LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today credited his efforts to streamline the city’s development permitting process with Farmers Insurance deciding to move one of its offices and 1,200 jobs to Los Angeles from Simi Valley.
“The opening of Farmers’ new facility demonstrates our ongoing commitment to creating and retaining hundreds of good paying jobs in Los Angeles,” Villaraigosa said. “We are steadily improving the business climate in Los Angeles through development reform that helps businesses create jobs and complete projects more quickly.”
Farmers signed a 10-year lease on an eight-story building in Woodland Hills. Villaraigosa and Councilman Dennis Zine toured the offices in celebrating the move today.
In February, the insurance company announced a $700 million naming rights deal with Anschutz Entertainment Group, which has plans before the city to build an NFL stadium next to the convention center downtown. Pending city approval, the 72,000-seat stadium would be called Farmers Field.
In July, Villaraigosa opened an city office aimed at streamlining the development permitting process, which is handled by at least five different city departments. In the new Development Services Case Management Office, case managers shepherd developers through entitlement, permitting, public improvement processes and the design of water and power infrastructure. They also are charged with settling any disputes that arise in the permit application process.
Developers had long complained the process of going to different departments is cumbersome, time consuming and sometimes results in conflicting recommendations.
Villaraigosa said the office was instrumental in helping Farmers get a permit for a new parking garage, enabling the company to move the new office to Los Angeles.
The Development Services Case Management Office is part of an effort by the mayor to make Los Angeles more attractive to businesses, including a 3-year business tax holiday for companies new to the city and a preference for local companies bidding on city contracts.
Villaraigosa also signed an executive directive Monday to further improve the development review process through technology, updated codes and enhanced coordination between departments, according to the mayor’s office.
Farmers’ new location in a state enterprise zone enables the company to benefit from tax credits and discounts on water and power from city’s public utility.
Farmers said about 900 people in corporate, technology and claims handling positions are already in the new offices. More are expected to move in over the next year, according to Farmers.