San Bernardino County

Elected San Bernardino County officials applaud during opening remarks Wednesday evening April 15, 2015 at the annual State of the County event at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. (Will Lester/Staff Photographer)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 04/15/15 – 8:41 PM PDT |

ONTARIO >> The job and real estate markets are growing in the Inland Empire. Credit is expanding, banks are lending more with the economy rebounding, and there is plenty of vacant land available for residential, commercial and industrial development.

And in California, the Inland Empire ranks No. 3 as having the fastest growth rate, at 4.2 percent, just under San Francisco and San Jose.

The momentum has been building so much in the Inland Empire that it was the theme of this year’s State of the County event Wednesday at Citizens Business Bank Arena. The event included a panel discussion on real estate development, moderated by Beacon Economics founder and CEO Chris Thornberg and featuring panelists Terry Thompson, director of real estate services for San Bernardino County, John Magness, senior vice president of Hillwood Development, Michael Kendall, senior vice president of CBRE, Inc., and Dougall Agan, president and CEO of Stirling Development.

“We are really on the forefront of growth right now,” Thornberg said.

While the county is poised for a new wave of residential and commercial development, the challenge will be ensuring the infrastructure is in place to accommodate development and attract developers to the region. Education will also be a challenge in terms of ensuring there are enough properly trained and educated employees to be recruited by new companies that open for business in the county, said Terry Thompson, the county’s director of real estate services.

Chino Airport will be a game changer for the county, Thompson said. The county-owned airport recently secured a 10-year lease with Mooney International, a manufacturer of single engine planes. Michael Kendall, senior vice president of CABRE, Inc., a real estate brokerage company, said the recent sale by his company of the 17-building Tri-City Corporate Centre in San Bernardino shows the allure of San Bernardino County to outside real estate investors.

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