Office of Economic Development to Host Retail Summit

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

The Office of Economic Development will host a Retail Summit Luncheon and Panel discussion on Tuesday, April 1st from noon to 1pm. The panel will include Dennis Morgan with IPA Commercial Real Estate, Brian Bielatowicz with Lee & Associates and James Fuson with General Growth Properties and General Manager of the Galleria at Tyler. Greg Lee will moderate the discussion focusing on market trends, criteria used by site selectors, how Riverside fares in attracting top retailers and will include an open discussion and Q&A with those in attendance. 

General topics will include:

  • Major brands interested in entering the Riverside market.
  • What are site selectors for these major tenants looking for?
  • What is the value or impact of national tenants in Downtown versus “Mom & Pop” or local grown businesses?
  • Discussion of tenant transitions and natural turnover in a retail center.

The public is invited to attend the panel discussion and join in an engaging and honest discussion of current retail market trends. If you are interested in attending please RSVP to or call (951) 826-5199 if you have questions. 

Business Spotlight: Bourns Inc.

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

(Includes excerpts from the March 20 Press Enterprise article by Richard K. De Atley)  

(Photo credit: UC Riverside Bourns College of Engineering)

Marlan Bourns, who with his wife Rosemary established a Riverside-based global corporation based on his electronic inventions that help keep airplanes, missiles, and lunar landers on course, cars stopping and going, and let musicians crank up the volume on their electric guitars, has passed away.

He was 93, and had more than 100 patents to his name, the first of those created in a single-car garage. Rosemary Bourns died in 2012. The couple’s other legacy was established in 1994 when they endowed UC Riverside with $6 million for what became the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering, a school that now has 2,300 undergraduate students and 600 post-graduate students. They also established Bourns Laboratories at Cal Baptist University’s School of Engineering.

Marlan and Rosemary Bourns, both University of Michigan graduates, combined the no-nonsense approach of their Midwestern roots with the inventiveness of the post-war, aerospace-industry Southern California.

“My mother and father had always been a team. While my dad was in the garage building the sensors in the early years, mom took care of the books and paying taxes,” said Gordon Bourns. He said she turned those duties over to employees as the family grew. One photo of Marlan Bourns from the company’s early days shows him pointing to a sign – made by Rosemary – that urged employees to provide quality, service, and value for the customers, Gordon Bourns said during a telephone interview Friday.

“Another cornerstone my parents understood was the value of having good employees, paying them fairly, and having respect for them. We have employees who have been here for 45 and 50 years,” Gordon Bourns said. There are about 4,500 Bourns company workers employed in eight manufacturing plants in the United States, Costa Rica, Hungary, Germany, England, China, Ireland, Taiwan and Mexico. The company’s annual revenue approaches $500 million. 

By 1950, the company had moved to Magnolia Avenue in Riverside. An assembly plant was established in Ames, Iowa in 1956 to meet the growing demand for the Trimpot, and in 1962, the company opened a 60,000-square-foot facility at Columbia and Iowa avenues in Riverside and a European sales headquarters in Baar, Switzerland.

The growth and acquisitions continued into 21st Century. The devices created by Bourns are ubiquitous in electronics. More spectacular applications over the decades include an air pressure sensor used in Apollo program spacesuits and controls in the lunar landing module and Mars Exploration Rover . Bourns devices also are embedded in acceleration and braking systems for vehicles, as well as the headlight systems. The company’s components are in medical devices, personal computers, electric guitars, telecommunications, network communications and office machines.

Bourns  Inc. exemplifies the kind of company successful cities seek to attract to their community.  Their contributions to both UCR and the technology community, including the Riverside Technology CEO Forum, have shaped and will continue to shape Riverside’s students and future leaders.

To read the full article from the Press Enterprise, click here

Development Committee Approves Selection of Proposal from Regional Properties for Redevelopment of Stalder Building

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

On February 20, the City of Riverside Development Committee reviewed two proposals for redevelopment of the existing Stalder Building and Public Parking Lot 42 located on the easterly side of Market Street between Mission Inn Avenue and Sixth Street. Both proposals agree to assume, acquire and develop the Property in compliance with the relevant provisions of the Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) and as required by the Request for Proposals (RFP).

