he Dodge Momentum Index, which dropped 5.1% in January to 143.7 (2000=100) from the revised December reading of 151.5.
A published report says Riverside County supervisors gave the 230-acre project by developer William Shopoff a green light last October, despite the objections of hundreds of residents who asserted the project will threaten air quality and rural peace.
The “high cube” project, originally known as the Gateway Warehouse but now dubbed the San Gorgonio Crossing, would entail erecting two industrial buildings with 306 truck bays, occupying 1.8 million square feet on 140 acres a quarter-mile east of Interstate 10, north of Cherry Valley Boulevard and south of Condit Ave., the Banning Patch has reported. Some of the project space would be reserved for nature trails and rustic features intended to make it less of an eyesore, according to planning documents.
An Environmental Impact Review was first issued in November 2016 but was sent back for revisions that Department of Planning officials said were needed to address modifications by the developer. Eventually a redrafted EIR was recirculated, totaling 2,846 pages and generating more than 700 opposition letters.
Despite the objections, county officials approved the project.
“It’s clear to me this project deserves approval,” said supervisor Marion Ashley, in whose Fifth District the mega warehouse complex will be located. “The region could greatly benefit from it.”
Shopoff told the board that he’s in the process of closing a deal to purchase 122 acres abutting the development to make room for parks.
An air quality mitigation fund will be established, generating up to $575,000 a year, to offset polluting activity associated with the San Gorgonio Crossing, according to county Transportation & Land Management Agency director Juan Perez.
Economist John Husing told the board the warehouse space, depending on its uses, could net anywhere from 500 to 1,600 permanent jobs. “This could have a total economic benefit of $150 million a year,” Ashley said.
Nationally, the Didge Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.
The commercial component of the Momentum Index was 7.8% lower in the month, while the institutional component was down 0.9%.
The fourth quarter of 2017 was particularly strong for the Momentum Index, and January’s retreat returns it to a more sustainable level. On a year-over-year basis, the Momentum Index is 7.7% higher, with both the commercial and institutional components showing growth over January 2017. This suggests that nonresidential building construction should continue to post moderate gains in 2018.
In January, five projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. For the commercial sector, the leading projects were a $200 million office building in Boston MA and the Banning warehouse. The leading institutional projects were a $440 million water park in Branson MO and a $123 million assisted living facility in Milwaukee WI.