RIVERSIDE, CA (July 7, 2010)—The master developer of the Meridian business park on former March Air Force Base land is one step closer to having land use zones changed that would allow Sysco to build a 45-acre food distribution center there.
LNR Property Corp., the business park's master developer, has sought specific plan amendments that would allow more industrial uses—manufacturing and distribution—rather than office-oriented developments.
The planning commission of the March Joint Powers Authority, the governing body overseeing redevelopment of the former Air Force property, unanimously recommended the specific plan amendments, including an environmental review, be approved by the full commission on July 14.
Members of the planning commission and the full JPA commission are the same elected officials representing Riverside County, Riverside, Moreno Valley and Perris.
John Schaefer, project manager with LNR, said the shift to industrial was in response to market conditions.
Meridian is a 1,290-acre business park west of Interstate 215. The business park has become home to other food-related firms, including Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market hub and McLane Food Service.
So far the development has created 1,988 jobs, with Tesco accounting for about 1,000 of them, Schaefer said. The jobs amount to $73 million in annual wages.
The specific plan amendment would also entitle land to be developed where the Arnold Heights School was demolished.
Sysco plans to build a more than 515,000 square-foot distribution center, with some offices.
Planning commissioners representing Riverside County and the city of Riverside raised concerns about truck traffic coming out of Meridian and onto Van Buren Boulevard.
Dave Reichel, director of real estate and construction at Sysco, said the area shouldn't see any more truck traffic because of his company, since the food distributor has already been driving into and out of the Inland region with products from its other Southern California facilities in Walnut, Poway and Ventura.