Lowe Enterprises leads massive, $500-million project that will consolidate, upgrade existing facilities
“We’re looking for something that will be timeless,” says RJC Architects principal James Robbins of the $500-million San Diego County Operations Center, a massive development under way in the county’s Kearny Mesa district.
“The center’s existing buildings have been there for close to 50 years. We’re expecting these to be there at least as long.”
General contractor ROEL Construction of San Diego launched the first phase of the three-phase, 38-acre project in September 2008. Plans for the $188.5-million fi rst phase, expected to be completed in December 2010, call for two four-story, 150,000-sq-ft office buildings; a 500,000-sq-ft, 1,800-stall parking garage; and a 12,500-sq-ft central plant serving the entire campus.
Mike Berryhill, project director for ROEL, says county officials have to undergo a funding process at the completion of each phase of the project to determine the scope of the next phase.
But project master developer Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group-West in San Diego
anticipates the second phase to begin in January 2011 and for the entire development
to be built out 24 months later. The center will consolidate the county’s existing operations complexes from two sites to one. The second and third phases at the center will include four additional four-story, 150,000-sq-ft office buildings; a 20,000-sq-ft conference center and cafeteria; and an asyet-designed second parking structure for 4,500 cars. Robbins says the campus will be defined almost as much by open space as what’s built on the site.
“We’re trying to create efficient floor plates so that the net-to-gross ratio is good,”
he says. “Also, the ratio of exterior skin to enclosed area is such that they’re efficient in
terms of space planning and cost.”
Berryhill says the central plant is almost complete. The biggest challenge thus far, he adds, has been in keeping construction from interfering with the county’s various departments located next to the job site. “We’re building the new projects within an existing center,” he says. “So we have county employees still working onsite right next to construction. This means constantly adjusting site logistics to facilitate the employees.”