2019 began with good economic news in California: 24,500 jobs were added as the year ended in December 2018.
state added 24,500 net new positions for a total of approximately 17.28 million
jobs, according to the California Employment Development Department.
California’s gains were widespread, with the expansion of nine out of eleven industries. Leisure and hospitality added the most jobs, reflecting the Golden State’s historic allure as a tourist destination, particularly during the cold winter months.
Tourism has been growing and has steadily increased over the past eight years. Los Angeles County alone hosted an estimated fifty million visitors in 2018. This impressive statistic reflects a 3.1% improvement over 2017’s total.
In very sorry news for all of us Lego lovers, the Lego store at the Arden Fair mall has closed. The famous building blocks will be replaced by sexier ware, as Victoria’s Secret’s offshoot Pink is taking over the space. Pink is already in the mall but will be moving to this new location.
Now, the closest Lego location will be at the Galleria in Roseville. Incidentally, if you want to see some amazing Lego designs, Sacramento native David Tracy is showing his designs in an exhibit called “Bricking Bad” in Rancho Cordova. You can see his display at the Mills Station Arts and Culture Center until January 12.
Expansions are underway by Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center via the Downtown Commons (DOCO). It is hoped that these endeavors will be beneficial to local businesses with the opening of a variety of pop up shops. This is a relatively new idea for the area and could result in something more permanent, should success ensue.
Meanwhile, the City Council is looking to expand the Sacramento Convention Center and renovate the Community Center Theater. It is likely that locals will be hired to better ensure project on time completion. In addition, with the agreement in place it is less likely that strikes will occur resulting in delays. And of course you have the added benefit of enhanced construction careers for locals while establishing “lucrative business opportunities for local companies.”
Woodland based Amos Metz Rentals has just been sold to Sacramento based investors. According to one of the former owners, Joe Metz:
“Amos Metz has been in business since 1945 and is a staple in its marketplace. We are very pleased to have sold our business to Sacramento-based investors who know our business very well. We had several options after our long-time manager, Willie Truitt, retired and selling to this group was a natural fit for both parties. Willie, who owned a portion of the business, had a wonderful career in rental for over 40 years and we appreciate all of his hard work and efforts.”
The Hallmark Inn, located at UC Davis, has some new owners and with them a new, modern finish. Renovations will begin this summer. According to the new owner, Sacramento’s Presidio Companies, the renovations will include the modernization of all guest rooms and common areas, including the lobby and meeting rooms.
Presidio is working with the design team at Gettys Group to bring a pastoral, agricultural feel to the new hotel, drawing on Yolo County’s history in agriculture and farmland heritage.
Managing principal of Presidio Companies Guneet Bajwa said: “We are proud to take ownership of this great hotel from the Youmans family. The Youmans owned and operated the property since 1998, and with great attention to service and hospitality, made it a welcoming home for the community at large. We are excited to continue that same sense of community spirit, while also transforming the entire hotel with a distinctive redesign and modernization.”
The company is also considering a new name for the hotel, which will be managed by Interstate Hotels & Resorts.
Sacramento is planning a new bridge across the river. If planned correctly, the new addition has the potential to boost traffic between the Bridge District and West Sacramento as well as enhance riverfront development by drawing cyclists and pedestrians.
The Sacramento community is going to be directly involved in the process, and the public has been invited to a meeting to participate in the discussion. The new bridge will redirect most of the traffic from the old I Street Bridge, which is over a century old and too narrow for many vehicles. The old bridge will remain available to carry commuter and freight train, and the viaducts will be demolished to open up the riverfront on both sides.
According to the Sacramento Bee, “The new span is planned just north and would be the first linking Sacramento and West Sacramento since the Tower Bridge was built in 1934.”
Plans are for it be used by “vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians and a possible future streetcar line. It would be a direct route from the railyard, where a Kaiser Permanente hospital and a Major League Soccer stadium are planned, to the mixed-use Bridge District, which is already developing.”
Due to increasing demand, Lyft, Inc. has begun offering its luxury service in Sacramento. Based in San Francisco, Lyft is a ride-sharing service which has swept across the United States since its launch in 2012. Providing stylish “black car” transportation, Lyft’s new Lyft Lux and Lyft Lux SUV services are geared toward businessmen and other formal travelers. According to a Lyft spokesperson, the luxury drivers can earn up to five times the far of a regular Lyft driver.
“We’ve listened to our community and know that there is a need for a more premium ride. Our drivers who have high-end vehicles now have the opportunity to expand earnings and fulfill needs of their passengers,” spokewoman Darcy Nenni wrote in an email.
Lyfts new service will also be launched in numerous other cities across the country. Drivers who participate in the new venture will have to meet strict vehicle requirements: a 2011 or newer model car in excellent condition, black exterior and leather seats, and ratings of at least 4.7 of 5.
Sacramento has approved 6 commercial grow permits, and dozen of other properties have also applied for permission to grow the plant on their properties. Real estate prices and local businesses are already being affected.
KCRA 3 reports that mall business owners throughout the city are concerned. The permit process has pushed commercial real estate prices up dramatically, and as leases expire, businesses are being forced to look for new locations.
Brian Bendix and his family run one such business. Their American Stripping Company, based in Sacramento, has been in business for over 30 years. Now that marijuana grow licenses are bolstering the real estate prices in the area, they won’t be able to afford to stay once this year’s lease is up. They, like many other, anticipate having to leave the city to stay afloat.
Prices of homes in Sacramento County have been on the rise, and have recently hit the highest mark since before the crash in 2007.
According to CoreLogic, the average resale price of a family home in the area was $340,500 in July. In August 2005, when housing prices were at their peak, the average price was $374,000, whereas prices in October 2011 dropped as low as $155,000.
The latest increase in prices, which is 10% higher than last summer’s, has been driven by a small market and high demand.
“New home sales were on the rise in Sacramento County, with a 29 percent increase since July 2016,” CoreLogic reported. “That’s partly the result of a resumption of construction in North Natomas, after federal authorities lifted a de facto building moratorium they’d imposed because of flood risks.”
Some experts believe the new developments in the resale market will make new homes a more viable option for buyers. As a result, housing construction may pick up; a critical improvement to the Sacramento economy.
Amazon has offered a sneak peek into its new Sacramento fulfillment center this week. According to County Supervisor Phil Serna, the construction is moving forward at a quick pace.
“I think it bodes well for the future of the business park and for other property owners here to see that this is not just going to be a very successful operation employing a lot of people, but that Sacramento County is very committed to making sure that the permits necessary to do something like this can be streamlined,” he said.
Amazon is opening a new fulfillment facility in Sacramento, and with it 1,500 new job positions. The center’s launch date is drawing nearer, with doors expected to open no later than October of this year.