Despite the economic recession, business is growing in Union City, officials say.
According to an Economic and Community Development Department report, Union City has received 196 new business license requests since the start of the year, averaging to about 32 new businesses each month.
Of those, 48 are general contractor and sub-contractor businesses, a majority of which conduct business in Union City but are based out of town, said Economic Development Coordinator Christine Friday during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
In addition, 55 of the licenses were for “professional services” businesses, half of which are home-based, according to a staff report. Home businesses make up for 36 percent of total businesses in Union City, the report said.
But among the many new businesses to come to Union City are several that could invigorate the local economy.
According to the Economic Development report, the four businesses with the most potential to bring in revenues and jobs are:
- Rich Foods (Rich Products Corporation): Previously based in South San Francisco, Rich Foods moved in late 2011 to an 185,000-square-foot building at 1600 Whipple Rd. The company, which makes and distributes doughnuts, is expected to bring 200 jobs to Union City. The overall investment into the Union City facility is $11 million.
- Fresh Point: Owned by foodservice distributor SYSCO, Fresh Point began making improvements to a 140,000-square-foot facility at 30340 Whipple Rd. in April, with an investment of about $308,000. The company is expected to bring a base of 190 employees to Union City.
- Gexpro: Electrical supplies distributor Gexpro came to Union City in mid- 2011 and quickly popped on city staff’s radar through sales tax reports. The company moved its point of sales and front office operations to Union City’s Dowe Business Park from Hayward. Gexpro has been a part of the General Electric Company since 1904 and offers more than 250,000 products from more than 200 manufacturers worldwide. Though Gexpro employs a staff of 30, it’s currently among the top 25 sales tax generators in Union City.
- Hampton Hotel: In planning for several years and still in preliminary discussions, Lotus Hotels, LLC, the property owner of , has resubmitted a project to build a Hampton Inn extended stay hotel adjacent to its existing hotel property. The new proposal would see that the hotel have 90 rooms, along with a number of amenities, including a pool and conference room. The project will be reviewed by the Planning Commission within the coming months and is expected to bring about 50 new jobs to Union City.
Five companies are also expanding in Union City, according to the Economic Development report:
- : Headquartered in Union City for 15 years, Global Contract Manufacturing’s main facility is located at 1350 Atlantic St. in a 150,000-square-foot manufacturing services facility. The company — which provides manufacturing services for aerospace, automotive, biotechnology and a number of other industries — expanded by purchasing a 60,000-square-foot building at 33233 Central Ave. This new facility will add an additional 30 jobs to its workforce, bringing their total employment to 160.
- : The largest private employer in Union City, Southern Wine & Spirits is planning to build a new 400,000-square-foot distribution center on Atlantic Avenue. It will replace its current facility on Dowe Avenue, which encompasses 1 million-square-feet. The move will free up 900,000-square-feet of space for new businesses. The company employs 1,100 people with 750 employees on-site daily.
- : Starting this month, medical diagnostics company Abaxis added 14,000-square-feet of distribution space adjacent to its 30,000-square-foot building on Whipple Road in the Crossroads Technology Park. The growing company employs 360 individuals.
- Synterys: Medicinal chemistry company Synterys, which had its capacity grow by 60 percent in the last two years, is currently trying to acquire a business to become a part of Synterys. Synterys currently employs five people and shares a space with Ryss Lab on Kohouteck Way. The company is in talks with a Bay Area university about relocating their research and development lab to Union City.
- Tri-Ced is adding a 3,000-square-foot employee training facility and a 1,000-square-foot office space to its existing space. The project will be reviewed by the Planning Commission in the coming months.
PROPERTY ACQUISITIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS
Among the significant business activity in Union City are several improvements to existing shopping centers and business parks, including renovations at Central Plaza, the business center anchored by on the corner of Central Avenue and Alvarado-Niles Road. And, yes, the Decoto Road Taco Bell will be renovated after closing due to a fire.
Here’s the roundup from the Economic Development report:
- Central Plaza: San Diego-based Westcore Properties bought Central Plaza for $13 million in April. The property, located on at the corner of Central Avenue and Alvarado-Niles Road, is a 170,086-square-foot mixed-use industrial business park. Westcore Properties plans to invest $2.5 million in building and landscaping improvements, which appear to already be underway.
- Union Square Marketplace: Economic Development staff and the Union City Police Department met with property owners and tenants in late 2011 to address the issues of crime, signage, lighting and general improvements. Since then, with plans to resurface the parking lot and improve lighting. As well, space.
- Taco Bell: City staff and property owners Dolan Foster Enterprises are working together to rebuild the Taco Bell on Decoto Road after it sustained significant damage in . The property owner is proposing to remodel the inside and outside of the building as well as improve landscaping. The project will be brought before the Planning Commission at a July 9 meeting and to City Council either on or before its Aug. 28 meeting. There are no plans to construct a drive-thru, according to Economic Development Coordinator Christine Friday.
- Pappas Investments’ Wedge Property: Pappas Investments is currently constructing a new 17,037-square-foot commercial space at Union Landing . The property manager is in talks with potential tenants, though no tenant yet been secured.
Top 25 Sales Tax Generators in Union City
Included in the Economic Development Department’s staff report was a list of 25 of Union City’s largest sales tax generators. Together, these account for more than 53 percent of the city’s overall sales tax revenues. Businesses were listed alphabetically due to confidentiality of business revenues, according to the report.
- Babies R Us
- Chevron Service Stations
- Food Maxx
- Home Depot
- Hughes Fire Protection
- Orthopedic Systems
- Shell Service Stations
- United States Pipe & Foundry
- Valero Service Stations
- Union 76 Service Station