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Appeal To Stop 4M SF Of New Warehouses In Ontario Denied

Ontario International Airport from above.

The developers of a 200-acre industrial project in Ontario can move forward after the city council struck down an appeal from environmentalists that would have quashed plans for warehouse uses at the site.

Ontario City Council voted unanimously to deny an appeal of the project planned by CanAM Ontario, an affiliate of USAA and McDonald Property Group, which would bring nine warehouses totaling more than 4M SF to the property, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported

Environmental groups sounded the alarm about the potential harm development at the property could bring to burrowing owls that use it as habitat, according to the Bulletin. 

The Ontario International Airport Authority decided to lease the acreage to CanAM in 2021, in a deal valued at more than $600M, according to The Real Deal. At that time, environmental groups were vocal about the potential threat to the burrowing owls that later became the grounds for the unsuccessful appeal. 

McDonald Property, a Newport Beach-based company, has a roughly 2M SF industrial park in Ontario now, Thoroughbred Business Park. It has also partnered with USAA Real Estate on a nearly 2M SF warehouse in the eastern Inland Empire city of Beaumont where an apparel tenant has already been signed. 

CanAM owner Bruce McDonald said it is planning to relocate the owls as the site, which is zoned for industrial use, is not a suitable habitat for them, TRD reports.

A study published by Pitzer College last year found  about 16% of the city of Ontario's land, approximately 222M SF, is occupied by warehouses.