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Inland Empire Becoming More Like Real Place

The I.E. will not stand to be the red-haired stepchild any longer! Apparently the Inland Empire is evolving from ticky tacky sprawl to expensive ticky tacky sprawl with the characteristics of real cities. As more people flee L.A. and the OC so that they can have a longer commute and live in a mcmansion, the I.E. is finally growing some character.

Increasingly, Western Riverside and San Bernardino counties are featuring the type of upscale houses, stores and entertainment long found in Los Angeles and other coastal enclaves. White-collar professionals such as [a local woman] are finding attractive jobs there, no longer commuting westward. Tall office buildings are sprouting, along with more $1-million-plus homes. For instance, the median home price is $780,000 in Chino Hills, a prosperous bedroom community on the western edge of San Bernardino County. The median income of the city's 75,000 residents surpasses that of Beverly Hills.

Huh? How did this happen? Not that Beverly Hills is utopia, but anyone who is willing to pay that much to live in the I.E. is f’ing nuts. Somehow, we’re pretty certain that Hugh Hefner and Aaron Spelling won’t be relocating to Riverside County any time soon. While the I.E. may have a plethora of “upscale” chain restaurants and retail, it doesn’t have the same cache as L.A. for some reason. To be sure, the Inland Empire is far from boasting the glitz of its coastal neighbors. Orange County, which decades ago was also known for expansive agricultural fields, is much farther along the glamour curve. Don't look for a television show called "The IE" anytime soon. While we (well, one of us) may be looking for new digs, we won’t be looking at the apartment listings for Rancho Cucamonga despite the new “lifestyle centers.”
· Inland Empire: Where the L.A. Dream Landed [LA Times]