In case you haven’t noticed, a second Inland Empire is starting to take root to the north of Los Angeles.

It’s the Grapevine area on the north side of the Tejon Pass. And while it is tiny compared to the vast tracts of warehouses that spread across the inland areas, well, big things usually start small.

The Tejon Ranch Co. owns the mammoth Tejon Ranch that includes much of the area near the settlement of Grapevine, and a couple of months ago it announced that for the second time in six months, a company is relocating its distribution center from Los Angeles to the Grapevine area. The unidentified company will take 390,000 square feet of an even bigger building now under construction. If you’re wondering, that’s more square footage than the Sherman Oaks Galleria retail mall.

That building is next to a 480,000 square foot building built two years ago and leased to Dollar General Corp. and L’Oreal USA. Also having immense distribution centers in the area: Caterpillar, Ikea and Famous Footwear.

“We hope this is a foreshadowing of a trend that will hit a tipping point and will continue,” said Jim Rentfro of Tejon Ranch Co., referring to L’Oreal’s relocation from Valencia, according to an article by reporter Mark Madler in the San Fernando Valley Business Journal a couple of months ago.

So, why is the Grapevine area attractive for warehouse and distribution facilities? For one thing, the area is just beyond Los Angeles County. Kern County is much more business friendly.

Builders there can go from concept to a ribbon cutting ceremony before their counterparts in Los Angeles could get permits approved. And much of the area is in a Foreign Trade Zone, which provides benefits for companies involved in international trade.

What’s more, costs there tend to be lower than in the built-out and congested Inland Empire east of Los Angeles.

Wouldn’t distance be a detriment? Perhaps a bit, but the Grapevine area is not that much further from the port complex. A car trip from the Port of Los Angeles to Moreno Valley in the Inland Empire would take about an hour and 45 minutes, according to my traffic app one afternoon last week. A trip to the Grapevine area would be only about 20 minutes longer. And Grapevine’s less than an hour from the heart of the San Fernando Valley.

Anyway, the Tejon Ranch Co. has developed 5 million square feet in warehouse and industrial space and has plans for 14 million more. That’s a pittance compared to the Inland Empire, the nation’s warehouse and distribution capital. Still, close to 20 million square feet would make it a respectable little brother to the Inland Empire. And there’s plenty more raw ground for the future.

A nascent warehouse community to the north will mean more trucks on the 405 Freeway through the San Fernando Valley, but the business opportunities for the whole Valley area will be big.

Like I said: Just in case you hadn’t noticed.