Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Upper Middle Class Exists Outside LA!

Every once in a while I like to comment on our neighbors in the Inland Empire. People "in LA" (right, whatever that means), already perceive the SGV as nowheresville, and of course the IE strikes them as some sort of far off Bakersfieldian wasteland. Amanda Covarrubias and Ashley Powers write an article in the LA Times entitled "Far-flung suburbs want good life too" [no, really?] that echoes thoughts about the growing demand for high-end retail in the Inland Empire I expressed some weeks ago. I'm glad that the La-La Times ran the article, but they are a little late in the telling. These stores have already been up and running for a while in some places, largely because of the rise in affluent neighborhoods throughout the region. If that is news to you, you need to do yourself a favor and get the hell out of LA once in a while.

As I mentioned before, Victoria Gardens itself is a great example of negative IE perception not measuring up to reality, as an excellent OC Metro article by one Joanna Posner mentioned a long time ago:

...retailers were unsure whether or not the market was primed for affluent customers. In fact, Victoria Gardens opened with stores that were too small in terms of square feet and put in their B-line merchandise, not knowing the demand would fly through the roof. "They should’ve put in their A-line merchandise and they should’ve built bigger stores," says [Dr. John] Husing.

Still, Victoria Gardens is the exemplar of retail success, and developments under way hope to emulate the center’s popularity. Forest City Enterprises, Inc., a $7.8 billion real estate company that is behind Victoria Gardens, has a portfolio of retail centers, apartment communities, office buildings and hotels throughout the U.S. And [developer Matt] Landers says that out of all of Forest City’s projects, Victoria Gardens has the highest per-square-foot sales.

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