06 Apr 2022

CALIFORNIA CENTERS: The Inland Empire’s Resilient Emergence

By Nellie Day | March/April 2022

Most would agree COVID-19 wasn’t particularly kind to physical retail, particularly in California. There were closures, restrictions and sometimes a general unpleasantness sinply due to the stress of shopping during a pandemic. Though some markets are still working on their retail recovery, the Inland Empire is full steam ahead.

“The Inland Empire emerged from the pandemic as resilient as it did because of the strong growth in population, employment and housing affordability,” says J.C. Casillas, managing director of research at NAI Capital Commercial.

The population is certainly growing. Riverside and San Bernardino counties added 374,988 residents between 2010 and 2020, according to the Census Bureau. This is more than Los Angeles and Orange counties combined. “In the Inland Empire, home buyers can buy a new home for well below what they could afford in Los Angeles County or Orange County, keep their job in LA or OC — or find a new job close to their new home,” Casillas continues. “This in-migration trend will continue as the residents find value and opportunity in the Inland Empire.”

“In the Inland Empire… “

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What’s Hot in the IE

So what, exactly, is selling in the Inland Empire? As Caron points out, daily needs are big with consumers. “Grocery-anchored shopping centers remain the most stable retail asset class in the industry, especially in areas of new growth like the Inland Empire,” says Vicky Hammond, managing principal of Coreland Companies. “Neighborhood centers that provide daily needs shopping, services, fitness studios and a variety of quick-service restaurants are the most attractive to growing families and younger residents.”

Hammond also notes that today’s centers need to create community spaces, particularly in areas with new residential development. She points to New Haven Marketplace in the master-planned community of Ontario Ranch as an example of this. “

Anchored by Stater Bros., this new shopping center features a variety of quick-service restaurants, coffee, local services, yoga and fitness,” Hammond continues. “The blend of tenants is complimented by plenty of outdoor seating, a community green and Rodeo X Public Market. Combined, it creates a unique destination in the daytime and into the evenings.”

A similar strategy is also playing out at the master-planned Preserve at Chino community…

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Click here for the complete California Centers article, Page 10.