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Hundreds of jobs coming to Kern County as Tejon Ranch looks to lease huge facility

The new Tejon Ranch storage and shipping facility is nearly 500,000 square feet,  boasting dual side loading docks near Interstate 5 in southern Kern County, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Tejon Ranch Co. built a legacy on ranching, farming and mineral resources.

Now, as the company looks to the future, focus is shifting away from agriculture and towards real estate development.

"It's clear the focus and the future of the company and what will really drive shareholder interest is our real estate development operations," said Barry Zoeller, Tejon Ranch's vice president of corporate communications and investor relations.

The company owns more than 400 square miles of undeveloped land in California. It's the largest private plot of land in the state.

In 2008, Tejon Ranch struck a deal with an environmental cooperative in which it agreed not to develop most of the land, limiting development to 30,000 acres along the Interstate 5 corridor.

With the majority of the land remaining undeveloped, Tejon Ranch's agricultural and mineral ventures will continue to operate as normal.

Zoeller said the company is essentially using the cash flow from the rural portions of the company to fund the real estate development projects. These projects include The Outlets at Tejon, three housing developments and a massive storage and shipping facility.

That facility is nearly 500,000 square feet and is near completion.

"By the end of September, ready for a tenant to move in," Zoeller said. "We're in lease negotiations with that tenant. I'm not at liberty to say who that is just yet."

Whoever the prospective tenant is, they are expected to bring a lot of jobs to Kern County.

"It's going to be at least in the several hundred range, if not more than that," Zoeller said.

With those jobs added to the outlets and other businesses in the immediate area on Tejon land, more than 4,000 people will be employed as a result of Tejon Ranch land developments.

More growth, development, building, commerce, and jobs in that area is something we should become accustomed to, Zoeller said.

"That's what we're in the business of doing," he said. "We're in the business of converting this acreage into economic benefit."

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