The DDA requires the buyer to purchase the property for $850,000 and redevelop with a mixed-use project while preserving the historic façade of the Stalder Building without additional financial assistance from the City or Successor Agency except for reinvestment of up to $350,000 from the sales proceeds for historic preservation purposes. Both proposals offered a similar development mix including residential units for lease at market rates targeted toward young professionals as well as commercial space at comparable leasing rates for consideration. The Committee approved the staff recommendation to select the proposal submitted by Regional Properties in partnership with Ted Weggeland (Regional Properties).

Regional Properties’  proposal offers an concept that is compatible with the surrounding historic properties and provides sufficient subterranean parking for the residential and commercial components of the mixed-use project. Regional Properties will engage Robert Chattel, an architect with extensive adaptive re-use experience, to ensure that the design of the proposed project, including the preservation of the Stalder Building façade, meets the expectation of the City’s vision, local design guidelines, Historic Preservation Code and the Secretary of Interior Standards for Rehabilitation and State Historical Building Code.

Regional Properties has also contracted Inland Pacific Advisors (IPA), a company with extensive experience in commercial leasing in the City of Riverside, to implement a flexible commercial leasing program in an effort to proactively seek active and quality tenants for the commercial space targeting young professionals working and living downtown. IPA’s initial effort has already resulted in a prospective tenant submitting a letter of interest for restaurant space in the Property.

Read the full Development Committee report on the two proposals, here.
To view the plans for the Regional Property proposal, click here.

Business Spotlight: Accuturn Corporation

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

(Photo Credit: Stan Lim, Press Enterprise Staff Photographer)

(This article contains excerpts from a March 7, 2014 article written by Laurie Lucas and published in the Press Enterprise)

Since 1974, Accuturn Corporation has operated from its Riverside, CA facility and has provided custom, high-quality precision parts at an affordable price to the Inland Empire and Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. Accuturn operates with the newest CNC Swiss automatics available in the marketplace and employs a staff of seasoned industry professionals working various shifts to ensure on time production of the parts needed 24 hours a day.

At the controls since 2006, Iggy Araujo, 59, Henri Rahmon, 47 and a silent partner, have doubled annual sales, branched into the medical, automotive, computer, defense and dental industries and added state-of-the-art machinery that can make screws as small as a grain of sand or as fine as a strand of hair. These miniscule components, manufactured from stainless steel, titanium, gold and other materials, wind up in everything from cameras, tooth implants, orthopedic devices, drone antennas and Boeing cockpit panels to Caterpillar joysticks.

In fact, business is so good that Accuturn has outgrown its location at 6510 Box Springs Road. Poised to expand its markets in Europe, South America and Canada, the company is customizing a new 17,000-square-foot building that it bought for $900,000 on Old 215 Frontage Road in Riverside. The site isn’t far from the company’s current, 50,000-square-foot property, which will continue production. Many of Accuturn’s 25 employees have been on board for at least 20 years.

The co-owners ascribe much of their success to hard work, shrewd investments and economic survival in 2010, when many competitors tanked. Both praise America for allowing them to pursue their dream. Rahmon said they’re pacing themselves, but expect to keep growing in strong, overseas markets. “We have a good name, low production costs and a quick turnaround,” he said. “And we have Iggy. He IS Accuturn.”

To read the full article in the Press Enterprise, click here.
Learn more about Accuturn Corporation by visiting their website, here

Department of Finance Approves City’s Plan for Future Use of Former Redevelopment Parcels

