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Highland Fairview to break ground on 40.6M sf logistics center in Moreno Valley

Highland Fairview will break ground this year on a 40.6 million-square-foot warehouse park in Moreno Valley, among the world’s largest.

The Moreno Valley-based developer led by Iddo Benzeevi is slated to launch construction of the World Logistics Center, south of the 60 Freeway between Redlands Boulevard and Gilman Springs Road, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.

The 2,610-acre Inland Empire warehouse park, approved in 2015, will cover 10 percent of the city’s land, about the size of 700 football fields.

The center on the east side of town will have 27 buildings with the option of connecting via a skybridge, according to the World Logistics Center website.

The $25 billion project, designed by SanTec, will bring “future-ready” and sustainable practices to the center, according to the Rhode Island-based firm.  It’ll also bring walkable streets, cafés, restaurants, spaces for arts and culture, breweries and public space.

Construction is set to begin in late 2023, with the project adding 6 million square feet per year until it’s completed in 2030. Buildings will be leased throughout the construction phases.

Skechers already has committed to expanding in Moreno Valley with its second and third warehouses in the city at the logistics center. Its first building a 1.8 million square-foot center —  would be connected with a skybridge to the World Logistics Center.

The warehouse project plans to be a carbon-neutral facility by adding solar power to its rooftops, reducing water usage by 70 percent and including 1,080 charging stations for freight and logistics vehicles, employees and visitors.

More than 33,000 construction and operations jobs will be created, according to SenTec.

In the years since city approval, Highland Fairview has dealt with lawsuits, which have now all been settled to pave the way for construction. 

The project has been controversial among residents and environmental and conservation groups, which allege that the warehouse complex would bring traffic, air pollution and negatively affect local wildlife. Supporters said the center would bring much-needed jobs and stability to the city.

Environmental and conservation groups sued over the City Council’s approval in 2015. The challenges by the California Clean Energy Committee, Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club, the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society and the Coalition for Clean Air were settled in 2021 for $47 million.

Earthjustice attorney Adrian Martinez, who represented the coalition of environmental groups, said he hopes the settlement agreement is implemented.

The agreement requires the developer to reduce the logistics center’s impact on air quality, local wildlife and residents, invest up to $12.1 million in electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging and install rooftop solar panels.

“There is still a lot of work to do to implement the agreement,” Martinez said by phone. “I think we hope the settlement will provide some relief … to provide healthy air in the region.”

The construction of the mammoth warehouse park in Moreno Valley comes after a pushback against a boom in logistics warehouses across the Inland Empire. 

According to one report, 90 percent of Southern California’s warehouse growth in the past decade occurred in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, which now has 1 billion square feet of warehouse space with another 170 million square feet approved or pending.

— Dana Bartholomew

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