EDA representatives visit Clovis

Photo by Valerie Shelton – City of Clovis staff and representatives from the U.S. Economic Development Administration in Washington D.C. take a tour of the Clovis Storage and Executive Office Suites site, which was made possible thanks to a grant the city had received to expand its infrastructure to the northeast. City officials hope to receive more funds to expand in this area.

By Valerie Shelton, Editor

 

Jay Williams, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, and other representatives from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) in Washington D.C. visited the City of Clovis on March 2 to see the progress that has been made in the city’s business park on Alluvial and Temperance.

The Research and Technology Business Park in Clovis was made possible through a grant the city received some time ago to expand its infrastructure to the northeast. Since that expansion, the business park has come to life creating a place for businesses large and small to set up shop.

The city’s Community and Economic Development Director, Andy Haussler, explained to EDA representatives the benefits of having the business park in Clovis and the connection the city has with the Water and Energy Technology Incubator at Fresno State.

“One of the things we’ve been working on with the incubator [at Fresno State] is making this a landing spot for people who graduate, so this business research and technology park is first off a great place to start a business,” Haussler said. “This office building [Storage and Executive Office Suites] really marries executive suites with storage options for businesses for inventory and shipping. Then, we have Office Bay, which is basically a larger version, where there is a shared entry and people can rent larger office spaces. Then there is Venture Bay, which is an even larger space when businesses start having their own separate entrances…Overall in the park we have 500-600 employees out here thanks to the investment made by the EDA.

Before taking the EDA representatives on a tour of the Storage and Executive Office Suites building, Haussler also alluded to the city’s future plans for the area.

“This field to the south of us [across from the Storage and Executive Office Suites] was proposed for senior housing but council said no at staff’s request and it has since been purchased by a developer,” Haussler said. “I can’t say who they are or what they are going to do, but it is exciting. They also purchased significant property to the east and we’re working on getting infrastructure put in there. This space [the business park] is 150 acres and the expansion that we’re working on is 180 acres. Then I have a 500-acre expansion that is across the highway. We’re ready and we have opportunity and we’re building connections to make this a landing spot for companies that want to take advantage of what Clovis has to offer.”

Mike Dozier, the former director of Economic Development and Redevelopment in Clovis who worked on the previous expansion said the project has been so successful thanks to the city council and city staff’s commitment to keeping the area a business area.

“Clovis has taken a very strong stance on development here,” Dozier said. “This area could have been filled out with houses but the council has been fantastic at keeping it business.”

Dozier said one goal in creating the Research and Technology Business Park has been to attract business owners from the Bay area and the Los Angeles area who are looking for a more reasonable place to operate.

“When we first started this years ago, one of the things we were thinking would happen was that those in the Silicon Valley, rather than thinking about leaving the state because of the cost, they could come here and stay in the state,” Dozier said. “We actually did a couple of surveys that identified who was coming here and they were coming from the Bay area and coming from Los Angeles in large percentages buying houses here because they were cheaper and they were selling their other houses. We call them equity refugees. They came here and were staying or retiring and we figured what they were going to do was start businesses, so when this came about it was the perfect thing for capturing that type of person who was coming into the area and I think we’ve done a pretty good job.”

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