A Moreno Valley, Calif., developer is moving forward with plans to build what it says will be a $25-billion Inland Empire freight hub east of Los Angeles, recently selecting Stantec to lead design and engineering for the 40.6-million-sq-ft warehouse space over 4 sq miles. Construction is slated to start this year. Highland Fairview plans to add 6 million sq ft per year until the build-out in 2030. 

Stantec is working on “future-ready and highly sustainable infrastructure” for the project, a spokesperson says. The plan for sustainability has “not yet been tackled on this scale in the U.S,” Brianna Daniels, principal-in-charge at Stantec, said in a statement.

Developer Highland Fairview says it has approval for buildings up to 80 ft tall at the World Logistics Center, a build-to-suit complex of 27 sites. Stantec leads a team that also includes Michael Baker International handling a highway interchange for access to the site, ENGEO providing geotechnical engineering and Dudek addressing environmental permitting.

In 2021, the developer reached a deal with several environmental groups that had opposed the project, agreeing to install the maximum amount allowed of onsite rooftop solar generation, provide electric vehicle chargers and achieve LEED-Silver certification for the core and shell of all the warehouse buildings, among other sustainable features. The developer is aiming for the center to be a carbon neutral facility. 

Sustainability plans also include water conservation, with an anticipated 70% reduction in water use compared to the city’s general plan—saving 653 million gallons of water every year. Stormwater on the site would be treated before it is discharged, maintaining historic drainage patterns to protect downstream environments. 

The site is located about 75 miles east of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on California State Route 60. Caltrans and the Riverside County Transportation Commission completed a $113-million highway widening project on Route 60 last year, adding truck lanes east of Moreno Valley heading toward Interstate 10. The developer says 11 western states and about 80 million people can be reached within a day’s drive from the site. 

The project is not the only one planned for the area to help move freight from the two ports. Last fall, BNSF Railway announced it intends to build a $1.5-billion intermodal freight facility in Barstow, about 130 miles east.