News Article | 5/9/2008

New offices may bring 2,000 jobs

SAN BERNARDINO – The planned construction of a new office for a health-care organization and a newly opened business complex could be worth more than 2,000 jobs here.

Thursday morning, a few dozen people attended a groundbreaking for Inland Regional Center’s new administrative building, set to be built near Orange Show Road and Waterman Avenue.

Dallas-based developer Hillwood Investment Properties held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its InterChange Business Center the same day. The 144-acre complex is about two miles north of where the 210 and 215 freeways meet.

Inland Regional Center is a nonprofit that works with the state Department of Development Services to help people who have been diagnosed with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism, director Mary Lynn Clark said.

The center, which has field offices in San Bernardino and Riverside, refers about 23,000 disabled people in San Bernardino and Riverside counties to vendors for health services, she said.

Clark said the 200,000-square-foot administrative building is expected to be ready in September 2009. About 750 people could work in the new offices.

“They’ll eat a lot of food, which should make Hospitality (Lane) very happy,” Clark said, referring to the restaurants on that south San Bernardino street.

The California Housing Foundation, a Redlands-based nonprofit that supports Inland Regional Center, has $76million in bond funding to finance Inland Regional Center’s new building.

Steve von Rajcs, the foundation’s executive director, said Inland Regional Center will pay rent to his organization. He expects to roll some of that money into housing programs for the center’s patients.

“It could be that we help them in the first and last month’s rent. It could be that we buy a house where four or five of them live,” he said.

Mayor Pat Morris said at the groundbreaking that cows once roamed the land where the new office is set to be built.

He observed in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon that Hillwood’s project is on the site of Camp Ono, a World War II ordnance depot that was once too contaminated for development.

InterChange Business Center – a logistics complex – has six buildings with more than 2million square feet of space.

The Michelin tire company has claimed one of the buildings, Hillwood Senior Vice President John Magness said.

The complex was designed to meet LEED standards for energy conservation, Magness and Morris said. LEED refers to the U.S. Green Building Council’s program to encourage environmentally sound construction.

InterChange is expected to generate about 1,400 jobs when all six buildings are occupied.

“It opens up in that business center some very important new assets for our city,” Morris said.