News Article | 4/20/2005

Hillwood bets on Inland builder

Hillwood, the company that is redeveloping much of the former Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, has tapped a veteran developer with extensive experience in the Inland area to handle two high-profile projects.

Steve Palmer, who recently worked as senior development director for Panattoni Development Co., assumes responsibility for a 144-acre industrial project adjacent to Interstate 215 near Cal State San Bernardino and for the 105-acre Hofer Ranch property at Ontario International Airport.

“Hillwood has literally thousands of acres of land to be developed,” Palmer said. “As difficult as it is to find land in the Inland Empire, it was, to me, a very good long-term opportunity.”

Palmer said he was especially attracted to the Hofer property.

Palmer will report to John Magness, a Hillwood senior vice president in charge of the San Bernardino office. Palmer is the company’s second person with the title of development director in that office, joining Ned Sciortino, who was hired about 18 months ago.

“Steve has been building large projects here in the Inland Empire and working with a lot of different cities,” Magness said.

In almost 30 years, Palmer has been involved in the development of more than 1,900 industrial, office and retail buildings totaling more than 28 million square feet in California, Texas, Colorado and Georgia.

Locally, he built an 800,000-square-foot building for Mattel in Chino that the company later left to locate at AllianceCalifornia.

He also developed the 150-acre Tri City Corporate Centre along Interstate 10 in San Bernardino and previously worked as vice president of marketing for Rancon Financial Corp. in Temecula.

Hillwood became master developer at the former base in December 2002 and is turning much of the nonairport land into AllianceCalifornia, an industrial park and cargo center.