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

The City of Riverside’s long-term plan for dealing with property and other assets of its former Redevelopment Agency has been approved by the state, clearing the way for Riverside to sell and/or redevelop property now controlled by its Successor Agency.
The state Department of Finance’s approval of Riverside’s Long-Range Property Management Plan ends months of waiting that held captive the future of such properties, some of which are part of pending development projects that could not proceed without such approval. The decision also makes Riverside one of the largest cities in California to receive such approval to date.
“This is an important day for Riverside and for anyone who wants to see these properties put to their highest and best use,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “We have projects waiting to proceed, including some in our historic Downtown, that will preserve and enhance the quality of life in Riverside. Many thanks to our staff members for their hard work in making this happen.”
The approval allows the oversight board of the Successor Agency to begin reviewing proposals for key development properties. These projects include:
  • The Stalder Building at Mission Inn Avenue and Market Street, which could be sold to a developer for the construction of a four-story residential-commercial complex while preserving the historic facade.
  • The Imperial Hardware building on the Main Street Mall between University and Mission Inn avenues, which could also become a mixed-use development incorporating the historic building’s facade.
  • Property in the Five Points area, a major intersection in La Sierra where significant road improvements have been done to pave the way for retail development.
  • Property on University Avenue that can be used to expand the Eastside Medical Clinic by the Riverside Community Health Foundation

View the complete list of properties for sale through the Successor Agency, here.
To read the full press release from the City of Riverside, click here.

Office of Economic Development Provides Update on Business Recruitment Strategy

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

The Office of Economic Development presented an update on the Targeted Industry Business Recruitment Strategy to City Council on March 4. The update discussed the strategic effort of the Office of Economic Development to recruit businesses within the five targeted industries through marketing and promotion and industry networking.

Not only does the City of Riverside currently have a solid cluster of firms for each of these industries, but we also have competitive advantages that will help us recruit new firms in these industries and help our existing firms grow their business. These competitive advantages include a lower cost and reliable power and water supply, proximity to transportation corridors, high speed to market and a growing demand for services.

The Office of Economic Development has built on its strong partnership with Riverside Public Utilities to focus recruitment efforts on targeted prospects located within Los Angeles and Orange Counties by highlighting the City’s highly competitive economic development water and electric rates as well as other business incentive programs. Further more, the Office of Economic Development strives to inform existing businesses, our residents and prospective businesses about the positive stories that are happening in the City every day through our weekly electronic newsletter. Targeted marketing brochures are also being created to provide prospects with industry-specific data that highlights the City and its competitive advantages, including comparative workforce and demographic data.

The United States Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration has announced a federal interagency competition to designate up to 12 communities as manufacturing communities (Manufacturing Communities) through the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), for a period of two years. As part of the update, Dr. Imran Farooq, Director of Economic Development at the University of California, Riverside introduced the Council to the effort UC Riverside is coordinating to obtain one of these designations for the inland southern California region with a focus on Beverage Manufacturing.

As a region we have a significant presence of beverage manufacturing firms and the number is growing. The City’s low cost electricity and stable water supply gives us a competitive advantage in this industry. The successful designation of the inland southern California region will provide the City with priority access to future federal grant funding that could expand access to investment opportunities that leads to increased employment and a stronger more diverse local economy.

To learn more about the Office of Economic Development’s recruitment strategy read our 2013-14 Action plan, here.

Business Leaders Help Modernize Sign Code

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

On February, 13 2014 the City of Riverside held the second of a total of up to six Sign Code Review Committee Meetings to gather input on the comprehensive Sign Code Update from a variety of stakeholders throughout the community.

The Committee consists of 40 members representing a wide array of the business community. From these meetings the City’s current sign regulations will be updated to reflect the latest technologies and best practices. This project however, does not include changes to the City’s regulations pertaining to Billboard Signs and Private Party Signs on City Owned Property in the Public Right-of-Way.

The Comprehensive Sign Code Update is key component of the Business Ready Initiative.  As a ‘Business Ready’ City, Riverside understands the challenges of today’s business and home owners and as such, strives to deliver programs that increase efficiencies and save money for the City’s customers. The Sign Code Review Committee aims to develop revisions and improvements to the Code to better serve the needs of the community in creating visibility and awareness of their business.

Following the sixth meeting, scheduled for June 12, the proposed Sign Code Amendments and revisions to the Sign Design Guidelines will be finalized along with preparation of the appropriate environmental review in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and staff reports. The proposals and revisions will then be reviewed by subsequent committees including Planning Commission before going to City Council for final review and approval.

To learn more about the Sign Code Review Committee, click here.

