Focus on Carson
City of Carson Celebrates 45TH Anniversary
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Long Beach Business Journal
Carson’s Location And Business-Friendly Approach Continues To Drive Investors To The City As the city’s development, employment and revenues continue to improve from recessionary lows, Acosta comments that the 45th anniversary is “a great milestone for the city.”
■ By SAMANTHA MEHLINGER Staff Writer s Carson celebrates its 45th anniversary as an incorporated city, it is teeming with new projects by private investors, from retail to residential and industrial. Several major developments are in progress or have been completed: construction of the new Porsche Experience is underway; Kaiser Permanente’s new medical office has opened; Cinemark is planning to build a long-awaited movie theater; and development of an outlet mall at the Boulevards of South Bay has begun. Carson Mayor Jim Dear says a variety of factors are bringing investors to the city. Namely, the old real estate adage of “location, location, location” is a big draw. Carson is nestled among the 405, 710, 91 and 110 freeways, with easy access to the San Pedro Bay ports. Also critical, Dear says, is that “Carson is a business friendly city.” Dear says the city prioritizes “working with corporate citizens to enhance their profitability, and therefore their job creation.” Jackie Acosta, Carson’s interim city manager, expresses a similar sentiment. “We do our best to work with developers to make the process go smoothly so that building and bringing projects to the City of Carson is a good experience for them.”
City Of Carson Population Population ............................................91,714 Ethnicity Asian ....................................................25.6% White ....................................................23.8% Black ...................................................23.8% Pacific Islander ......................................2.6% American Indian ....................................0.6% Other ...................................................18.7% Two or More Races ................................4.8% Hispanic or Latino of any Race ..............38.6% Age Breakdown: Under Age 18 .....................................24.0% 18-24 .................................................10.9% 25-44 .................................................25.2% 45-64 .................................................26.2% 65 and older .......................................13.8% Median Age...............................................37.6 Source: 2010 Census
Businesses Continue Steady Growth In Carson he City of Carson is getting a shot in the arm from companies investing their resources in the city. Barry Waite, business development manager for the City of Carson, says the “volume and seriousness of calls from existing businesses” as well as new businesses interested in Carson “have shot way up from a couple years ago.” Waite believes the business climate in Carson is showing clear improvement from the recession, citing several indicators of good business growth within the city. “If you look at the sales tax numbers, the vacancy rates, and the development that is going on, you can clearly see times have changed,” he says. Mayor Jim Dear agrees, saying “Month by month it is getting better and better.” Interim City Manager Jackie Acosta notes, “Overall, the trend is very good for sales tax.” Dear, Acosta and Waite all emphasize Carson’s business-friendly efforts as a factor in bringing in new business and helping existing ones succeed. This includes having low business license fees compared to neighboring cities.
T Mayor Jim Dear is pictured inside Carson City Hall with Jackie Acosta, the city’s director of administrative services who is currently serving as interim city manager.
Carson’s unemployment rates are improving over last year, dropping from about 12 percent this time last year to 9.3 percent in May, according to the California Employment Development Department. Barry Waite, business development manager for the City of Carson, says the unemployment number “is clearly improving, but we have a ways to go.” Dear agrees that “it’s still much too high.” To continue improving employment numbers, Dear says the city is putting more weight behind its career center’s job placement functions. At the center, he says, “We work with local businesses to prescreen applicants for employment.” The mayor also notes that the city is working toward developing an official local hiring ordinance so that development projects within the city will create local hiring. One challenge Carson is facing is a structural deficit to its general fund. Last year, Dear says the deficit was around $3 million. Now, the deficit is “down to $600,000,” he explains. “That’s a good thing,” he says, but adds that there is still work to be done to fix the deficit. Acosta points out that, while the sizeable decrease is good, it is not necessarily a sign of things to come. She says that for fiscal year 2012-2013 Carson is “in the black;” however, this is only because “a number of one-time revenues helped us quite a bit.” Such revenues include housing and suc-
Inside 2013 Focus On Carson Thank you to the following companies whose advertisements made this section possible: Coldwell Banker Commercial BLAIR WESTMAC; The Carson Center; The Carson Companies; California State University, Dominguez Hills; California State University, Dominguez Hills College of Extended & International Education; DoubleTree by Hilton Carson; Freeway Tires; Kaiser Permanente Carson Medical Offices; OSHA Training Institute at California State University, Dominguez Hills; SouthBay Pavilion; StubHub Center; Watson Land Company. Photographs All photographs by Long Beach Business Journal Photojournalist Thomas McConville 2013 Focus On Carson Published July 16, 2013, by the Long Beach Business Journal, a publication of South Coast Publishing, incorporated in California in 1985. 2599 E. 28th Street, Suite 212, Signal Hill, CA 90755 Phone: 562/988-1222 • Website: lbbusinessjournal.com
