Business growth seen in northern Fontana, but southern area does not get as much retail | News

In recent years, several new businesses have sprung up in the northern area of Fontana.

At the same time, the southern section of town has also seen an increase in the number of businesses. However, many of those are warehouses — which, although they create jobs, also create controversy due to environmental concerns.

The longstanding disagreements about the value of the warehouses have been a recurring theme at City Council meetings, and they also rise to the surface whenever announcements are made about new (non-warehouse) retail establishments that open in the north end (close to the Route 210 Freeway) but not the south region (below the Interstate 10 Freeway).

A few examples of the development in the north:

• CVS Pharmacy opened in a vacant building on the southwest corner of Baseline and Citrus avenues in 2017. More recently, a center featuring Jack-In-The-Box, Wingstop, a gas station, and others was constructed on the northeast corner of that intersection.

• Sprouts Farmers Market and many other businesses, including a very popular Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, opened in 2019 at Highland Village Shopping Center on the northeast corner of Sierra and South Highland avenues.

• Last year, construction began on the Citrus Crossroads center, which will be anchored by a grocery store, on the northeast corner of Citrus and South Highland.

• And on Jan. 17, the Planning Commission will discuss a proposal to build a new center on the northwest corner of Citrus and South Highland. If this project gains final approval, it would include a hotel, banquet hall, restaurant, and In-N-Out Burger.

On the Fontana News RoomFacebook page, many residents in northern Fontana praised this new proposal — but some residents from the south were wondering when it would be their turn to get another comparable business center.

“And what is being done for South Fontana?” commented Jennifer Charland. “I go to Eastvale for my shopping because it’s closer to my house than driving to the stores on Sierra Ave. South Fontana residents are spending their money in other cities because we have nothing but warehouses and horrible traffic here.”

Southridge resident Carmen Valdez Jimenez echoed that thought: “All we get are WAREHOUSES!”

Another commenter, Debra Craig, claimed that Mayor Acquanetta Warren, a strong supporter of warehouses, only cares about northern Fontana because she lives in that area.

But Maurine Frey-Petrunio replied by saying it’s been a perennial problem: “City planners don’t care about south Fontana. This started long before the current mayor.”

—– WARREN did not want to comment specifically about the new In-N-Out proposal, but she insisted that she cares about what is happening throughout Fontana and said there is a simple explanation for why the north gets more retail.

“There is more developable/vacant land in the north. The market drives development. We would welcome a similar development in the south,” she said in an email to the Herald News.

Warren noted that there is already an In-N-Out at 9855 Sierra Avenue, a short distance north of the I-10.

She added that the City Council “will continue to seek investment opportunities for all of Fontana” and repeated her often-quoted phrase: “Fontana is open for business.”

“As One Fontana, we support property owners’ rights to develop and improve their property. We have consistently welcomed private investment throughout Fontana. Amenities like shops, restaurants and hotels support our community with services and jobs. They generate revenue and incomes which in turn, allows the City to enhance and our residents enjoy, the services the City provides,” she said.

Commenting on the Facebook page, Selvinski Lloydius Mckay Jr. followed that same reasoning when it came to warehouses, saying they are an important part of Fontana’s economy: “The people that are complaining about the warehouses, should thank the warehouses for generating the business and the revenue so that the city can get all the nice things it’s slowly starting to see.”

In addition, while many northern residents are pleased with the potential for more shopping opportunities, they also are concerned about the traffic that would result — especially at the busy corner of Citrus and South Highland, just south of the 210 Freeway.

Commenter Christy Stier Hernandez is worried because there are “yet no plans to improve the intersection with the freeway on-ramps. This will be a freaking mess if they don’t fix that intersection!”

Amy Martin added: “That light at Citrus and Highland is already a joke, cannot imagine the gridlock all of these businesses will bring.”

Also, residents of all parts of the city have for years been expressing how much they would like new sit-down restaurants to come to their neighborhoods, but not many have done so.

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