Moreno Valley, California.
Residents of Moreno Valley got their first chance Monday night to weigh in on a proposed warehouse complex the size of a small city. The World Logistics Center would take up about four square miles of open space between the 60 Freeway and a wildlife refuge.
The project bills itself as both the largest and the most environmentally friendly industrial project of if its kind. It’s modeled after the developer’s other Moreno Valley venture, a 1.8 million-square-foot Skechers warehouse.
That facility will be lit by skylights and cooled by natural breezes.
The logistics center would consume nearly 4,000 acres of open space. That much development so close to a 19,000-acre wildlife reserve has many worried.
“Maybe, just maybe, they’d wanna be known for really what they have [...] the San Jacinto Wildlife Area,” says Brad Singer of the Audubon Society of San Bernardino Valley. He says Moreno Valley should celebrate its natural attributes and not just its economic potential — including San Jacinto, which Singer calls "a treasure."
“The deer falcons spend a lot of time there, along with over a hundred red-tailed hawks," Singer said at the open meeting. "So all the area is important. Moreno Valley is on the map, and not just for warehouse space."
The logistics center has won the initial endorsement of Moreno Valley’s top officials. They believe it could create thousands of permanent jobs and be a huge economic boost for the region; so do many who live in Moreno Valley, including retired U.S. Marine Frank Wright.
“I wanna lay it flat to you: Marines don’t deal with any nonsense," says Wright. "The issue is jobs for people here in Moreno Valley, to enhance it. [...] It’s time of us to quit warming our chairs and start wearing out our shoes and get this job done."
Getting the job done could take many more months, if not years. The warehouse project has to go through a lengthy environmental review process before it can win the approval of Moreno Valley’s city planners, its city council — and its people.