Cover: Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center, Carson
cessor agency funds from the dissolution of redevelopment, a settlement with the City of La Mirada over sales taxes unpaid to Carson from the transfer of a major business, and a settlement with Los Angeles County over the miscalculation of property taxes borrowed by the state. These one-time revenues amount to about $6 million. Carson’s main sources of ongoing revenue are sales tax, property tax, franchise fees and utility user tax. Acosta explains that the city is continuing to project a deficit because costs are going up more quickly than revenues. Dear provides insight into how the major revenue sources are faring. “Franchise fees are pretty high performance in Carson. Unfortunately, because of the economy, those took a big hit a few years back and never recovered completely,” Dear says. Sales tax revenues are “performing really well,” according to Dear. Property taxes are also improving now that assessments are increasing again.
Carson Labor Force Number In Labor Force.........................46,300 Employed .............................................42,000 Unemployment Rate ................................9.3% Source: State Employment Development Department, May 2013
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The South Bay Pavilion’s Old Navy recently shuffled locations in the mall. Pictured is its new location near Radio Shack. More than 70 stores await shoppers.
Retail And Restaurants Carson’s major shopping center, SouthBay Pavilion is adjacent to the 405 freeway and is home to four major department stores: Sears, JC Penney, Target and IKEA, and it will soon welcome to a 14-screen Cinemark. According to the center’s website, more than 70 businesses are tenants of SouthBay Pavilion. Roger Burghdorf, executive vice president of leasing for Vintage Real Estate, LLC, which owns the shopping center, says businesses at SouthBay Pavilion are doing well this year. “Foot traffic has increased and 2013 sales are up significantly over the prior year,” he says. The mall has undergone a few changes since the start of the year. Shiekh Shoes is now open, and Burghdorf indicates, “Discussions and lease negotiations are under-
way with several national retailers” to bring in more stores. Metro Fusion, a men’s store, is currently under construction and is scheduled to open mid-summer 2013.” Existing storefronts have also undergone changes. “Beauty Lounge Spa re-opened and has become a trendsetter in the beauty industry in its new large and sleek contemporary space,” says Burghdorf. Old Navy reopened at a new location close to JC Penney. There has also been an influx of new food establishments to the shopping center. “Yogurtland opened and is producing a much higher-than-anticipated volume,” Burghdorf says. The new Olive Garden is open as well, and, according to Burghdorf, “A lease has been signed with Buffalo Wild Wings, and construction is slated to begin along Del Amo Boulevard during the third quarter of 2013.”
Adding Cinemark in the fall of 2014 is expected to drive additional traffic to the center. “A lease has been signed with Cinemark for a state-of-the-art theatre,” Burghdorf writes in an e-mail to the Business Journal. “The SouthBay Pavilion will be among one of the highest profile locations for Cinemark in the Los Angeles region.”
Hospitality With attractions running year round at the newly named StubHub! Center (formerly the Home Depot Center) and proximity to California State University, Dominguez Hills and industrial centers with big-name tenants, Carson continues to see a steady flow of business and leisure visitors. Overnighters looking for a place to stay typically reserve a room at the only full service hotel in the city: The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Carson. The DoubleTree has 225 rooms, a meeting space, restaurant, fitness center and pool. Larry Saward, general manager, says that after completing a “top to bottom renovation” in February of 2012, the response from patrons has been positive. Interior renovations include new guest rooms fit with high-definition televisions and updated furnishings. The lobby features new furnishings, carpeting, wall coverings and window treatments. Saward says one draw is that, unlike other hotels, the DoubleTree in Carson has “no additional charges,” such as for Wi-Fi or parking, tacked on to the room rate. “It’s a nice advantage to have,” he says. “Business year over year has improved,” Saward says. “We are pleased with our market share and improved occupancy and revenue.” He expects business will continue to grow. “We certainly expect the last half of 2013 to be even stronger than the first half of this year,” he explains, adding that he saw the same trend in 2012. While Carson Center, the city’s community and event space, is located just across the street, Saward says, “Most of our business is self-contained, where we are either booking conventions or social functions here at the hotel.” He says he has seen a year-over-year increase in bookings for events at the hotel. And, he points out, if the Carson Center has events that require overnight stays, “guests can walk across the lot, and here we are.” The DoubleTree is located along the 405 freeway at the Carson Street exit, and is part of the Civic Center complex.
