Lions, tigers and elephants are coming to Ontario on Friday as part of a circus-like celebration to mark the opening of land sales at the 505-acre California Commerce Center South.
The project is part of California Commerce Center at Ontario, a 1,855-acre master-planned business park also known as Foreign Trade Zone 50-1, an extension of Port of Long Beach Foreign Trade Zone 50.
Described as the Inland Empire's largest business park, California Commerce Center at Ontario is the only Foreign Trade Zone in Southern California offering land for sale and large buildings for sale or lease.
Just east and south of Ontario International Airport and ringed by the San Bernardino, Devore and Pomona freeways, California Commerce Center at Ontario represents a $250-million investment by its developers.
When built out, in the mid-1990s, the development is expected to have 22 million square feet of buildings valued, at today's rates, at more than $1.5 billion and employing an estimated 35,000 persons.
Since the first building sites were offered at the business park in 1983, $115,539,250 in land has been sold there, not including the sale of the first 65 acres in California Commerce Center South, which is near the Pomona (60) Freeway between Archibald and Haven avenues.
California Commerce Center South eventually will have a direct link with the airport via Haven Avenue. With a non-reclaimable wastewater treatment line bisecting the property, the project is expected to attract manufacturers as well as business/commercial and office users. It contains 17 parcels, ranging in size from 8.4 to 56.1 acres and in price from $5.50 to $8 a square foot or about $2 million to $13.5 million.
Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services is handling sales.
The grand opening of California Commerce Center South also marks a preview of the third phase of California Commerce Center. Phase 3 will consist of 572 acres that are contiguous to the first two phases of the original 1,350-acre site. Adjoining the eastern boundary of the airport, Phase 3 will include 51 land parcels ranging in size from three to 49 acres.
Ontario Industrial Partners is developing the business park. Partners are the Lusk Co., Cadillac Fairview/California Inc. and Shaw & Talbot Associates II, a joint venture of Hillman Properties and Donald Shaw and Milton Gottlieb.
They are also hosting the grand opening Friday, which is aiming to draw more than 2,000 invited guests.
Besides the animals at the opening, which starts at 10:30 a.m., there will be a marching band and guided bus tours of Phases 1 and 2 and the Ontario Auto Center, which will have 12 auto dealerships and related automotive businesses when completed on 98 acres of the business park.
Phase 1 has 2.7 million square feet of buildings completed and another 219,458 square feet approved for construction. Phase 2 has 2.2 million square feet of buildings completed, under construction or approved.
A highlight of Phase 2 is the new, $5-million, 203,620-square-foot parts distribution center recently opened by BMW of North America.
During the grand opening, there will also be a full-sized circus tent and adjoining midway with game and information booths.
Proceeds from the game booths, with matching funds provided by Ontario Industrial Partners, will benefit the Starlight Foundation, a national organization serving chronically and terminally ill children.
Information booths will be sponsored by developers of projects in the business park and government agencies trying to develop new business in Ontario and San Bernardino County.
These developers are among the opening's co-hosts, which include: The Paragon Group, Leed Properties, Cal Fed Income Properties, Jay D. Jaeger/Jaeger Properties, Taylor Woodrow of California, Hillman Properties, Saunders Development, George Elkins Co., Wells Fargo Real Estate Industries Group, Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services, the Ontario Redevelopment Agency, the San Bernardino County Economic & Community Development Department, the law firm of Pettis, Tester, Kruse & Krinsky; Clarion Hotel, and Riverside Construction.
David W. Ariss, managing director of the business park, has dubbed the opening "Big Deals Under the Big Top." He has invited such deal-makers as real estate developers and brokers, mortgage bankers, business executives, consuls and foreign trade representatives from many countries, San Bernardino County government leaders and officials from Inland Empire cities, bankers, builders and state and national political figures.
Sales 'Like a Land Rush'
"While our grand opening has a circus theme, it has a very serious purpose," Ariss said. Besides marking an opening, the event will give "everyone the chance to have an overall look at our project at one time and to meet the people who are supporting us in its growth," he said.
Its growth has been considerable, he noted, likening sales there during the past few years to "a land rush." Since 1984, when first escrows closed, 697.3 acres have been sold.