All Roads Lead to Fontana
Mayor Acquanetta Warren speaks with California CEO Magazine about why Fontana is the next booming city for Southern California.
Fontana already has a lot on its platter, but, it’s a really big platter with room for much more than just being one of the country’s biggest and busiest logistics hubs. Mayor Acquanetta Warren tells California CEO Magazine that Fontana craves to be a destination hub for fine dining and entertainment, and the city will dish out the services and opportunities to satisfy that hunger.
You can’t drive east from coastal Southern California without passing through Fontana, the second biggest city in San Bernardino County. It’s partly why city leaders repeatedly say “all roads lead to Fontana.” But they admit Fontana lacks fine dining and entertainment complexes.
“We want to attract national, state and local restaurants,” Mayor Acquanetta Warren said. “We need more places for our people to be able to enjoy good food and each other.”
In an appearance on California CEO Magazine, she said Fontana is actively courting an array of fine dining establishments.
“We’ve put funds aside to assist restaurants to come to our city. We’ve actually hired a marketing firm to go out and attract those businesses,” Warren said. “The traffic is there, we just need to attract the businesses and we’re willing to work with them.”
The Mayor assures restauranteurs and businesses that they will have one-stop shopping when they go into the city planning department.
“We’re going to make sure every available product and service we have becomes yours, and we’re going to help you maintain that business because we are constantly marketing to our public, ‘buy Fontana,’” she said.
The city wants to locate some potential restaurants and entertainment complexes in Fontana’s new “Ventana” development at Duncan Canyon.
Fontana is ready to develop about 100 acres immediately off the new I-15 Duncan Canyon interchange which Mayor Warren calls the “gateway” into the Inland Empire.
“Once you come down that pass (the Cajon Pass), the first sign of civilization is at that interchange,” she said. “We want it to be a destination site.”
Fontana’s “Promenade” project is also well underway. It calls for 122 acres of single family homes and commercial development which includes a shopping center anchored by an incoming Walmart with room nearby for a top-notch eatery. The shopping and entertainment center is also located right across from the expanding Fontana Auto Center just off the burgeoning 210 freeway corridor.
The city, she added, also wants to strengthen its downtown area to transform it into an entertainment destination akin to what Riverside and Los Angeles have done.
Fontana, meanwhile, will continue to nurture its bread and butter logistics industry which has been bolstered by the Inland Empire regaining local control over Ontario International Airport along Fontana’s border between the I-10 and 60 freeways.
Again, the Mayor said, all roads lead to Fontana.
The push for quality dining and entertainment is part of the second-term Mayor’s long range and delicate balancing act to not grow beyond what the city can handle.
“We have the potential of up to 15,000 new homes that could come on board in the next six years. That’s a lot of new residents,” Warren said. “My priority past 2016 is to make sure we have the amount of jobs to relate to the population that we’re dealing with. At the same time, we need a mix of the right retail. We also need to embrace technology. So, we’re working very closely with businesses that come on board so that the technology is there.”
The Mayor is adamant that Fontana’s time has come. The city is abuzz in activity.
“Everyone wants to come to Fontana because everything that they need to be successful is there in Fontana and in close proximity,” she said.