Auto Dealers Carson’s automotive dealerships make up a sizeable chunk of the city’s tax revenues. Win Hyundai, Car Pros Kia, Carson Honda, Carson Nissan and Carson Toyota rank among the city’s top 25 tax contributors.
According to Waite, Carson’s auto dealers are “doing very well.” Overall, he says, “Their numbers are much improved from where they were a couple years ago.” For instance, he mentions that Car Pros Kia is now “the number one dealer for Kia” in the U.S. Win Automotive Group, which runs the Win Hyundai and Win Chevrolet dealerships, is experiencing an upswing in revenue across the board, according to part owner Hani Nassif. Win bought the dealerships from the Cormier family in 2011. Data provided by Nassif shows the sale of new vehicles at the Hyundai dealership increased 245 percent year over year from 2011 to 2012, after the ownership change. New car sales at Chevrolet increased 55 percent, while used car Chevrolet sales increased 104 percent. Total units sold – new and used – for Win Hyundai and Win Chevrolet increased year over year by 137 percent. Currently, Nassif says both dealerships are also seeing increased revenue in service and parts operations. He adds, “We also have our collision center, which is improving its numbers every month.” Both dealerships are undergoing major overhauls. “We have made a lot of changes and put a lot of investment back in our dealerships,” Nassif says. “We’re going through a major remodel for the Chevrolet dealership.” When the renovations are complete in September, he says, “We will have a brand new renovated Chevy showroom dealership.” An even bigger investment is going into a brand new Hyundai dealership. “We are building a brand new, state-of-the-art business from the ground up,” he explains, adding that it will be Hyundai’s newest dealership facility. All of this investment in the business translates into investment in Carson. “When we bought the dealerships, we had around 40 employees. In the year and a half since we owned it, we now have over 100 employees. When we open a new dealership, we will hire more,” Nassif remarks. “We are very pleased with the city, the direction they are going and all the projects going on right now that will help our business.” Nassif adds that, from what he has observed, the car industry is doing well across the board in Carson.
Industrial Real Estate The Carson Companies and Watson Land Company are the largest stakeholders of industrial real estate in Carson – and two of the largest in Southern California. The current industrial market is tight in the South Bay, with high demand and very low inventory. Both companies report that these trends are readily apparent in their operations. The Carson Companies owns 4.4 million square feet in the South Bay, most of which is in Carson, according to Todd Burnight, senior vice president of marketing and development. Of that space, he says, “Our vacancy rate is about one percent.” The availability rate, which includes occupied space that will soon be up for a new lease, is about five percent. In Carson, the company has only three units available. “A lot of tenants are staying put because there is a lack of availability,” says Burnight. “We are seeing a lot of renewal activity.” While the majority of the company’s industrial space in Carson is Class A (high-end), Burnight explains, “There has
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Long Beach Business Journal
The Renaissance at City Center, a mixed-use residential and retail development by Thomas Safran & Associates, is nearly ready for its first occupants. The Renaissance features 10,000 square feet of retail on its ground floor.
