Carlsbad’s economy is on the upswing

Carlsbad’s economy is on the upswing
Westfield Carlsbad is among the projects infusing the local economy. The $300 million renovation is expected to be finished early next year. Photo by Ellen Wright

CARLSBAD — The U.S. is slowly bouncing back from the crippling economic effects of the Great Recession and Carlsbad is no different.

According to Christina Vincent, Economic Development Manager for the city, Carlsbad’s core industries grew during 2014.

The high tech cluster in the city grew 37 percent and saw the addition of nearly 50 new companies. Life science companies added more than 400 new employees, Vincent said.

The amount of information and communication technology firms dipped but the industry still grew 3.9 percent with the addition of 355 employees.

Information and technology firms in Carlsbad include software and video game design, electronic device development, manufacturing and robotics.

In 2013, Google named Carlsbad the digital capital of California with the strongest online business community.

Clean technology in Carlsbad also lost a few firms but still grew the workforce nearly 8 percent, said Vincent. Almost 390 new positions were filled last year.

According to sales tax revenues, people are buying more compared to last year.

“Year-end data were not available, but sales tax revenue showed an increase of 3 percent during the first four months of the new fiscal year, compared with the same period in 2013,” said Vincent.

Tourism seems to be up as well. The transient occupancy tax revenue has increased 11 percent, compared to last year and the average hotel occupancy rate was at 67 percent, which is up 4 percent over last year, according to Vincent.

Along with tourists, developers are also infusing money into the local economy.

“Developers continue to show faith in Carlsbad’s future, with more than $2.7 billion in private development projects either under construction or in the planning stage,” Vincent said.

Shopping destinations in Carlsbad are being upgraded or added.

The Westfield Carlsbad renovation cost $300 million and is transforming the mall into an open-air destination.

The mall was built in 1969 and hasn’t been upgraded since its expansion about 10 years ago.

Construction is expected to be complete by early 2016.

A new luxury movie theater, Regal Carlsbad 12, recently opened on the site.

Another recent shopping development was the soft opening of the $75 million La Costa Town Square on the corner of Rancho Santa Fe Road and La Costa Avenue.

The square houses over 267,400 square feet of retail space, according to Vincent.

The center is scheduled to open completely this spring.

A final project that is greatly boosting the local economy is the Carlsbad Desalination Project, which is expected to convert 50 million gallons of seawater into drinking water daily when it comes online later this year.

The project cost $1 billion and when it’s complete, will be the largest desalination plant in the western hemisphere.

 

Update: The past caption read the Carlsbad Westfield expansion will cost $30 million. It will cost $300 million, as stated in the article copy.

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