Hiring and manufacturing will begin shortly at a new plant in Victorville, where Simmons sofas and other home furnishings will be made.
Simmons’ parent company, United Furniture Industries, has signed a lease for more than 500,000 square feet of space at the Southern California Logistics Centre, a former military base near U.S. 395 and the 15 Freeway that is being turned into a freight transportation hub.
The price of the nine-year lease was not disclosed, but real estate experts familiar with San Bernardino County industrial properties valued the deal at about $16 million.
United Furniture, which is based in Okolona, Miss., said the Victorville manufacturing and distribution center will serve Southern California and other markets in the West.
The company will hire more than 100 workers starting in October and expand the staff to about 400 within the next three or four years, spokesman Bob Cottam said. Recruitment will begin with a local job fair next month.
“UFI has a history of making every effort possible to procure goods and services in the local communities where we have a manufacturing presence,” Cottam said. “We are excited about the prospects for our success in the Western United States and this new facility in the California High Desert.”
United Furniture’s other manufacturing centers are in Mississippi and North Carolina. Southern California Logistics Centre, which includes airplane runways and rail connections, is being developed on 2,500 acres of the former George Air Force Base by landlord Stirling Capital Investments.
Other businesses there include Rubbermaid, General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, FedEx, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and M&M/Mars.
Texas-based Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. opened a plant there last year to bottle beverages such as 7UP, A&W root beer, Sunkist orange soda and Hawaiian Punch.
After United Furniture moves in, Victorville’s industrial property vacancy rate will fall to 7%, a big drop from more than 30% in early 2009, according to brokerage Cushman & Wakefield.
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-- Roger Vincent
Photo: United Furniture Industries future home in Victorville. Credit: Stirling Capital Investments