The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Carson is the city’s only existing full-service hotel. The DoubleTree’s 225 guest rooms were recently updated with new furnishings and high-definition televisions.
started to be more absorption in Class B product as a result of extremely low vacancy and availability in Class A.” In terms of revenues, Burnight says the company’s Carson operations are “steady as she goes.” Jim Flynn, president, says that while, overall, “revenues are great,” this is mainly due to the business’s investments in Houston. “Our revenues in Carson and Southern California are relatively flat,” he says. Flynn attributes the flat business in Carson to “the regulatory burden and the income tax increase in the State of
California.” He says he sees the impacts of these regulations in his tenant base. Watson Land Company’s industrial space in Carson is at zero percent vacancy, according to Lance Ryan, vice president of marketing and leasing. “Right now we are fully occupied. We don’t have any floor space available in the portfolio,” he says, adding that in Carson, Watson Land has 11 million square feet of industrial space. “So that’s a significant statement,” he says. Bruce Choate, Watson’s president and CEO, says demand is boosted by the extension of the overweight trucking corridor,
which now runs from the ports to their industrial buildings. “The response to that has been overwhelming,” he says. Ryan elaborates, “What that allows customers to do is reduce transportation costs because they are able to move products from the ports in fewer containers.” Ryan provides insight into the biggest driver for Watson Land’s Carson assets: “What we are relying on is the great location in the city of Carson. We are adjacent to the ports and freeways, so we’ve got an A-plus location to begin with.”
Oil After an announcement nearly a year ago, Tesoro Corporation’s purchase of BP’s Carson refinery is finally official. According to Tesoro, the facility is a “266
thousand barrel per day (mbpd) high conversion” refinery. The deal also includes “over 800 dealeroperated retail stations,” including ARCO stations. The purchase price for the assets was about $1.075 billion. Inventory and other working capital totaled another $1.35 billion. Tesoro declined to comment on the transaction, instead directing the Business Journal to information publically available on the corporation’s website. Tesoro “closed the acquisition of the first portion of the integrated Carson logistics assets for total consideration of $640 million.” The announcement continues: “These assets include six marketing and storage terminal facilities with a total combined (Please Continue To Page 4)
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Long Beach Business Journal
Far left, Kaiser Permanente members scroll through a touchscreen directory at the Carson Medical Offices. At left, Brian-Linh M.D., physician in charge of Kaiser Permanente’s Carson Medical Offices, with Anne LaFever, department administrator of Kaiser’s Carson and Long Beach Medical Offices.
throughput capacity of about 225 mbpd and approximately 6.4 million barrels of total storage capacity. The transaction price included cash of $544 million and Tesoro Logistics equity valued at $96 million.” While Tesoro has not announced plans for the facility, Mayor Dear says Tesoro representatives gave him some insights into potential plans. “They told me they are continuing to manufacture processed gasoline – crude oil into gasoline and other products,” he says. “They’re still going to supply Arco and other name-brand gas stations.”
Major Developments Transform Carson’s Landscape ignificant commercial, industrial, mixed-use, medical, retail and infrastructure developments are transforming the landscape of Carson. With investments from major businesses like Porsche, Occidental Petroleum and Kaiser Permanente, it seems the economic base may be changing for the better as well. “Unlike a lot of communities in the area, Carson wasn’t overbuilt,” Barry Waite of the
city’s business development department says. As the economy slowly improves, Carson’s land availability opens the door for investors. While Waite says The Boulevards at South Bay – a major mixed-use development on a former landfill – has an existing subsidy for redevelopment, most developments in the city “are purely private money.”
Infrastructure Improvements In addition to private developments, the city is looking to invest in infrastructure repairs to improve function and better the quality of life for the community. Sheri Repp-Loadsman, planning officer for the city, says some of these improvements are near Wilmington Avenue and the Dominguez Channel. To improve traffic flow on and off the 405 freeway, modifications are planned for Wilmington Avenue. “We are creating an additional lane so that there is more access going on to the southbound 405,” ReppLoadsman says. The city also wants to add a northbound lane to Wilmington on the north side of the freeway. “That entire project has gone out to bid,” she says. The target date for the project to reach city council for approval is August 6. Plans are also in the pipeline to improve the intersection at 223rd Street and Wilmington Avenue. In addition to expanding the
roadway, Repp-Loadsman says it is necessary to “rebuild the bridge structure that goes over the Dominguez Channel.” “For the bridge, the foremost concern is safety because it does not meet current earthquake standards,” she explains. “Almost as important is the ability for existing and future traffic to be able to flow through the intersection in a better manner.” She anticipates this project will also be ready for the city council in August. “If all goes well, we will be under construction with both of those projects by the end of the year,” she estimates. Waite believes both projects will have “the most impact on the community overall.” Another big project in the works is a redesign of 223rd Street from Lucerne Street to Alameda Street, which makes up Carson’s Auto Row. “It is considered one of the gateways to the city,” Repp-Loadsman remarks. This section of the street is right along the 405, which exits in the middle of auto row. Repp-Loadsman says the planning department wants to perform street repairs and beautification upgrades to the area. “When you go from Wilmington over to Alameda Street on the south side, it’s missing the curb and gutter. The street is in deplorable condition,” she describes. “We Bruce Choate, president and CEO of Watson Land Company (left), and Lance Ryan, vice president of marketing at leasing, at Watson Land’s newly renovated Watson Business Center at the corner of Carson Street and Wilmington Avenue. The Center is a corporate, multi-tenant business park spanning 95,000 square feet. Four buildings with 35 suites make up the center. The master-planned Watson Center is 113 acres.
