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Fenton Technology Park construction under way

H.G. Fenton Co. is moving ahead on Fenton Technology Park, the nearly 131-acre office and industrial project located on the grounds of the company's former gravel-mining operation in Sorrento Mesa.

The project "will help meet near-term demand for buildable lots, build-to-suit and build-to-own facilities, as well as multitenant space," according to Kevin Hill, vice president of leasing, with H.G. Fenton Co.

Grading began for Phase I's three-building campus in July, with construction expected to complete in the second quarter of 2005. Phase I of the project will feature two freestanding, single-tenant structures, and one multitenant building totaling 42,570 square feet, according to company documents.

The project will eventually offer more than 1 million square feet of space for office and industrial use. Fenton Technology Park is located midway between Interstate 805 and Interstate 15, and between Mira Mesa Boulevard and Miramar Road. Planned since 1997, the project is the first multitenant project in Sorrento Mesa in 10 years, according to Hill.

The company's goal is "to turn an underutilized parcel of land into a well-planned campus environment that will give large and growth-oriented firms the opportunity to secure facilities in a single contiguous location," Hill said. "We also plan to provide quality facilities for midsize and smaller users through the development of 150,000 square feet of multitenant space."

Home to Biosite

At its center, Fenton Technology Park is anchored by the new corporate home for San Diego-based Biosite Inc. (Nasdaq: BSTE), a provider of rapid medical diagnostic tests.

Work began in October on Biosite's $52 million headquarters, which will include its medical-device manufacturing plant, lab space, research facilities, warehouse and distribution facilities. The ultimate buildout of Biosite's facilities -- totaling 800,000 square feet -- is scheduled for completion in January 2005.

Biosite acquired the first 17.7 acres of its 25-acre site in June 2003 for $19,076,500.

The project's designer is Architects Delawie Wilkes Rodrigues Barker. The general contractor is Reno Contracting Inc. with Bill Hansen as senior project manager, Steve Bettis as project superintendent, Bart Provo as MEP coordinator and Chris Pichardo as engineer.

Biosite is scheduled to occupy the buildings in the spring of 2005.

The Fenton Technology Park site is the last remaining piece of raw land that was part of H.G. Fenton Materials Co. mining operation from the 1950s until 1998. When H.G. Fenton Co. decided to focus exclusively on real estate in the late 1990s, it sold its mining business to Hanson Aggregates but retained this portion of the site for future development, according to the company.

The overall project is "designed with careful attention to scale and style to complement the surrounding business and open space areas, as well as to appeal to leading edge business and technology firms," Hill said. "Extensive landscaping will provide continuity with nearby open space areas, including the 36 acres of dedicated open space that are being provided along Rattlesnake and Carroll canyons. We are also ensuring safe wildlife passage through the construction of a bridge over Rattlesnake Canyon."

It also "dedicates 36 acres of land for permanent open space and adds a vital linkage between Mira Mesa Boulevard and Miramar Road through the north-south extension of Camino Santa Fe," according to Hill.

Construction of Phase II of Fenton Technology Park is slated to begin early next year. The company expects that phase to be completed nine months after breaking ground.

Phase III, known as lots five and six, remain on a build-to-suit basis; construction will not commence until agreements are reached with tenants, according to a company spokeswoman.

"This unique site could accommodate upwards of 300,000 square feet of high-quality corporate headquarters and R&D space," Hill said.

Staff writers Kevin Christensen, Thor Kamban Biberman, Jeff Stinchcomb and contributors Teresa Warren and Sandra Grove contributed to this report.

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