2019 Economic Outlook provides SCV forecast

Emile Haddad, chairman and CEO of FivePoint speaks at the 2019 Economic Outlook held at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

For decades, Newhall Ranch has made a name for itself. It’s the master-planned development that promises to be an economic driver for the region with thousands of homes, jobs and more. On Thursday, developers revealed their  new name for the project, which harkens back to their last success in the area: Valencia.

“We have the legacy of a name that has a great reputation, and why would you want to abandon that?” said Emile Haddad, chairman and CEO of FivePoint, the largest owner and developer of mixed-use communities in coastal California, which is spearheading the development.

Newhall Ranch stems from the same vision that Valencia was built on in the 1960s — building self-sustained communities. Much like Valencia, the newly named project located along the Santa Clara River will include 21,500 homes, 75,000 jobs, thousands of acres of open space, high-quality schools and recreation facilities. The development is also marketed as a master-planned community that will reduce or mitigate net greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

“We want to build on that foundation that is so unique,” said Haddad. “Our whole approach to the development is: How do we connect people together? From my perspective, when we build an amphitheater, it’s not about entertainment and music. It’s about two strangers sitting next to each other who meet, and none of them know who’s wealthy and who’s not.”

The announcement came during the 2019 Economic Outlook, hosted by the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. and College of the Canyons.

At Thursday’s gathering, hundreds of business leaders and local dignitaries received insight on the national and local economy.

The event, held at the Hyatt Regency Valencia, featured speakers including of the most prominent leaders directly impacting business in the area, including Haddad; Lewis Horne, division president of CBRE; Ravi Rajan, president of California Institute of the Arts; and Mark Schniepp, director of California Economic Forecast.

During his presentation, Haddad said he believes that what’s to come at Valencia is a preview of where development is headed in the future, which is “going back to the days of the old town, of communities actually becoming communities again.” FivePoint envisions creating connected communities that have access to needs like permanent jobs, hospitals, schools, entertainment and nature — all within walking or biking distance — similar to plans FivePoint has already started in other areas, such as Irvine.

And the SCV’s economic outlook is pointing in all the right directions to successfully execute this vision, according to the speakers at the event.

Schniepp said the 2019 forecast for the area is a repeat of last year’s, which indicates a continued low unemployment rate of 4.8 percent, nearly 2,000 jobs created, income growth of almost 6 percent, inflation rate drop of 3.9 to 3.2 percent and an increase in housing production.

“We will need more housing,” he said.

The speakers reiterated that the lack of housing is an issue not unique to the SCV, but in order to continue and grow the Valencia legacy for the SCV, more homes will have to be built so residents can “live, work and play,” locally.

To achieve that, including affordable housing, Haddad said, public-private partnership needs to happen.

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Tammy Murga

Tammy Murga

Tammy Murga covers city hall and business for The Signal. She joined in the summer of 2018, previously working in Northern California as an assistant editor and reporter for the Lake County Record-Bee. In 2016, she graduated from Mount Saint Mary's University, Los Angeles. Have a story tip? Message her on Twitter or at [email protected]