obviously need to fix that and make sure it is brought up to acceptable standards.” Also important is beautification. The city intends to provide “medians that are attractively designed and landscaped,” as well as “nice sidewalks with street trees.” The goal? “Creating an environment that is conducive not only for people to travel, but also good for people who want to come to the Carson Auto Row,” says Repp-Loadsman. Waite believes the 223rd Street improvements will help businesses there. “It’s going to be a lot easier to get to the auto dealers and other businesses on 223rd Street. It will also be a lot easier to get to the manufacturing and trucking operations that are in Watson Center.” The Carson Street Improvement Plan is also in the works. The plan includes sidewalk widening for better pedestrian movement, landscaping and public art installations. “On the private development side, we’ve established an ordinance that facilitates mixed-use development,” Repp-Loadsman says. She hopes the project will put out a request for bids by the end of the year. “I think it is going to be a really beautiful project for the community,” she says.
Mixed-Use Developments Over the past few years, mixed-use residential and retail developments have been gaining traction in Carson. The Renaissance at City Center, a mixed-use residential and commercial project across from city hall, is now ready for residents. The project suffered a setback in 2011 when the second phase was burned down in a fire. “They are asking for a temporary certificate of occupancy right now for their 150 market rate apartments,” Repp-Loadsman says. “I expect that by end of month they will have full occupancy.” The development, by Thomas Safran & Associates also features 86 affordable senior-living units and 10,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. At 616 E. Carson St., construction is underway on another mixed-use project, developed jointly by CityView and Community Dynamics. According to Community Dynamics, the project will feature 13,000 square feet of retail and “152 one- to fourbedroom homes on 10 acres.” The total cost of the project is estimated at $50 million. Repp-Loadsman says the building will be four stories, with retail on the ground floor and the top three floors reserved for residential. Additionally, she says, “As you go into the development, you will come to a townhouse style development, and at the far end there will be detached condos.” She anticipates construction will start in the next 30 to 60 days.
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Long Beach Business Journal
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Repp-Loadsman estimates design and construction might begin by the end of this year, and that the project may not be completed until the first quarter of 2016.
A rendering of the Win Automotive Group’s new Hyundai dealership in Carson. Win Automotive is located on 223rd Street adjacent to the 405 freeway.
The Boulevards At South Bay One mixed-use development in particular is generating a lot of excitement in Carson. Talk to anyone “in the know” about development and The Boulevards at South Bay is sure to be one of the first projects mentioned. In addition to comprising up to 1,500 residential units, the former landfill site’s plans feature almost two million square feet of retail space. Plans also include a 300room hotel, a 16-screen movie theater, and 70,000 square feet of restaurant space. Perhaps most significant for the city are the 500,000 square feet dedicated for an outlet mall. The outlets will be the only
such location between the Citadel Outlets in Los Angeles and The Outlets at Orange in the City of Orange – that is, until the proposed Outlets at the Pike in Downtown Long Beach is developed. “It is a massive project,” says Repp-Loadsman of the Boulevards. “It is over half a billion square feet.” She adds, “We can’t wait for that project.” “Once that is up and running [The Boulevards] will be a significant addition to sales tax for the city each year.” says Jackie Acosta, interim city manager. Waite explains what is driving the massive project and other mixed-use develop-
ments in Carson. “In the case of all those retail developments, it’s the same thing: the fact that there is more demand than there is supply,” he says. “Demand for retail in our community is very strong.” Funds to remediate the former landfill site come from the now-defunct redevelopment agency (RDA), state grants and private sources. Repp-Loadsman says remediation is “not fully complete.” Some techniques implemented include covering the soil with a liner, then creating a methane collection system to draw out methane trapped underground, as well as water extraction wells.
