Moreno Valley continues to debate 41-million-square-foot warehouse project

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Tuesday night, the Moreno Valley City Council will discuss the proposed blueprint for a massive 41-million-square-foot warehouse complex near the 60 Freeway. The project is getting lots of support from city leaders, but not so much from its neighbors.

The World Logistics Center could consume nearly 4,000 acres of vacant land adjacent to a popular wildlife area. It would also border the edge of quiet neighborhood on the city’s east side.

Moreno Valley would have to revise its general plan to accommodate the sprawling complex. Its developer, Iddo Benzeevi, said that with a jobless rate of close to 14 percent, Moreno Valley needs this project.

"We have built a tremendous amount of housing in Moreno Valley," said Benzeevi. "And [we're] really lagging on job-producing land uses. What the city recognizes is that they need to bring the job-to-housing balance in line."

He points out that Moreno Valley currently has the lowest job-to-housing ratio "of any community in the region."

"This is an attempt to create a more sustainable, balanced community," Benzeevi said. "And we share in that vision.”

But critics question Benzeevi’s job creation claims. The developer’s other big Moreno Valley project, a million-square-foot Skechers distribution center, has only generated about 500 jobs after promising up to 3,000. Benzeevi said that facility is only in its first phase of operation.

His World Logistics project is also taking fire from environmental groups worried over the project’s potential impact on wildlife, air quality and people who live nearby.

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