Visalia experienced an exciting year of growth throughout the city in 2018, so we’re going to continue the tradition of reflecting back and look at some of Visalia’s commercial highlights during the past year.

MOONEY BOULEVARD: There have been a lot of changes in the national retail industry this past year, but the main theme in Visalia has been new opportunities and continued growth. This year, the Macy’s inside the Visalia Mall transformed its second story into a Macy’s Backstage. The first Backstage in the Central Valley, the outlet concept has been embraced by shoppers. The former Baja Fresh in the Kohl’s shopping center is now occupied by a new poke brand, LemonShark Poke. At the corner of Walnut Avenue and Mooney, the new Orosco Group development has been constructed, while Smileland Dental was built at 1703 S. Mooney Blvd. north of Walnut.

HISTORIC DOWNTOWN: Similar to Mooney Boulevard, new doors have opened downtown. For instance, in the former Char-Cu-Te-Rie location, Sol Bowl has found a home, and soon Casa Grande will take over the former Las Palmas restaurant location. The space at 117 E. Main St. will soon be home to new tenants, as previous tenant Midtown Sports moved to the east at 917 E. Main. The Caskey Building, the mixed-use development at 720 E. Center St., now includes a cryogenic therapy spa and Elite Team Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, in addition to the office space and Planing Mill restaurant. In the former Planing Mill location, Component Coffee Lab is busy serving up fresh donuts and delicious coffee creations. Perhaps the most noticeable project downtown, the old county courthouse on Court Street, is on its way to becoming The Darling, a boutique hotel that will preserve the building’s 1930s’ era art deco architectural style and feature luxurious rooms, a rooftop lounge, courtyard, pool and other amenities. Just up the street, Tacos Lucha and Ramona’s BBQ are the latest additions to the delicious food scene offered around Lincoln Oval Park. The area boasts a variety of tasty treats and now includes mouth-watering barbecue and late night gourmet street tacos and ramen!

INDUSTRIAL PARK: There has been considerable interest in the Industrial Park, mainly because of the upcoming UPS expansion at Plaza Drive and Riggin Avenue, and the continued need for industries to be centrally located to quickly serve the California and western U.S. markets. Along those lines, Golden State Overnight (GSO) completed its 63,000-square-foot hub project. The Visalia hub is its largest location and roughly 75 percent of GSO packages come through Visalia. Diversified Development Group (DDG) completed its 402,000 square feet of speculative warehousing space and has filled it already. It will soon submit plans for its next 689,000 square feet across Riggin from the future UPS location. There has also been considerable activity in smaller (5,000- to 20,000-square-foot) building construction throughout the park.

Next to the Industrial Park, the Business Research Park area is also seeing activity with the Residence Inn nearing completion and the new location of Brandman University under construction. Additionally, a new Arco AM/PM was constructed, and several restaurants and another hotel are working through the entitlement process. A Hilton Home2 Suites will soon be a part of The Square, a master-planned development just north of Highway 198, west of Plaza Drive. Sunrise Laboratories is moving to 8020 W. Doe Ave. and will generate approximately 70 new jobs, while RePlanet Packaging, the manufacturing arm of the statewide plastics recycler, has added a new 100,000-square-foot warehouse addition to its existing facility at 6941 W. Goshen Ave. Moose Dog Brewing is looking to expand at 9626 W. Nicholas Ave., adding more production and potential tap room space.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS: Mineral King Plaza at Chinowth Street and Noble Avenue is experiencing new life with a Fit Republic gym, the Quantum Leap trampoline park, a brand-new 5 Star Pizza, Threads of Love boutique, family-friendly Visalia City Billiards, Rave Dance Complex and the popular Salad Shop. With these new additions joining Roller Towne, Chuck E. Cheese and other existing tenants, the Plaza is quite active.

In November, we celebrated the city’s Water Reclamation Facility grand opening. Located at 7579 Ave. 288, the facility celebrates completion of the upgrade project, undertaken to provide for the city’s wastewater treatment needs and help mitigate the groundwater overdraft condition within the city. The facility is the largest public works project in the city to date and allows for a water exchange agreement with Tulare Irrigation District.

Next month, we’ll share some of the proposed 2019 developments in Visalia that will make it another banner year.