Wednesday's groundbreaking for the area's fourth Farmer Boys may symbolize more than just the beginnings for a new restaurant. It's the second such event in a matter of months for Hesperia's High Desert Gateway Center, one of the hottest commercial spots in the Victor Valley.


"The retailers are talking to the developers in the High Desert again," said Rod Yahnke, management analyst for Hesperia's Economic Development Department. "Things are starting to pick up."


Yahnke, who attended a recent International Council of Shopping Centers event, noticed an increase buzz regarding Hesperia's commercial locations, which includes the city's freeway corridor. "This year, it was very active."


The new 3,200-square-foot Farmer's Boys location, which is scheduled to open in September, will employ 30 to 35 people, according to Vimal Bhanvadia, owner of the restaurants. The chain specializes in American-style food made fresh to order and featuring salads, sandwiches and hamburgers. "We're famous for our fish and fries."


Like his other two locations, Bhanvadia plans on using the restaurant for public events. One of his nearby restaurants hosts one of the largest car shows in the valley with more than 100 vehicles weekly.


"We plan to do the same thing here," he said. "We really believe in ingratiating ourselves to the community."


According to Mayor Thurston "Smitty" Smith, the new Farmer Boys will be the chain's 68th, and it represents a $2.4 million investment in Hesperia. The owner expects $1.3 in annual sales, which means about $13,000 in annual tax revenue for the city, he added.


Bhanvadia and his partners utilized the city's Restaurant Rewards program, which provides an inducement for developers of restaurant projects meeting certain criteria. Previously, Wood Grill and Golden Corral, which broke ground in April, participated in the program.


Anchored by a Super Target, the High Desert Gateway Center is just off the I-15 Freeway at Main Street, which gives tenants access to the estimated 212,000 cars driving north and south. The center is developed by Lewis Retail Centers, one of the biggest builders of retail locations on the West Coast.


The current first phase of the center consists of 372,000 square feet. The second phase will consist of 230,000 square feet of retail and commercial businesses, according to Yahnke.


"You can't ask for a better center as far as location visibility and access," Yahnke said. "You just can't beat this right now."