Fresno County is located in the heart of California’s great Central Valley, 160 miles southeast of the San Francisco Bay Area, 100 miles north of Bakersfield, and 215 miles north of Los Angeles. Fresno County is the sixth largest in size with an area of 6,017 square miles and tenth most populous with 930,450 (as of November 2011). Fresno County is the number one agricultural county in the nation. A full third of its area is planted in commercial crops of some kind.
The City of Fresno is the Fresno County Seat. It is the fifth largest city in California (509,039) and 34th largest in the United States. It is a family-friendly city. The California Home Affordability Index ranks Fresno at 70—meaning 70% of its residents earn an income that can support owning the median-priced home (4Q12). For first-time homebuyers, its 82%. Fresno offers an array of amenities:
Access to Recreation: It is within 1-1½ hours of four major national parks, Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Sierra National Forest. It is within 2½ hours of the Pacific Ocean and California’s Central Coast Beaches. Sports enthusiasts will be in heaven. Fresno offers eight private and seven public golf courses. It is close to snow skiing (China Peak) and sailing (Huntington Lake); it offers Division One NCAA sporting events (Cal State University Fresno Bulldogs), Triple A Baseball (Fresno Grizzlies, an affiliate of the World Champion San Francisco Giants), Junior A Tier II Ice Hockey (Fresno Monsters), and USL Premier Development League Soccer (Fresno Fuego). It also offers several youth sports leagues.
Transportation Infrastructure: Fresno offers air travel via an international airport (Fresno Yosemite International Airport—FAT), a general aviation airport (Fresno Chandler Executive Airport—FCH), and a private airport (Sierra Sky Park Airport). It offers rail passenger service via Amtrak and freight service via Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad—each of whom operate rail yards here—and San Joaquin Valley Railroad. Fresno will also be home to the first leg of California’s High Speed Rail project. For trucking, Fresno is connected north-south via State Highway Routes 99 (California’s “main street”) and 41 and east-west by State Highway Routes 168 and 180.
Business: Fresno offers a labor shed of 441,000 people; unemployment rate as of 16.0% as of January 2013. Its top employers are its healthcare complex, City/County/State/Federal government, Agriculture production/processing, and warehousing/distribution. Fresno has built an industrial base of 65 million square feet, an office base of 25 million square feet, and a retail base of 20 million square feet. In addition to feeding the world, it can deliver goods to the world. Fresno is within ½ day truck access to the ports of Oakland and Los Angeles. Goods can be delivered from Fresno overnight to all of California and within two days to 90% of the eleven western United States.
The “Fresno Region” feeds the world. Fresno County itself is the top-producing agricultural county in America. The Fresno Region includes Fresno County, Madera County to its north and Tulare and Kings Counties to its south. This Region is home to some 1.7 million people and is anchored by the Fresno/Clovis metroplex, where nearly one million people live, making it California’s fifth largest metro area. This Region is served by 16 institutions of higher education, crowned by California State University Fresno (23,000 enrollment). The U.S Navy operates NAS Lemoore, its newest and largest master jet air station. And the Region is home to the first segments of California’s High Speed Rail.
This Region has built an industrial base of 89 million square feet and can not only produce goods but deliver them overnight to all of California’s 35 million people and within two days to some 65 million people—90% of the population living in the western continental United States. This Region has also built an office base of 28.5 million square feet and a retail base of 33 million square feet.