A major investment that has been in the works for some time is the Porsche Driving Experience Center, where car enthusiasts can sign up to fine-tune their driving skills alongside Porsche employees. According to the City of Carson, the project will feature two courses “for driving and hazard-avoidance demonstrations,” as well as “a showcase for cars, a retail facility for high-performance auto parts, and a restaurant” among other amenities. Porsche has a 29-year lease on the property owned by Watson Land Company. It is former home to the Dominguez Hills Golf Course. According to Bruce Choate, president and CEO of Watson Land Company, the project is “going forward on target.” The company is still working to import “an enormous amount of soil,” which he says will be complete in a week or two, after which construction will commence. “The target is to have the project completed by the L.A. Auto Show next year, in November of 2014” he explains. “Porsche remains very engaged and enthused. The senior management team is out from Germany frequently.” Repp-Loadsman discusses another investment in Carson, this one from a very recognizable source. “Goodyear is looking (Please Continue To Page 7)
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won’t be finalized,” Melendez says about potential development of the site. Options might include “retail or a light industrial business park.” Ultimately, though, Melendez says Shell has been working with Carson to identify uses that will “bring jobs and tax revenue to the city.” Alan Caldwell, Southern California communications manager at Shell Pipeline, adds, “We are working closely with the city to make sure that, not only is this something that is good business for Shell, that it is also something good for the community of Carson.” Another oil company, Occidental Petroleum, (Oxy) is in an EIR process as well.
Weckerle Cosmetics, a global manufacturer in the cosmetics industry, is one of scores of corporate firms with operations in the City of Carson. Weckerle, which moved into this facility in late 2009, occupies approximately 40,000 square feet of an 83,000-square-foot building owned by The Carson Companies.
to retire its current airship, and will be bringing in a Zeppelin,” she says. A press release from Goodyear indicates it intends to replace its fleet of blimps with the Zeppelin LZ N07-101 airship, manufactured by German-based ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik. Repp-Loadsman is pleased that Goodyear chose to continue investing in Carson rather than finding a bigger home for its new airship, which is 56 feet longer. “Goodyear will be working to build a blimp hangar on Main Street,” she shares. “The Goodyear airship has been in Carson since 1968, the same year we incorporated as a city.”
Kaiser Permanente Facility Is Now Open Kaiser Permanente’s new Carson Medical Offices opened on June 19. The facility is housed in the former headquarters of Nissan North America, Inc., at 18600 South Figueroa St. It encompasses 11 acres and totals 183,362 interior square feet. The three-story building features a wide range of medical care services, including blood draw, occupational health, optometry, x-rays, mammograms, ultrasounds, adult primary care, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, dermatology and a pharmacy. Repp-Loadsman says the city is “thrilled with the development” and adds that the facility will be a benefit for the many people “who live and work in the Carson area who are Kaiser members.” Dr. Brian-Linh Nguyen, physician in charge of the Carson Medical Offices, confirms that many of Kaiser’s patients live in the Carson and South Bay area. Forty physicians and a hundred employees make up Kaiser’s Carson staff. Nguyen says the majority of these are existing jobs that have been transferred. Only 90,000 square feet of the building is currently built out, with remaining “shell space” left for expansion on the first and third floors. “Part of our hope here is to further the employment for the area as well. With a building as large as ours, I expect we will have employment opportunities for the Carson community,” explains Nguyen. The next phase of development is an allergy department, which Nguyen anticipates will be completed in 2014.
Industrial Developments Watson Land Company, a major stakeholder in Carson’s industrial real estate, continues to overhaul outdated buildings to create brand new Class A space. Lance
Ryan, vice president of marketing and leasing, says the buildings have “good bones” to start with, “meaning that structurally they are sound and functionally they have a lot of advantages.” He continues, “Our focus has really been on increasing the functionality of the buildings where we can, adding dock doors and increasing the yard areas.” Watson Land has also put great effort into modernizing the facades of the buildings. “The response has been very strong. In fact, I think we have leased every one of the buildings that we have renovated so far.” According to Choate and Ryan, they have rehabbed 40 buildings to date, some of which could “have been repossessed” without intervention. “It reflects our commitment to the Carson area,” Choate says. Also recently completed is the Carson Industrial Center North at 16325 Avalon Blvd., a Class A industrial building by Trammell Crow Company and its partner on the project, Principal Real Estate Investors. The building is 210,710 square feet. Jason Gremillion, vice president of TCC’s L.A. Business Unit, said in a statement, “We have had a great relationship with the City of Carson . . . The project’s success is a tribute to what can be achieved when a developer and city work together towards a shared vision.”
