Exciting things are happening in Santa Clarita, including a Cheesecake Factory, new hotels, a Laemmle Theatre and more.
Santa Clarita’s economy continues to strengthen. The holiday quarter Oct/Nov/Dec of 2015, saw its highest peak in the City’s history for total retail and restaurant sales in Santa Clarita. In 2015, retail sales increased 3 percent over 2014. The City’s unemployment rate was
4.7 percent in June of 2016, down from 6.3 percent in June of 2015. The current unemployment rate is the lowest for the month of June since the end of the recession.
There were 83,742 jobs in Santa Clarita as of the fourth quarter 2015, an increase of 4.7 percent when compared to 2014. Our local businesses continue to add jobs, and we have seen over 11,000 new jobs added locally since the end of the recession in 2011. There are 6,700 businesses in Santa Clarita as of the fourth quarter 2015, an increase of 4.4 percent when compared to 2014.
City staff is working with the Cheesecake Factory to meet its goal of opening before the holiday season this year at the Westfield Valencia Town Center. The new restaurant will be located on Town Center Drive, across from Sisley Italian Kitchen and near the new Saddle Ranch Chop House which also hopes to open before the holidays.
Hotel occupancy rates have been at an all-time high this year. Occupancy percentage is at 93 percent through April of this year compared to 81 percent in the same range in 2015. In addition to increased tourism throughout the state and Los Angeles County, displaced residents from the Porter Ranch gas leak are also responsible for the increase in occupancy. Displaced residents have stayed in Santa Clarita while the leak was being taken care of.
With the boost in tourism, it’s no wonder there is a lot of excitement in the hotel market as well. Ikon Hospitality Group announced plans to break ground on the Luxen Hotel in Old Town Newhall. The boutique hotel will feature 42 rooms and will be the first hotel to be built in the City’s Arts and Entertainment District.
City staff is also working with property owners to add four additional hotel brands including Residence Inn by Marriott, Springhill Suites, Homewood Suites and Hampton Inn. Additionally, the Oliver group has proposed a new hotel where the former Sheraton project was proposed at the former Greens location at McBean and Valencia.
Coming to Old Town Newhall is the City Council approved project that will bring a Laemmle Theatre, commercial/retail and housing development, plus a parking structure to the City-owned block at Railroad and Lyons Avenue. These projects are expected to break ground in 2017 and be completed over the next two years.
Filming in Santa Clarita continues to be strong. Statistics from Fiscal Year 2015-2016 (July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016) include 528 film permits issued and 1,305 total film days. The estimated economic benefit to our community is $30.1 million.
Earlier in the year, Netflix announced that the new show Santa Clarita Diet will be based in Santa Clarita. The new episodic show, located in a fictional version of Santa Clarita, began filming in June. The show stars actors Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant.
Also, Shooter, based on the movie starring Mark Wahlberg and starring Ryan Phillippe, recently based their studios in Santa Clarita and just wrapped production on their first season. The new show, filmed at several locations locally, can be seen this fall on the USA Network.
If you would like more economic development information, visit ThinkSantaClarita.com.
Ken Striplin is the city manager of the city of Santa Clarita.