Industrial Demand is Unabated in the High Desert

by Jeff Shaw

By Joseph W. Brady, President, Bradco Cos.

The High Desert portion of San Bernardino County, also known as the Mojave River Valley, is anticipating exceptional industrial development growth in the upcoming years as the balance of the Inland Empire builds out and has no significant land to further develop. 

The Mojave River Valley region contains more than 22 million square feet of industrial space. The City of Hesperia has recently experienced a mass grading project — probably the largest grading project in the High Desert’s history. Covington Capital is mass grading 232 acres where it intends to build a 3.5-million-square-foot industrial complex. 

The first building (1,055,360 square feet) will be developed for Modway. It will increase the major furniture distributor’s ability to serve regional and national distribution requirements from its current 310,555-square-foot facility in Fontana. The 60-acre site is being developed by Exeter Property Group.

Joseph W. Brady, President, Bradco Cos.

Big Lots opened its new distribution center in north/east Apple Valley in late 2019. This 1.3-million-square-foot facility sits just south of Walmart’s distribution center. 

Brightline West has also acquired property in north Apple Valley near Dale Evans Parkway for a high-speed rail station that will move passengers from Southern California to Las Vegas in 90 minutes at speeds up to 180 miles per hour. Brightline expects to break ground this year and could begin moving passengers in 2024. Similar to its south Florida rail stations, Brightline’s Apple Valley station is expected to attract transit-oriented commercial and residential development in the surrounding area.

The project will create more than 1,200 housing units, injecting $2.1 billion into California’s economy. This includes $275 million in federal, state and local tax revenue. The high-speed electric train will remove as many as 4.5 million cars from traveling a total of 811 million miles annually on Interstate 15, the busy thoroughfare between Southern California and Las Vegas.

Most of the industrial development occurring in Victorville has been completed by Stirling Capital Investments at Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA). With nearly 5 million square feet completed to date, Stirling Capital will soon begin construction on an 819,964-square-foot, LEED-designed facility for a multinational consumer products company on a 43-acre site. Completion is anticipated in May 2022. 

Stirling recently sold a facility to local defense and aerospace contractor Exquadrum, which celebrated the grand opening of its new Victorville headquarters on April 9. SCLA also executed five new parking agreements with ComAv in 2020 to store and maintain aircraft that was grounded due to the pandemic. As of December 2020, about 532 aircraft were stored at SCLA, generating significant income for the facility. 

The City of Adelanto continues to increase its industrial space through the development of medical marijuana cultivation buildings. There have been multiple sales of fully improved, concrete, tilt-up industrial condominiums that listed at nearly $167 per square foot. These facilities have abundant power for cultivation and reside in HDO Industrial Park. 

Adelanto is also home to drone manufacturer General Atomics, prefabricated construction manufacturer Clark Pacific and large private prison operator GEO Group. The city recently welcomed Elon Musk’s Boring Company, which purchased a 20-acre parcel of ground. Boring Company plans to explore many possibilities as it experiments with tunneled techniques. This includes digging the initial portion of a tunnel at an angle rather than digging a hole and dropping the Boring machine down to the level of the tunnel. 

As one of the only regions in the Inland Empire with room to grow, the High Desert is poised for continued attention and attraction, especially from the industrial sector.

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