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Sysco Agrees to Buy, Build at Meridian Park

CALIFORNIA (November 4, 2010)—Sysco Corp. will officially move into the Meridian business park near March Air Reserve Base now that a deal to buy 45 acres from LNR Corp., the land's master developer, has been finalized.

Sysco is a well-known food distributor with $36.9 billion in annual revenue and locations in San Diego, Los Angeles and Ventura. The company plans to build a 515,000 square-foot building at the business park near Riverside on former March Air Force Base property. The March Joint Powers Authority has overseen redevelopment of the base since it was downgraded in 1996.

The company is expected to create 250 jobs initially. Including that estimate, the business park has created 1,988 jobs since 2004, according to LNR.

John Schaefer, project manager with LNR, told members of the March Joint Powers Commission at its Wednesday meeting that the sale will allow his company to build once again at the 1,290-acre business park. Construction had largely stopped for the past two years with little sales activity.

Schaefer said his company should soon start the grading process on 100 acres and planned to extend a few of the development's streets including Meridian Parkway and Opportunity Way. By March 2011, he expected all of the underground utilities to be installed. Roads would be paved by May and landscaping would be planted by June, he said.

Schaefer said he didn't know when Sysco might break ground on its Inland distribution center but expected the company would do so early next year.

Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster, a member of the March Joint Powers Commission, described Meridian's update during the meeting as "important psychologically" to the area, which has been hard hit by the recession.

The commission's chairman and Moreno Valley Councilman Richard Stewart agreed.

"Nothing's happening everywhere and you have something happening," Stewart said of LNR.

Meridian is already home to grocer Fresh & Easy's distribution hub and McLane Food Services.

Schaefer said he's fielded interest from other companies wanting to move in near Sysco.

"There are guys that want to feed off that," he said at the meeting.

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