Business Spotlight: GAR Laboratories, Inc.

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

GAR Labs is a custom private label cosmetic hair care and skin care manufacturer developing products for multi-national corporations. The company was established in 1982 by CEO Tom Raffy and now employs over 150 people in a 133,000 square foot facility.

The facility includes a product development lab fully staffed with onsite chemists and technicians.  With an extensive catalog of prototype formulas on file, GAR can design skin and hair care lines to the exact performance, scent and texture their customers desire and provide finished samples for customers to test and market. GAR Labs has a wide range of manufacturing equipment including steam jacketed mixing tanks of various sizes, a vacuum pump, water purification system and specialized filling equipment to fill and label any size tube, bottle or jar. 

GAR Labs has also taken advantage of the rebate programs offered through Riverside Public Utilities and now operates with a 165,000 watt solar system on the roof of the facility. To learn more about their efforts to conserve energy, watch the video below: 


To learn more about GAR Laboratories, click here.

Stronghold Engineering Receives Awards for Municipal Auditorium Renovation

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Local contractor, Stronghold Engineering’s work on the Riverside Municipal Auditorium and Soldier’s Memorial Renovation Project in Downtown Riverside, has earned the company another two awards.  Stronghold’s Chief Operating Officer, Scott Bailey, accepted, on behalf of the entire project team, an Engineering News-Record (ENR) Best Small Project Award as well as the Excellence in Safety Best Project for all of Southern California on December 5, 2013.

 Stronghold’s President and CEO Beverly Bailey stated, “Our Stronghold team was honored to have the opportunity to renovate this historical building in our backyard of Riverside.  To be recognized as the State of California’s best project under 10M is not only a blessing but also continues to motivate us towards Building Construction Excellence.” 

The ENR Best Projects is an annual award program and competition developed to recognize excellence.  It is dedicated to honoring the best construction projects and the companies that designed and built them in the U.S. and Puerto Rico Projects compete in 20 specialized categories, ranging from airports to sports/entertainment.  Independent juries of industry leaders in design and construction judged hundreds of entries detailing regional projects.  All were evaluated using five criteria, including safety, innovation, and teamwork. 

To read the full press release from Stronghold Engineering, click here.

Business Spotlight: WaitLess, Inc.

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Riverside-based economist Patrick Edgett and his co-founder David Langley are the creators of a new app that hopes to solve the annoying problem of arriving somewhere only to have to wait in a long line.

Edgett’s company, WaitLess, Inc.  was recently featured in an article by Pando Daily, a blog focused on the tech startup community. The following includes excerpts from the article, which can be read in it’s entirety here

The idea for WaitLess came to Edgett while he was visiting San Francisco with his wife late in 2012. He says they pulled up at a restaurant to meet friends and saw a long line. He remembers his heart sank thinking of how impatient his friend was and how annoying he would be. “I found myself really dreading it,” he says. Eighteen months later, Edgett is launching WaitLess with his co-founder David Langley. The company has four full time staff, and three interns. It has spent just $4,500 getting its product out. “We’ve really learned how to stretch a buck,” Edgett says.

The recently launched app, which is focused initially on the wider Inland Southern California, is a workable solution to the problem of dodging real world lines. Through a simple, map-based interface a user can see the wait times for service at participating places in their surrounding area. The service has three separate “legs” to it as Edgett describes. There is crowd sourced data, where I can enter in the wait time myself or report back on how accurate the described wait time is. There is host data, where companies can input their own sales and trends information. And there is a company-built algorithm, which combines the first two inputs to produce an estimate for how long the wait may be at a time in the future.

“If this goes well and we get the right data coming in, we’ll have analytics to help us know so much about, who, when and why people wait,” Edgett says. The company is individually recruiting 100 participating companies in the Inland Southern California region before it will let stores sign up independently. Edgett hopes each of those companies will bring in 100 users separately. The second part of the equation is compelling users to take part. 

The app is available for download on iPhone and Android and ready for users to begin entering their wait times and building the network to avoid the dreaded lines that come with visiting a community’s most popular venues. To learn more about WaitLess, Inc. and download the app, click here.