Oil Developments Shell Pipeline’s property on a former refinery site in Carson is moving closer toward development as the environmental impact report (EIR) process nears completion. In order for the land to be developed and a use for the site to be approved, the potential environmental impacts must first be evaluated. Mat Melendez, business development project lead for the site, says, “The environmental impact review is being conducted as we speak for the revitalization of the Shell Carson site.” In terms of a timeline, we hope to have this completed by end of this year.” After the environmental impact study is completed, the next step is for the city to release the EIR document for public review. Melendez says Shell encourages the community to read the document and take part in a “robust discussion” about it. “Shell has been working with the city to determine the land use designations for the property. Until the EIR is completed, that
The company continues to move forward on a potential new drill site in Carson. Mayor Jim Dear says that Oxy has drilled two test sites, both of which are “very positive for their prospects of getting oil out of the ground.” He emphasizes that hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” will not be implemented on any future site because last fall Carson passed an ordinance prohibiting the practice. Repp-Loadsman says Oxy’s drill site, if successfully passed through city council, will be on top of Dominguez Hill, on land owned by Watson Land Company and The Carson Companies. (Please Continue To Page 8)
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Kate Pandalfo is general manager of the newly named StubHub Center in Carson. The center is home to the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team and to Chivas USA. It serves as a training center for several national sports groups. The StubHub Center encompasses 125 acres adjacent to the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Michael Page is manager of the Carson Center, which offers 40,000 square feet of meeting space and a 12,000 square foot ballroom for meetings, seminars, weddings, community events and more.
Events, Arts, Museums And Education Bolster Carson Community rom a mega sports and entertainment complex to small historical museums, Carson has a host of options for community activities. Perhaps the largest of these is the newly named StubHub Center adjacent to the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). The Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA Major League Soccer teams call the 125acre StubHub Center home. Kate Pandalfo, general manager of the center, says StubHub is committed to the community and the center’s foundation. One community program, Camp for Kids, gives local children the opportunity to train with Galaxy coaches in the summer. Carson’s other major event space is the cityrun Carson Center, with 40,000 square feet of meeting space and a 12,000-square-foot ballroom available for trade shows, weddings, banquets and seminars. Recently, the center hosted a county job fair with 7,000 attendees. Michael Page, the center’s manager, is
Carson Councilmembers Share Their Insights Into City’s Future he City of Carson was incorporated a T little more 45 years ago, on February 20, 1968. The city council, comprised of four councilmembers and the mayor, serves as Carson’s governing and policymaking body. Councilmembers are elected to four-year terms, while the mayor serves two-year terms. The Business Journal asked councilmembers what they believe is the most important issue facing the City of Carson. Mayor Pro Tem Elito M. Santarina My main goal is the delivery of financially sustainable and essential services to the community by continuing my support for investments in well-maintained infrastructure and facilities. Along this line, I have emphasized to city management and staff to prioritize the filling of positions in our trees, building and public works maintenance work force as these very important personnel protect the aesthetic landscape of the city. As the chairperson of the
pleased with the number of event bookings. “We are beyond last year,” he says of the increase. “Sales are up.” Page says the Carson Center is adding a drought-resistant garden and walkway to the main entrance this summer, thanks to a $45,000 grant from the West Basin Metropolitan Water Board. Inside the facility, new carpeting and furniture will be installed in the lobby and atrium.
History And The Arts The arts thrive on Carson’s CSUDH campus, with active departments hosting a stream of events open to the public throughout the academic year. The University Art Gallery has 2,000 square feet of exhibition space, with approximately 10 shows per academic year. Jim Keville, chair of the art department, says the gallery hosts two major exhibits and two smaller shows each semester, as well as exhibitions of student work. Keville says the gallery often showcases local artists. The department of theatre and dance offers six shows every year – four theatrical performances and two dance concerts. Donis Leonard, chair of the department, estimates up to 5,000 people attend the shows each year. “The South Bay is where we draw the largest numbers, of course,” he notes. The City of Carson has two major museums: the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum and the International Printing Museum.
