News Article | 5/9/2007

Rialto officials have hopes for master-planned community

More housing developments coupled with higher education and income levels are the key elements to making an ambitious 1,500-acre master-planned community along Interstate 210 in Rialto a success, officials said.

Although the city is lacking those elements right now, new development such as the Renaissance Rialto project will help change that, Greg Stoffel, of Stoffel & Associates, said Tuesday during a Rialto City Council meeting geared to identify retail opportunities for the Renaissance Rialto project and other areas in the city.

The Renaissance Rialto project is expected to be built on Rialto Municipal Airport property along I-210, west of Ayala Avenue. The land would be divided among residential, industrial, commercial and public uses.

“We have a challenge ahead of us in terms of talking big retailers to come here because of the income and education level that they are going to look for,” Stoffel said.

“That is why we need to keep talking about the amount of growth that is going to take place here over time.”

Rialto has a population of 205,618. The number of residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher is 8,320, Stoffel said.

Once new homes are built, people with higher incomes and education levels will be drawn to Rialto, which in turn will help draw large retail stores and higher-end restaurants, Stoffel said.

New housing projects such as the 8,000-home Lytle Creek project in the city’s extreme northern edge also will help attract retail, Stoffel said.

Rialto may have to start off with courting lower-end restaurants and wait for the Renaissance Rialto project to really take off, he said.

The developer of Renaissance Rialto, Lewis-Hillwood LLC, is looking to make Target the anchor tenant for the project.

Jeff Moore with Lewis-Hillwood LLC said Target is a good tenant because it can draw customers from low- and high-income levels.

Because Target is able to attract people with high incomes, it is very possible for high-end stores to follow.

The Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine, where there is a Nordstrom and Target is a good example, he said.

Other possibilities for the Renaissance Rialto Marketplace include Ross, TJ Maxx, Best Buy, Office Depot, Big 5 JoAnn Fabrics and Gold’s World Gym, Stoffel said.

Once the freeway is opened, other opportunities may include Sam’s Club, Marshall’s Cost Plus World Market and Bed, Bath & Beyond, he said. Restaurants may include Applebee’s, Red Robin and Coco’s.

Mayor Grace Vargas said she is excited with all the possibilities for Rialto.

“Just hearing all these restaurants that may be here is great news for our residents,” Vargas said. “I’m looking forward to the projects that are before us.”