We all know Santa Clarita for the master-planned communities, excellent school systems, expansive parks and trails, and overall awesome lifestyle. Many local residents, however, are unaware of what's growing in our valley: business. While most of us drive from one end of this "small town" to the other, we rarely stop to notice that Santa Clarita is home to some major industry giants: Six Flags, Princess Cruises, Quest Diagnostics, Advanced Bionics, Samsung, Sunkist and soon, Logix Federal Credit Union.
Major national industries have settled right alongside us, yet most residents wouldn't consider Santa Clarita to be a booming business hub. The Santa Clarita Economic Development Corporation (SCVEDC) disagrees.
A quiet force behind the growth of local business and industry in the Santa Clarita Valley, the SCVEDC is charged with growing the local business community from the inside out and the outside in. Working together with the City of Santa Clarita, County of Los Angeles and other major partners, the SCVEDC aims to attract and assist business, market our community, and provide information and research to the public and valuable parties. And as the local business community wraps up 2016, this unique private-public partnership is celebrating a few wins.
The SCVEDC is dynamic in the sense that it is simultaneously charged with supporting the expansion of local business and the attraction of new business to our community. Many factors go into the organization's ability to produce results, and there are equally as many ways to measure its success. When a major new business comes to town, for example, the SCVEDC likely played a role in bringing it here.
A recent example includes Logix Federal Credit Union's announcement to relocate its corporate headquarters to Valencia after more than 75 years in Burbank, said SCVEDC President and CEO Holly Schroeder.
"Logix will move in with 400-500 employees and has expansion plans to grow to more than 800," she said. "They will be one of the largest employers in the valley with they open their headquarters."
That creation of jobs is vital to residents who find employment outside of the valley but would rather not travel for work. Additionally, landing a major company like Logix carries the secondary benefit of acting as an organic marketing campaign for the Santa Clarita Valley. When one large company decides to bring its corporate headquarters to Santa Clarita -- previously known for being a sleepy bedroom community -- others take notice. Slowly the region begins to change its perception of what Santa Clarita has to offer, the growth picks up, and more jobs become available.
Always with something on the horizon, the SCVEDC recently worked to attract a 20-person aerospace machine shop and hopes to soon close the relocation of another medical device company.
"We're looking out for small and large companies alike," Holly said. "Both benefit our valley."
With growth, however, comes growing pains. Commercial and industrial space for companies to grow into comes at a premium today as the real estate inventory is low, and the buildings in surrounding areas are much older than in our nearly 30-year-old city. There is a serious demand for quality space, and the SCVEDC has taken that need seriously. Santa Clarita is currently in the process of constructing about 600,000 square feet of new industrial space. Ultimately, an additional 5M square feet is in the pipeline.
"Not many places in Los Angeles County are doing that right now -- and certainly not at this scale. This will be the first new industrial construction in about a decade, as well," she said. "We're really excited to have these projects going, especially with such tremendous demand."
New business attraction isn't the organization's only objective, however; the SCVEDC works hard to support local business growth and aid the development of specific industries that are already thriving in here in the Santa Clarita Valley. As a result, the SCVEDC has identified five clusters: aerospace and defense, medical devices, advanced manufacturing, digital media and entertainment, and information technology.
"The 'clustering' of businesses can enhance the competitive advantage of a region by fueling competition in the local economy, which often leads to quality job creation," Holly said.
The SCVEDC recently celebrated expansion in the information technology cluster when Scorpion Design, LLC announced its purchase of a site to build their new corporate headquarters in the Santa Clarita Valley. Scorpion's expanded headquarters will be the first creative office building of its kind in the area and will prominently feature an environmentally conscious, employee-centric design. The availability of land allowed Scorpion to design its building according to its specific standards.
"We chose Santa Clarita Valley as our permanent home because our employees live and thrive here, and we see it shaping into the epicenter of a tech hub that spreads across Los Angeles County," said Scorpion CEO and founder Rustin Kretz.
As the SCVEDC continues its work into the new year, the organization will further its goals of attracting and nurturing new, high-paying jobs to the Santa Clarita Valley, as it simultaneously develops a burgeoning business and industry community here the Santa Clarita Valley. Its mission is dynamic, but its results are real: No one can say they didn't know big business was done in the Santa Clarita Valley.