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Manufacturers Choose San Bernardino for Enterprise Zone

There is an extensive article in Industry Week profiling the San Bernardino Enterprise Zone. The article specifically cites examples of manufacturing businesses that chose to locate in San Bernardino in large part because of the Enterprise Zone:

California’s San Bernardino County boasts a “fascinating history of manufacturing” as well as a “very strong blue-collar workforce,” notes Mary Jane Olhasso, administrator for the San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency.

Once home to a massive Kaiser Steel Corp. mill that supplied steel for U.S. ships during World War II, the county has leveraged its proximity to Los Angeles-the county begins about 30 miles east of downtown L.A.-and abundance of affordable commercial real estate to lure manufacturers and logistics providers over the past few decades.

But like many manufacturing-rich regions in the United States, the area has fallen on hard times in recent years.

“When consumer spending stopped, we screeched to a halt in growth and development,” Olhasso says.

In October 2006, the California Department of Housing and Development designated parts of the county as an enterprise zone, making several state tax incentives available to businesses. The state establishes enterprise zones to stimulate growth in economically distressed areas.

Since then, the county has been able to notch a number of wins in the manufacturing sector. In 2009, Isolatek International, a Stanhope, N.J.-based maker of passive fireproofing materials for the construction industry, opened a new 65,000-square-foot warehouse and manufacturing facility in the city of San Bernardino.

A company official said Isolatek picked San Bernardino because of its proximity to the company’s western markets as well as the hiring tax credits available through the enterprise zone.

“The enterprise zone allows companies to trim their operating costs, making them more competitive in the marketplace,” said Tom Lund, director of operations at Isolatek, in August 2009.

In 2010, Carthage, Mo.-based diversified manufacturer Leggett & Platt Inc. inked a deal to lease a distribution center in San Bernardino; and Glenwillow, Ohio-based Royal Appliance Manufacturing Co., which makes Royal, Hoover and Dirt Devil vacuum cleaners, signed a five-year lease for a 415,825-square-foot manufacturing facility in San Bernardino.

Both companies cited the enterprise-zone tax incentives as a major factor in their decision to come to San Bernardino County, says Wendy Clements, zone manage for the San Bernardino Valley Enterprise Zone.

Read the rest of the article here.

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