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District 1 Update

Jack Duran
March 2016

If you build it, they will come.

It was a few years ago that real estate values tanked and the economy took the precipitous dive that led us into the “great recession.”  Retail sales were flat at best, there were few building starts and many lots sat empty, testimony to the fickle and roller coaster economic world in which we live.  

However, now the view among economists is more than cautiously optimistic as economic indicators are rising, especially in Northern California. In many categories, Placer County leads the way, showing increases that are above the rest of the state. 

Perhaps the most visible indicators of economic health are the numerous retail developments either now open or under construction. In Rocklin, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World recently opened its 100,000-square foot store. Walmart is also in the same development, as is Petsmart and numerous restaurants and specialty retailers. Across Interstate 80 at Sierra College Boulevard is another retail center with Target and Studio Movie Grill serving as two of the anchor tenants. The fact that large national retailers are looking to Placer County to site their stores is testimony to our vibrant economic health.

It is no surprise to us that live here this is an attractive place to call home. One telling statistic is the number of Californians who move to Placer County from other areas of the state. From 2009 to 2014, we led the state in net domestic migration. Placer County is truly a place where people want to live and work. 

With these businesses opening here and domestic migration, it’s no wonder that the unemployment rate in Placer County is low. Our rate is not only below state and national rates but lower than the regional rate. And we have recovered most of all the jobs lost during the recession.  

Placer County has also seen a huge increase in Small Business Administration loans with a 39 percent increase. The next closest county was Sacramento, which showed a modest 2 percent increase. 

Here are a few highlights that indicate positive growth in Placer County.

• The California Independent System Operator, ISO, the non-profit that manages the state’s electrical grid, is building a 35,000-square foot backup facility in Lincoln;
• Adventist Health bought a $17 million parcel in Roseville for a new headquarters;
• Bickford Ranch, a 1,928-development with 1,900 residential units was approved by the board of supervisors;
• Squaw Valley, Homewood and Northstar ski areas have plans to expand their operations;
• National grocery chain Sprouts Farmers Market is opening a store in Roseville;
• Rocklin is seeking proposals to develop a 7.7-acre parcel on Pacific Street with infill development; and 
• The completion of the first phase of the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project is leading to improved lodging properties that will replace motels built in the 1950s and 1960s.

The prospect of internationally recognized and UK leading Warwick University locating in western Placer County further demonstrates  the continued prosperity and more importantly that opportunity is on the horizon.  Additionally, the Board of Supervisors continues to actively pursue development of the Sunset Industrial Area which includes a CSU-Sacramento/Sierra College campus located in north eastern Placer County.  Taking a line from an 80’s song, the future looks so bright “we have to wear shades.”

Like I’ve said many times, Placer County has so much to offer its residents and visitors. With housing choices that range from suburban to rural to mountain, anyone can find a desirable place to call home. We have run the gamut of recreational activities. We have retail and agriculture. Our industrial sector is poised to grow and higher education is coming as well. We’ve weathered that storm of a recession that had many of us reeling and we are positioned for continued success. But the light at the end of the tunnel is glowing and it’s getting brighter. This is a good time for Placer County and I’m pleased that we’ve turned a corner.

As always, it is an honor and a privilege to serve you. I always welcome your feedback and can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 916-787-8950.