Alison Bruesehoff, executive director of the Dominguez Rancho, says the venue holds community events, like the August ice cream social, in addition to tours. “We also rent it out for reunions and other events,” she says. To reach the rancho, call 310/603-0088. The International Printing Museum celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Mark Barbour, executive director, says the museum holds “the world’s largest collection of working antique printing presses.” Barbour says the museum attracts 20,000 to 25,000 school children every year. To reach the museum, call 310/515-7166. One of the strongest public assets available to the Carson community is the campus of CSUDH. According to President Willie J. Hagan, current enrollment is 14,000. That’s down a bit from last year’s number of 15,000, which Hagan attributes to the hundreds of
millions of dollars in budget cuts to the public university system in the past few years. Among Hagan’s priorities for the university are to improve student retention rates and help students from underserved backgrounds succeed. “Almost half of our students are first in their family to go to college,” he says. Many more are from low-income families and under-sourced school districts. Hagan notes that there are 85,000 alums, and 55 percent of them live and work within 25 miles of campus. He says that this is a well educated workforce that CSUDH helps put into the community. Washington Monthly, a D.C. magazine, recently ranked the university in the Top 1 percent nationally “for contribution to the public good.” Hagan strongly believes that “the number one vehicle for upward mobility is education.” ■
personnel committee, I see to it that we maintain a value-driven organization through the recruitment and retention of talented individuals that are sworn to genuine dedication to the public that we serve. I will definitely continue to support council and staff efforts to attract and retain businesses, provide affordable housing and promotion of the safety of the citizens, making sure that Carson is the city where one could be proud of to live and work. Councilmember Lula Davis Holmes It has been over a year since the Carson Redevelopment Agency was dissolved by state action. This impact from the loss of redevelopment alone accounts for the estimated $2 million deficit the city faces for the 2013-14 fiscal year in its $68.7 million general fund. In the meantime, the city will have to balance the 2013-14 general fund budget through a variety of means. While the city has seen some improvement in revenues after the big downturn during the great recession, these increases are not enough to address higher costs in some areas and the elimination of redevelopment. The city has been prudent and built up some healthy reserves. Rebuilding from this lower base will take some time, but the future is bright for Car-
son. The city benefits from a very diverse tax base and there is some new sales tax generating development on the horizon. We are also still finding a solution for the Carousel Tract cleanup. It has been five years since this tragedy first came to light and the council has written a letter to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board as the acting authority over this project to force Shell Oil to abate this nuisance and return the Carousel community to the once beautiful and peaceful neighborhood it used to be leaving zero risk to public health and welfare of our citizens. Councilmember Mike A. Gipson Maintaining a healthy 33 million dollar budget reserve, making sure we continue services at the same level and continue to invite businesses to locate their business in the City of Carson. Councilmember Albert Robles The obvious answer is, and should always be, the safety of all Carson residents; followed closely by great schools. During my recent campaign for Carson City Council, I pledged to work hard every day with a single focus – making Carson the best city to live, raise a family and work. Having made it clear at the outset “the most important issue[s] facing the City of
Carson,” to present a different perspective, I will focus on jobs – i.e., economic development. After the state’s dismantling of redevelopment agencies, Carson needs a “Plan B” because our redevelopment agency was responsible for Carson’s economic development and job growth. With increased economic development come increased revenues that help Carson further support the priorities of public safety and great schools. In other words, to better fulfill our primary obligations to the residents, it is incumbent upon us to find new ways to re-create economic development. I am championing the designation of Carson as a EB-5 Regional Center to help position us better vis-à-vis other cities as we compete for investment opportunities, i.e., dollars for economic development. I also believe that we need to make Carson more business friendly, innovative and streamline processes to encourage businesses to stay, expand and grow – and yes, even re-locate to Carson. Therefore, I urge the business community to allow me to help you; please provide me with your ideas (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we may be the catalyst for a renewed economic development phase in Carson. ■
The Long Beach Business Journal presents its annual focus on the City of Carson. This edition commemorates the 45th anniversary of the city.