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ABOUT THE LIST–Oceanside and East County Primed for Growth



Room for Expansion Lies Outside San Diego City Limits

San Diego’s economy is so good, it seems like the streets are paved with gold.

With names like Wireless Valley and Biotech Beach, the city of San Diego leads the county’s economic success. Other cities in the county are trying to keep up, preparing their own economic expansions for creating and attracting new companies.

The California Employment Development Department reported the unemployment for San Diego County in April was 2.6 percent. As the county, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce is forecasting San Diego’s gross regional product to be $100.4 billion in 2000, an increase of 6.4 percent from the previous year, and the payroll employment is expected to increase by 32,000 jobs to 1,177,700 by the end of the year.

“The overall economy for the country and California is very good, so every city has the same well-being as anywhere else,” said Jane McVey, economic development director for the city of Oceanside, No. 3 on the San Diego Business Journal’s List of Incorporated Cities Within San Diego.

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The incorporated cities are ranked by their population as of Jan. 1, 2000, as provided by the California Department of Finance.

– Oceanside Incomes,

Property Values Are Up

The city of Oceanside raised its total assessed property value to $7.69 billion in 1999, an increase of nearly 12 percent from its previous year. The 1999 median household income grew to $41,035, an increase of 3 percent from the previous year. McVey said Oceanside also created 2,200 more jobs in the past year.

Oceanside’s many large companies include Titleist Golf, Hydranautics, Transworld Publications and Becton Dickinson, according to McVey.

McVey said cities with available land for growth will be very valuable to companies in the future.

“Location is key for many businesses,” she said. “Oceanside has lots of available land along the coastal areas for hotel and industrial development.”

– Midway Between

Two Major Regions

She said Oceanside is an ideal city for businesses because it is situated halfway between the city of San Diego and Orange County. In addition, Oceanside has a good transportation system with its highways, Metrolink and the Amtrak for out-of-town commuters.

On the hotel development side, she said Oceanside maintained its beauty along its beaches with “natural white sand.” She said many beaches must import its sand from out of the area, but Oceanside’s beaches are well-maintained and the beaches are widening.

In the past year, Oceanside approved or is currently constructing 1,200 additional hotel rooms. Half of these hotel rooms are being planned for development by San Diego-based Manchester Resorts.

The 400-acre Ocean Ranch Development project was recently approved by the Oceanside City Council for a master-planned technology park. The project is being developed by Irvine-based Sterling Co.

“Oceanside has lost a couple of companies because they’ve outgrown their facilities,” McVey admitted. “But we’re attracting experienced developers to the area so existing companies can grow.”

– Incentives Offered To

Attract New Businesses

She said the city wants to attract new industrial construction and businesses into the area by offering incentives such as reducing the processing fees for building permits by 30 percent and lowering the license tax by 20 percent with a credit refund.

In addition, Oceanside offers free pre-development meetings with all the city’s planning and environmental departments to answer questions about development, she said.

Terry Saverson, president and CEO of San Diego East County Regional Chamber of Commerce, predicts business expansion will be heading eastward for San Diego.

“East County can grow eastward, which San Diego cannot,” Saverson said. “San Diego is pretty much built out in terms of industrial and residential development.”

East County includes the cities of El Cajon and La Mesa, No. 5 and 9 respectively on The List. Some of the area’s local companies include Chemtronics, Buck Knives, Flight Suits and Taylor Guitars.

“Our primary industries are doing very well, which created more expendable income to help support our local economy,” she said. “There’s so many businesses out here that most people around San Diego County don’t know about.”

– Household Incomes In

East County Increase

The 1999 median household incomes for El Cajon and La Mesa grew to $33,369 and $40,933, respectively, an increase of 2 percent and 3 percent, respectively, from 1998.

Saverson said East County is home to many defense-related companies, which were significantly downsized after the end of the Cold War.

In response to the defense-related downsizing, many small business suppliers formed the San Diego Defense and Space Technology Consortium in October 1998 to stimulate activity among local businesses that are defense related.

“These small businesses work together to bid for major contracts from the government,” Saverson said.

Its most recent accomplishment was establishing the Software Engineering Center for SPAWAR Systems and Science Applications International Corp. The site chosen for the center will be at the Gillespie Field Business Park in El Cajon and is expected to bring 160 high-tech jobs and an annual payroll of $6.5 million to the region.

“The advantage of East County is its lower rent per square foot for office and industrial space,” she said. “It makes it more attractive than other regions of San Diego, and East County has plenty of land for further growth.”

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