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Southwest California offers best of all worlds

Discover Southwest California. Here you will find a community that is connected with its residents, its business community, its roots and the technology of tomorrow.

Covering 597 square miles and framed by the Santa Ana Mountains to the west, Highway 74 on the north, the Menifee Valley to the east and San Diego County to the south, Southwest California is the engine driving one of the fastest growing and most dynamic regions in the United States.

Southwest California straddles Interstate 15 about halfway between San Diego and Ontario, Calif. Drive 60 minutes to the north and you'll be in the heart of the Inland Empire, which was named the top U.S. region in which to do business by Inc. magazine in 2005. The area beat out Phoenix, Las Vegas, Jacksonville and even San Diego in the categories of job, real estate and business growth to capture the top honor.

As the Wall Street Journal put it in a recent article, "With easy money and no shortage of sites, developers are scrambling to build offices, warehouses, apartments and shopping centers."

Helping to fuel this unprecedented growth, Southwest California offers the best of all worlds.

Developers in the first quarter of 2005 were barely able to keep up with demand for industrial space in Southwest California. Although more than 300,000 square feet of industrial space was under construction, Grubb & Ellis|BRE Commercial reported the vacancy rate in the region was 2.3 percent, among the lowest in the state.

Southwest California's formula for success has as much to do with a ready supply of developable land, as it does with a business-friendly approach, a great labor pool and superb quality of life that has pushed its population to more than 335,000. Over the next five years, the area's population is expected to surpass 420,000, according to Claritas, a market research firm.

As the population grows, so will the number of firms locating in Southwest California. Many choose the area for expansion because it makes more economic sense than Southern California's coastal communities. Others want to be close to San Diego's Biotech Beach, one of the nation's leading biotech and medical research clusters.

For out-of-state vendors looking to better serve the more than 200 biotech companies in San Diego, Southwest California is as good a place as any to be.

Newcomers are still attracted to the area by lower home prices and a quality of life that connects them with great recreational opportunities, nearby entertainment, a low crime rate and a premier winemaking region of Southern California.

Families looking for value can still buy a new or existing home for hundreds of thousands of dollars less than what it costs in neighboring San Diego and Orange counties.

Although Southwest California still offers affordable housing, its residents and businesses can connect to state-of-the-art communications technology that can only be found in a few other places.

By this time next year, Southwest California will be among the first regions in the United States to be wired with a high-speed, state-of-the-art fiber optic network that has Internet connection speeds up to 20 times faster than DSL.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is in the process of installing fiber-optic cable that will give every home and business in the region access to high-speed Internet connections and faster downloads. When the installation is completed sometime in 2006, Southwest California - Temecula, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore and portions of Riverside County -- will be one of the first "smart" communities in the nation equipped with Verizon's high-speed fiber-optic network.

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