Nordstrom pushes warehouse deal to spring

The City of Visalia will have to wait until swimwear season to find out which city Nordstrom will dive into for the next 20-50 years.

Last month, city officials said Nordstrom may not make a decision until May on whether they will locate their new West Coast fulfillment center in Fresno, Visalia and a third option in Nevada.

The news isn’t that surprising considering the City Council just had its second reading of an amendment to zoning laws that will help fast-track the project for Nordstrom to build the warehouse/distribution center in the city’s industrial park.

At its Jan. 19 meeting, the City Council unanimously voted to remove Line No. 463 from its 1991 General Plan Land Use Policy 3.7.10 prohibiting major industries from initially employing more than 750 employees. The policy states the reason for the threshold is to “ensure the efficient physical, economic and cultural assimilation of major industries and employees into the community” and additionally required a conditional use permit for the business. The City Council approved the second reading of that amendment at its Feb. 1 meeting, meaning it will take effect at the end of this month.

Paul Bernal, principal planner with the City of Visalia, said removal of the line of policy will allow the city to “fast track” projects for employers bringing more than 750 jobs in their initial operations. The Visalia Planning Commission recommended the action following a Jan. 11 public hearing.

While not mentioned specifically, the removal of the line of law clears a hurdle for Nordstrom to locate a West Coast fulfillment center in the City’s industrial park. In December, the City Council approved a Jobs Incentive Agreement for the upscale retail giant that would bring 1,800 jobs and $3.8 billion in economic development to Visalia and Tulare County as a whole.

Visalia’s offer matched the offer made by the City of Fresno, which is also still in the running for the center. The deal essentially came down to Visalia, Fresno and a Nevada-based property.

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