The City of Perris broke ground on the Commons at Perris Shopping Center Friday (Aug. 10), a commercial and retail development that includes a food mart, fuel station, an automated car wash and room for additional businesses.
Perris Mayor Michael Vargas, Mayor Pro-Tem Malcolm Corona, City Councilmembers David Starr Rabb and Rita Rogers and City Clerk Nancy Salazar headed the City contingent at the ground-breaking. They were joined by Assistant City Managers Darren Madkin and Clara Miramontes, Economic and Development Director Grace Williams, other City staff members and representatives of the Lewis Group, which owns the property.
“This is very exciting, Perris is moving forward!” Vargas said. “It’s all about economic development. We are committed to expanding our commercial and retail development to give our residents more and better buying choices. A positive, growing economic climate makes for a healthier City.”
Located at the southeast corner San Jacinto and Redlands avenues, the Commons at Perris boasts nearly 35,000-square foot of space—with pad spaces ranging from 15,000-square-feet to 2,600-square feet-- and parking for about 250 vehicles. Other amenities include decorative lighting, screened walls and enhanced landscaping.
Building begins soon
The first occupant will be a Chevron fueling station, food mart and car wash. Initial project work is set to start by September.
Timothy Reeves, vice-president of retail development for the Lewis Group, said the company has owned the Commons site since 2004.
The Great Recession of 2008 and its aftermath slowed development throughout the nation and California, but Reeves said Lewis is happy to get the project underway.
“It’s been a bit of a long haul but we do not walk away from projects,” said Reeves, pointing that Lewis has been in business for 63 years. “We are very much pleased to be in Perris.”
Reeves noted the Commons at Perris site is visible from I-215 and lies along heavily-traveled corridors like San Jacinto and Redlands. He said Perris is desirable because it boasts affordable housing and includes a business-friendly City Council and development staff.
Patience is a virtue
More good news is on the way.
The City of Perris will break ground Aug. 21 on a major expansion of the Perris Plaza Shopping Center, a project that will bring in seven major retailers, create dozens of new jobs and reward the relentless pursuit by elected municipal representatives and administrators to bring greater shopping options to residents.
Those businesses at Perris Plaza include Burlington, Ross, Planet Fitness, Ulta Beauty, Mountain Mike’s Pizza, Five Below and Hibbett Sports.
Vargas and other members of the Perris City Council said they have heard resident calls for more sit-down restaurants, a gymnasium, clothing stores and specialty boutiques. Every member of the City Council and Economic Development Team has attended conventions hosted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), spending hundreds of hours meeting with retailers and pitching the advantages of locating in Perris—freeway access, a strategic location in Inland Southern California, plenty of available retail space and affordable housing.
But developers use their own criteria and analytics in determining where to locate or expand so patience, persuasion and persistence are vital to ultimate success.
Vargas said the inclusion of anchor stores like Burlington and Ross attracted the other businesses to the Perris Plaza. The City hopes others will follow as well.
Residents have spoken
Mayor Pro-Tem Corona said he was pleased to see development at the Lewis site.
“This has been an empty field for so long so I am very happy it is being developed for retail,” Corona said. “Our residents have spoken. They want to see more places to shop. We are definitely listening. If I could do it by snapping my fingers, I would have all sorts of retailers in Perris.”
Councilman Rabb said he hopes the Lewis project kick-starts additional retail and commercial development. Lewis owns an adjacent piece of land also suitable for commercial and retail businesses.
“I hope this leads to a larger project,” he said. “It took years to get us this far. It will be nice when it is completed.”
Councilwoman Rogers, the senior elected representative in Perris, echoed similar sentiments.
Rogers estimated she’s attended at least a dozen ICSC conferences in her 19 years on the City Council.
“It’s great to see the Lewis Group break ground in their project,” Rogers said. “It’s been a long wait but the wait was worthwhile. We as a City Council are relentless in our efforts to bring more business to Perris.”
City Clerk Salazar said she was “really excited” to see Chevron set up shop at the Commons of Perris and to know that greater shopping choices soon will become a reality.
“It’s really great to see what’s going to be coming to Perris in the future,” she said.