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Moreno Valley Is Experiencing Growth Across Multiple Sectors Despite Recession Talk

Skechers distribution center and outlet in Moreno Valley, California

Despite talk of a recession and some people arguing that California’s economic growth is waning, Moreno Valley, the second-largest city in Riverside County, continues its strong expansion in industrial, residential, medical and retail spaces.

These expansions are greatly needed as Moreno Valley’s population of over 217,000 citywide — part of 2.4 million in a 20-mile trade area — continues to soar at 3.5% each year. More people mean more economic opportunity, and Fortune 500 and international companies including Amazon, Procter & Gamble and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare have taken notice, setting up shop in the area. In the last nine years, Moreno Valley has added nearly 26,000 new jobs in the market.

“Moreno Valley being in the heart of the Inland Empire — one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States — is a driving force for Southern California’s economy,” Moreno Valley City Manager Mike Lee said.

According to Moreno Valley Business’ August 2022 economic development summary, the average household income in the area has grown to nearly $95K with over 20,000 households at $100K or more. Moreno Valley is seeing a more highly educated and youthful workforce, with 50% of its residents working in white-collar jobs.

As more residents flock to the area, home prices have increased to an average of $540K, and the city has over 6,700 residential units approved, entitled or under construction. 

But expansion isn’t stopping with homes. Moreno Valley completed 3M SF of industrial space in 2021 alone. The World Logistics Center project is the largest corporate business park in California at over 40.6M SF. The facility is slated to bring over 20,000 jobs to the city.

Kaiser Permanente medical office building in Moreno Valley, California

In the medical sector, Kaiser Permanente and Riverside University Health System are expanding their Moreno Valley facilities by 1M SF. Other medical systems are expected to follow suit, resulting in thousands of jobs added to the area. 

The area is further reinventing itself by bringing more mixed-use developments that include office, commercial, housing and retail all under one umbrella.

"There are two significant mixed-use retail developments that are currently being planned: Moreno Valley Town Center and Moreno Valley Mall,” Lee said.

The Moreno Valley Town Center is a 55-acre project developed by Lewis Cos. The highly anticipated project is slated to become Moreno Valley’s downtown hub, with 200K SF of boutique retail, open-air restaurants, entertainment choices, pedestrian paths, community parks and 800 residential units. 

Even with the decline of indoor shopping malls in the U.S., IGP Business Group, a Los Angeles-based real estate company with a strong track record in retail and entertainment centers, sees potential in the Moreno Valley Mall due to the city’s booming population and economic development. 

IGP purchased the Moreno Valley Mall in an online bid for $63M in 2017. It plans to remodel the indoor mall, expanding it to over 1.1M SF, with the goal of transforming it into a mixed-use space.

IGP plans to build four apartment towers with 1,627 units, two hotels with 270 rooms and add a 60K SF office building for medical, educational and professional tenants.

“Moreno Valley Mall’s proximity to the 60 freeway, with 56.2 million vehicle trips per year, is a crucial part of why the mall site is perfect for this type of project,” Lee said. 

Moreno Valley’s 51.3 square miles are only 60% built out, leaving room for more businesses to make the area their future home. 

For companies who are interested in making the transition to Moreno Valley, the economic development team has a business concierge service to help speed up business development. The program provides assistance through the entitlement, plan check and inspection processes to help streamline businesses opening up their doors. 

Another interesting program the area offers is Hire MoVal, which provides incentives to businesses that hire Moreno Valley residents, including advertising job openings in local outlets and a 30.5% reduction in electric bills through Moreno Valley Utility. The program includes Hire a MoVal Grad, which gives businesses a $1K stipend for hiring recent graduates from local colleges.

Additionally, Hire MoVal for Small Business offers business license discounts, free counseling and job advertisement services for businesses with gross revenues under $200K that hire Moreno Valley residents, while Hire a MoVal Veteran gives a $1K stipend to Moreno Valley businesses for hiring Moreno Valley veterans and a $500 stipend to veteran workers.

"The mayor and city council have been instrumental in focusing on economic development. We're firing on all cylinders," Lee said. "We have the exciting new developments, growing population and job opportunities to make it happen."

This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and the city of Moreno Valley. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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