The FORA Economic Development program builds on the extensive environmental cleanup, remediation, habitat conservation and infrastructure improvements accomplished through many years of FORA Board leadership, staff dedication, and community engagement. The current Economic Development program follows strategic principles aimed at maximizing impact and leveraging regional partnerships:

  • Build on Regional Strengths
  • Engage Regional Stakeholders & Partners
  • Develop & Maintain Information Resources
  • Pursue New Business Opportunities
  • Measure & Report Progress

These principles guide a variety of projects the staff undertake with the ultimate goal of enhancing the Monterey Bay regional recovery from Fort Ord base closure. This page summarizes and provides links to more detailed information about major staff activity centers. Feel free to explore these resources and contact Josh Metz directly with any questions, comments or concerns.

UC Monterey Bay Education Science & Technology (UCMBEST) Center

UCMBEST is a regional economic development opportunity on former Fort Ord lands now owned by UC Santa Cruz, within the jurisdictional boundaries of the City of Marina and the County of Monterey. The UCMBEST vision is focused on developing collaborative research-business opportunities for the Monterey Bay region. The central component of this vision is the development of a new research and technology center, as well as other job-generating uses, on approximately 400 acres of land acquired by the University of California on the former Fort Ord. UC Santa Cruz owns another approximately 600 acres managed by the UC Natural Reserve System as open space habitat known as the Fort Ord Natural Reserve. FORA and UCMBEST staff are actively engaged with a focus on catalyzing current action and realizing the UCMBEST vision.

Unmanned Aerial Systems Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP)

The Monterey Bay region hosts a unique combination of physical airport facilities; available research & development/light industrial business parks; ideal year-around climate and geography (proximity to Silicon Valley, the Salinas Valley and the Monterey Bay); rich educational ecosystem and talented workforce; motivated entrepreneurial sector; and well-established regional government, public-private economic partnerships, industry, and academic coalitions; which makes the Marina Municipal Airport an ideal location to host an FAA approved UAS Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP). Gaining this designation would catalyze enhanced use of the Marina Airport and help realize the UCMBEST vision.

Startup Monterey Bay

A strong regional entrepreneurship ecosystem provides a foundation for the creation growth and establishment of locally grown businesses. Over the mid-to-long term creation of new local businesses is a widely supported strategy to strengthening the Monterey Bay regional economy. Following Board direction, FORA staff is closely engaged with partners at the CSUMB Institute for Innovation and Economic Development (IIED) in refining and strengthening Startup Monterey Bay as a entrepreneurship catalyst.

Monterey Bay Ecotourism Region (MBETR)

The Monterey Bay Ecotourism Region (MBETR) Initiative aims to further establish the tri-county region as the leading ecotourism, eco-recreation and wellness destination in the United States. Lead by the CSUMB Sustainable Hospitality Program, this multi-partner initiative has increased connections with global eco-tourism destinations, and convened the Monterey Bay Sustainable Hospitality Summit to advance integration, awareness, and development of sustainable hospitality practices.

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP)

The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership was founded in 2015 to create a thriving region with quality jobs, excellent education and health care, and a high quality of life for all residents while preserving the natural beauty and healthy lifestyle we all share. MBEP’s strategy is to create and implement initiatives aligned with this vision. Our current initiatives include: Transportation, Housing, Workforce, Technology and Events. FORA Economic Development staff represents FORA at MBEP regional events and are participants with each of the key MBEP strategic initiatives.

Central Coast Marketing Team (CCMT)

The Central Coast Marketing Team is comprised of leading business friendly communities along California’s beautiful Central Coast. Its members, partner jurisdictions, businesses and ngo’s focus on finding the best fit for new and relocating businesses. Whether you are an established company looking for a new home or expansion site, or a lean startup looking for business growth opportunities in the Central Coast, you have come to the right location. We hope the resources provided here empower your site location search and contact with our members brings you home.

Agtech Ecosystem

The Salinas Valley is home to a $9 billion dollar agriculture industry with a focus in fresh produce, strawberry’s, wine grapes, and more recently, cannabis. With such a rich agricultural heritage and close proximity to the Silicon Valley, The Salinas Valley, including the former Fort Ord property, is a natural home for the growth of agtech industries. The City of Salinas, along with its industry, educational and institutional partners continues to lead a strategic effort to realize this potential. FORA Economic Development efforts are aligned with this regional strategy through advocacy, engagement, and offering business site locations.

Annual Jobs Survey

Since 2015, the FORA Economic Development team has undertaken an annual jobs survey on behalf of FORA’s member jurisdictions. The 1997 Base Reuse Plan (BRP) requires annual jobs reporting from member jurisdictions to be included in the FORA Annual Report. The current effort aims to produce a standardized data set useful for tracking progress towards BRP reuse and recovery goals.

Quarterly Reporting

Since its inception, one of the key strategic principles of the FORA Economic Development Program remains regular measuring and reporting economic recovery progress. To this end, staff compiles available data and seeks to improve data quality to empower FORA leadership with quality decision support assets. Key indicators to date include: Housing Starts and Jobs Numbers. All staff presentations are available on this website for public review and consumption. Please direct any data questions, comments or concerns to Josh Metz.

Quality Urban Design

It is widely recognized that foundations of great places are laid in urban form and design. FORA Economic Development staff played key roles in guiding a community engaged process for the development and completion of new Regional Urban Design Guidelines (RUDG), which were unanimously approved by the FORA Board in June 2016. With an emphasis on walkable, mixed-use nieghborhoods, complete streets, properly oriented buildings, active transportation and other New Urbanist principles, these guidelines are now a resource for developers and communities seeking to realize the Fort Ord reuse vision.

Active Transportation & Trails

Active transportation concepts and regional trails networks are key components of the 1997 Base Reuse Plan and enjoy continued strong community support. FORA Economic Development staff played key roles in community engagement on regional trails planning and working with community advocates to advance a refined Fort Ord regional trail concept. This concept received Board support in March 2016, and with further work by trails advocates and agency partners was included as part of the voter approved Measure X in November 2016. Planning work is underway lead by the Transportation Agency of Monterey County (TAMC) to design and build the first segments of the Fort Ord Rec Trail & Greenway (FORTAG). Completion of this trail will provide an exciting new recreation and transportation to the region for residents, visitors, students, and businesses, and will contribute to continued economic recovery and realizing the Fort Ord reuse vision.