(Victorville)–Assistant City Manager Keith Metzler sent the following letter to The Los Angeles Times hoping to reach an interest in visiting Victorville.
Here is the letter in it’s entirety:
Dear Ms. Semuels:
I have recently reviewed the aforementioned article and I do admit, I did read the subject article with great interest. I remain excited about the general optimism you shared with your audience as it relates to market conditions of the Inland Empire. I do hope that for future articles, you will consider me as resource that could be helpful to you in describing the truest reflection of the economic landscape in the City of Victorville.
Towards the end of the article, you chose to cite a principal economist, Mr. Gerd-Ulf Krueger, identifying “Victorville as the poster child of the overhang” and that “nobody wants to go to Victorville.” While I don’t know exactly what is meant by overhang, I do know, through personal experience, that Victorville is seeing many who want to come to Victorville, particularly, new and expanding industries that create well paying jobs that I believe your article is suggesting as necessary to improve economic conditions and encourage residential and commercial growth. In fact, since the start of 2009, a time when we all have been knee deep in the national recession, Victorville has welcomed many major industrial companies to its community while at the same time, many companies are leaving California altogether.
Among our most recent testimonials are the following:
- United Furniture Industries (UFI) – In November 2011, UFI will begin manufacturing products, including furniture carrying the Simmons brand. Earlier this year, UFI signed a lease to occupy 500,000 square feet of industrial space (speculatively built) and is expected to employ up to 400 people at full production.
- Church & Dwight (C&D) – As the parent company of the Arm & Hammer brand, C&D will invest an estimated $40 million to upgrade a 450,000 square foot warehouse facility to serve as its west coast laundry detergent and kitty litter manufacturing facility. C&D is expected to start upgrading its facility in November 2011 and employ 100 people by the summer of 2012.
- M&M/Mars (M&M) – In 2011, M&M chose to relocate its warehouse and logistics operation from one location in Victorville to another location in Victorville. In November 2011, M&M will re-commence its warehouse and logistics in a newer, more state of the art 500,000 square foot facility (speculatively built) at the Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA). M&M employs approximately 85 people and is investing an additional $20 million in capital facility improvements.
- Leading Edge (LE) – In 2011, LE expanded its aircraft painting operation by leasing an additional 83,475 square feet wide body hangar. The hangar addition is allowing LE to keep up with the demand of United Airlines, among others and allows LE to paint up to four commercial aircraft at a time. The Los Angeles Times actually reported this story on January 29, 2011 and LE is currently employing an estimated 200 employees.
- Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) – In February 2010, DPSG completed the construction of a $120 million manufacturing plant and distribution facility totaling 850,000 square feet of space. DPSG is currently employing 265 people.
- Boeing Flight Test – In 2010, Boeing began flight test operations at SCLA for three of its 787-800 Dreamliners and one of its new 747-800 freighters. Each flight operation brought with it, up to 150 employees to serve as ground and flight support. Amazingly, both aircraft were certified for flight this year and delivery of said aircraft to private airlines is now taking place.
- Plastipak Packaging (PPK) – In December 2009, PPK occupied a 300,000 square foot (speculative built) facility, to manufacture plastic bottles that are used in the DPSG manufacturing process. PPK has invested an estimated $20 million in equipment and currently employs approximately 85 people.
Altogether, these latest additions are contributors to why we believe, locally, that there is a small sense of recovery. More specifically, it is for reasons mentioned above why we believe Victorville recently reported its sales tax figures having increased by more than 11% in the second quarter of this calendar year.
Finally, I have been very involved with the economic development efforts in Victorville for the last 15-years and I would welcome your visit to show you, first hand, why in fact people and business want to be in Victorville. I will remain available for any questions or comments you might have and can be reached at 760-243-4773.
Keith C. Metzler
Assistant City Manager