Pomona (California 60) Freeway.
The master developer is Ontario Industrial Partners, made up of John D. Lusk & Son, Cadillac Fairview/California Inc. and Shaw & Talbot Associates II. The master developer sells land to corporate users and individual developers; more than 90% of the 280-acre Phase 1 is sold and Phase 2 property will be available this summer.
The center was officially opened in 1983, and Phase 1 now has 605,000 square feet of buildings completed and for sale or lease, and an additional 700,000 square feet under construction. Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services is the exclusive sales and leasing agent.
Long Beach Harbor Commission President Jim Gray said the grant will prove to be of great importance to the the international trade community throughout Southern California in attracting new industry and encouraging existing industry to expand, added:
"This expansion of the foreign trade zone program to include a major commercial-industrial park is a necessary step in the port's plan to insure larger-scale zone operations. It further reflects the joint cooperation of the Port of Long Beach, local governments and private industry in facilitating commerce and trade."
The Toyota Motor Manufacturing truck bed plant in Long Beach and the National Steel & Shipbuilding facility in San Diego have previously been designated as subzones of Foreign Trade Zone No. 50 but this is the zone's first expansion.
David W. Ariss, managing director of the center, said, "The proximity of Ontario International Airport, with its present and projected capability of handling air-freight shipments, makes the commerce center especially appropriate for a foreign trade zone."