Editor’s note; Lake Elsinore is one of the fastest-growing cities in California and the nation. The first in a three-part series detailing the explosive growth planned for Lake Elsinore, Part One is an overview and covers growth infrastructure project.
“Welcome to the Action Sports Capital of the World,” Lake Elsinore Mayor Bob Magee said at a recent broker and developer meeting with the Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Magee began to list city highlights, including 8,000 homes with a projected growth of another 1,100 in five years, 3 million square feet of industrial and commercial development in process or planning, including a 520,000 square-foot indoor sports complex, stocking the lake with 100,000 pounds of fish, Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing March 24-25, hosting the San Diego Padres at Storm Stadium March 31, Fox Sport West’s “Angler Chronicles” filming episodes on Lake Elsinore and the 49th running of the Lake Elsinore Grand Prix “Return to the Streets” Nov. 10-12.
“A partnership with the Lake District and 30 years of planning and work has positioned us for an amazing growth spurt and lots of opportunity,” he said.
The city is updating its East Lake Specific Plan and its Downtown Master Plan. It has recently also completed a new Drainage Master Plan, Facilities Master Plan, Nexus studies and an Alignment study.
According to Michael Bracken, managing partner and chief economist of Development Management Group, Lake Elsinore has a compelling story to tell.
The city – which had 3,530 residents in 1970 – currently has a population of 62,000 and grows by 2,000 residents per year. The population has grown 126 percent since 1990; California’s population grew 27 percent in that same period.
Median household income is approaching $75,000 per year. Median age is 31. Housing is affordable with a median home price below $300,000. Property values rose 12.5 percent between 2014 and 2015. Lake Elsinore is averaging 600 new homes annually and is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.
Retail sales within a five-mile radius average $1.09 billion annually. Sales tax revenue rose 9.2 percent last year. Revenues from property taxes rose 4.5 percent; revenues from Transit Occupancy tax grew 40 percent.
The city touts many advantages for businesses, including free technology-based analyses and reports and a fast-track program. Lake Elsinore’s industrial parks are located within designated HUBZones that provide federal contracting preferences to small businesses. The city is also finalizing its Foreign Trade Zone designation to allow duty-free treatment of U.S. plants engaged in international trade.
Lake Elsinore is centrally located on the Interstate 15 corridor with an extensive transportation network that includes five international airports, three local commuter airports, two deep water ports, rail transport and major trucking companies. Lake Elsinore is 68 miles to San Diego, 74 miles to Los Angeles, 60 miles to Orange County and 30 miles to Riverside.
Lake Elsinore has more than 15,000 acres of undeveloped land; 1,250 acres are freeway frontage and currently over 23,000 planned units are yet to be built.
“The desire for a balanced economy of residential, commercial, industrial, office/flex and tourism make this area attractive for development and growth,” Bracken said.
Lake Elsinore’s Capital Improvement Projects budget is $76.4 million to support the projected growth and 60 active projects currently. The Cal Trans project to redesign the five Lake Elsinore I-15 on-ramps and off-ramps to accommodate projected traffic flow is still being studied; one option being discussed is European-style “roundabouts.”
City engineer Brad Fagrell described $26 million in infrastructure projects slated for the next 18 months.
The relinquishment of state Route 74 from the county to the city should be done by April 2017. The affected section is from I-15 to the east city limit.
Major roadwork projects include the Camino del Norte extension and realignment with Canyon Estates Drive to be completed September 2017 at a combined cost of $4 million; the widening of Railroad Canyon Road at a cost of $2,750,000 is also slated for September 2017 completion and intersection safety work at Gunnerson Street and state Route 74 will cost $2.5 million and be completed January 2018.
The city will be coordinating with the water district on pavement projects at Country Club Heights, Illinois Street and Strickland Avenue and Pottery Street. All are scheduled for completion by the end of March 2017; also to be completed by the end of March 2017 is the pavement rehab at Gunnerson Street and the Community Development Block Grant curb, gutter and sidewalk rehab. The Elm Grove Beach parking lot will be done fall of 2017. These projects total $1,791,000.
Signal lights will be installed at Diamond Drive and Malaga Road January 2017, Diamond Drive and Village Parkway March 2017, Mission Trail and Campbell Street April 2017 and Lakeshore and Terra Cotta December 2017. Total cost is $875,000.
Phase 2A of Serenity Park, which includes a BMX course, dog park and parking lot, is slated for spring 2017 completion at a cost of $800,000. Phase One of Summerly Community Park will cost $10 million and be completed in winter 2017.
These infrastructure projects pave the way for the exploding growth of the city of Lake Elsinore.
Part two of this series will describe planned commercial development for the city of Lake Elsinore.