News Article | 3/11/2007

Michelin to be first tenant in San Bernardino’s InterChange project

Michelin North America said it will open in about a year its third Inland region distribution center, bringing an estimated 200 jobs to San Bernardino.

The Greenville, S.C.-based tire company in January signed a 10-year lease for an 801,000-square-foot building owned by Hillwood, the Ross Perot-owned company that’s also charged with redeveloping the former Norton Air Force Base.

The warehouse is part of a 144-acre redevelopment project at the site of the former Culligan water treatment plant in northern San Bernardino near Cal State San Bernardino.

Hillwood bought the land, once used as a military munitions site, in 2004 for $5.8 million. The company has spent the past two years dismantling the former Culligan buildings and making sure there were no live munitions still buried there, said John Magness, Hillwood’s senior vice president.

Michelin is the first tenant at the site, named the InterChange Business Center, which is bounded by Interstate 215, University Parkway and Cajon Boulevard. Hillwood is constructing 11 buildings at the site that will have approximately 2 million square feet of warehouse space and employ an estimated 1,000 workers.

Michelin North America, the U.S. subsidiary of the French tire manufacturer, employs 22,300 and operates 19 factories in 17 locations throughout the continent. The company, which has 10 tire distribution centers in the United States, also has warehouses in Redlands and Ontario, said Lynn Mann, a Michelin spokeswoman.

Mann said the new San Bernardino warehouse will distribute the company’s popular vehicle tires. She said the warehouse would open in about a year but said she wasn’t sure how many it would employ. Hillwood estimated the warehouse would employ more than 200.

“The project certainly opens up that area for more development,” said Emil Marzullo, economic development adviser for the city of San Bernardino. “It’s basically been underutilized property for 60 years.”

The Hillwood business center is adjacent to rail line. To help alleviate any congestion, the city is building an overpass to allow traffic to move freely above the railroad.

“If you’re a logistics company, you don’t want to just sit there for 20 minutes while a train passes,” Marzullo said.

Jim Morris, chief of staff for San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris, said the InterChange center will bring important jobs to the city.

“While warehousing doesn’t add the best aesthetics for the community, with the right landscaping it could be a nice entrance corridor to the city,” he said.

Hillwood is building two other large warehouses in San Bernardino on Central Avenue near Tippecanoe Avenue. The buildings will have a combined 1.4 million square feet. No tenants have been announced for that location.