Councilman Rick Gibbs from the City of Murrieta addressed the Southwest Riverside County Association of REALTORS® April 8 at their weekly marketing meeting presenting an overview of the city.
Overall, Gibbs was optimistic about economic recovery. He cited the Truax building in Temecula as an indicator, bringing Class A office space to the region.
“Murrieta has excellent demographics,” said Gibbs. “The average family income is $102,000, up $2000 from the previous year. Unemployment is at 5.9 percent. The city is ranked #8 among the top ten safest cities based on all eight FBI metrics. It is a young family community (average age of 32) with 37% of adults with a college education.”
Gibbs stated that the biggest challenge facing Murrieta is that the city is a bedroom community, a commuter suburb to San Diego ad Orange County.
“We lose a talented workforce every day that commutes out of our community – 66 percent have good jobs elsewhere.”
“Murrieta has a comprehensive economic development strategy to encourage higher end jobs and become a technology business hub for the region,” said Gibbs.
The focus is on innovation, entrepreneurship and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Manufacturing)–related businesses in order to build and attract smaller to medium-size businesses that can grow and thrive in the area. The city is encouraging development of technology parks on 1-15/South Murrieta and I-215/North Murrieta.
The city has converted the former City Hall into the Murrieta Innovation Center, allowing young start-ups the opportunity to grow. They have also established relationships with Tech Coast Angels (private investors), Valley Innovators, and InSoCal CONNECT.
Gibbs stressed the importance of encouraging education, citing the importance of the Murrieta Valley Unified School District partnership: Tech Expo, UCR School of Medicine connection, and the formation of a Technology Committee. He noted the expansion of Azusa Pacific University, but stressed the ongoing need for higher education opportunities, especially in STEM, which will create the jobs of the future.
“Eighty five percent of our students go on to two- or four-year colleges, contributing to an educated work force, but how do we educate first graders to handle the jobs that do not yet exist?”
Healthcare services have been enhanced in the area with the building of the Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC) and Kaiser Permanente; further expansion includes Rancho Springs and the addition of Rady Children’s NICU.
The planning department’s “fast-track” process was utilized with LLUMC, BMW of Murrieta, the conversion of furniture row, and currently with the Kaiser project.
“We are not as concerned with multi-family housing,” said Gibbs as he focused on current and future development projects:Vineyards (west of Murrieta Creek), 1000 homes; Garden Cities (east of I-2215, north of Loma Linda), 550 homes; Hunters’ Ridge (top of the hill where mobile homes are), 450 homes; Bear Creek, 100 homes; Borel (near Moose Lodge), 100-200 homes; Creekside (near Murrieta Hot Springs and Whitewood), 90 homes. Future developments include Cascade del Sol (near Jefferson and Kalmia) and Murrieta Hills (west to Greer Ranch and I-215). The latter was originally slated for 1500 homes by Del Webb; it will require annexation by the city.
Gibbs then addressed traffic projects. The Clinton Keith/I-15 overpass was completed with $16.5 million from the Riverside County Traffic Commission. The Ynez to Jackson bridge is completed and open. The French Valley off-ramp from I-15 is ready to be opened by CalTrans. In response to a question of the overpass portion of the project, “The Date Street/I-15 to Murrieta Hot Springs is a long-term project that never had funding,” said Gibbs.
Overall Councilman Gibbs’ outlook for the City of Murrieta was extremely positive with considerable growth planned in the near future.