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Business momentum continues to build in Chula Vista

With a diverse population of 214,000, Chula Vista is the seventh fastest growing city in the nation and the 14th largest city in California. While other cities languish in the face of statewide economic and financial challenges, Chula Vista is managing to flourish.

New commercial and residential development in the eastern part of the city continues. Plans to transform the city's waterfront into a vibrant spot for people to work, live and play are moving ahead, and opportunities for new and established businesses in the city's urban core are emerging as extensive redevelopment efforts get under way. Already, downtown is beginning to reap the rewards of some early redevelopment projects.

According to Jack Blakely, executive director of the Chula Vista Downtown Business Association, Gateway Chula Vista - the first part of a three-phase mixed-use retail and office project from developer Mountain West Real Estate - is bringing more people to the area. As a result, Blakely believes restaurants and other businesses in the neighborhood are seeing an increase in their revenue streams.

Another large and innovative project currently in the planning phase is the University Park and Research Center. The project will be developed on 1,500 acres in Otay Ranch and represents an important milestone for many in the community who have been working to bring a four-year university to South County. Public and private universities, as well as prestigious research institutes and related businesses, will share the campus in a unique collaborative partnership. The campus will also be home to a 150- acre business park.

"The scale and opportunity of this project is huge," said Denny Stone, director of economic development for the city of Chula Vista. "Ultimately, the university will accommodate 15,000 students. It will have a major economic impact on the city and the entire region."

Last spring, the city scored a significant victory when it collaborated with its largest private employer, Goodrich (NYSE: GR), to secure a $4 billion contract to build engine parts for Boeing's new 7E7 jetliner. Located in the city for 60 years, the Chula Vista Goodrich Aerostructures Group has about 2,000 employees and is Goodrich's most profitable division. Landing the contract will enable the Chula Vista facility to continue to provide local jobs for many years.

In addition to Goodrich, other large companies, including those in the high-tech and biotech industries, are opening in Chula Vista. The U.S. headquarters of Profil Institute for Clinical Research, a German biotech company that conducts diabetes clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies, is located in the Centre Medical Plaza on Third Avenue. Raytheon, an international defense and aerospace systems supplier, also has a facility in Chula Vista. And east of the 805, renowned companies such as Hitachi Home Electronics, Leviton and DNP have settled in the EastLake Business Center.

Excellent schools, a business-friendly local government and a growing skilled labor force are among the key attractions for large companies moving to the area. Many also benefit from Chula Vista's proximity to Mexico for manufacturing and distribution purposes. Being close to the Mexican border is economically advantageous for Chula Vista for another reason too - the city is a prime shopping destination for many Mexican residents who make a substantial contribution to the economy.

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