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County board OKs plans to redevelop operations center

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The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved Lowe Enterprises’ Disposition and Development Agreement for the County Operations Center and Annex redevelopment in Kearny Mesa and also certified the project’s Environmental Impact Report.

Having received these approvals, Lowe Enterprises is now set to redevelop the 37-acre County Operations Center site into a $531.1 million campus with approximately 900,000 square feet of office space, built to LEED Silver Certification standards, according to a release.

“We will deliver to the county state-of-the-art facilities that will allow them to consolidate operations on their own campus,” said Mike McNerney, senior vice president of Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group. “Staff will have a highly professional environment that will foster collaboration.”

Located on Overland Avenue, the county’s operations center will be developed in two phases. Work on the first phase, which will cost $377.5 million, will begin in the fall of 2008.

The first step in the construction process will be the demolition of several existing structures that are more than 40 years old.

One of the key components in phase one is the development of a central plant that will provide the mechanical systems to run the entire campus.

Four 150,000-square-foot office buildings, including a new planning and permitting center, and a 20,000-square-foot conference center and cafeteria are included in phase one.

The office buildings and conference center will feature sustainable design by incorporating a variety of “green” technologies such as energy-efficient roofing and glazing systems, which will reduce heat gain.

Landscaping will feature water efficient plants and an irrigation system, which will aim to reduce water usage.

Phase one also includes a seven-level parking structure and offsite improvements to mitigate traffic impacts.

Development of the first phase will be completed spanning the next four years.

The second phase of the development consists of two 150,000-square-foot office buildings, identical to the buildings in phase one, and another parking structure.

To assist the county in defraying its costs, Lowe Enterprises and Fairfield Residential will acquire the approximately 19.5-acre annex site from the county at the end of phase one. Departments now located at the annex will be relocated to offsite locations.

Lowe Enterprises is a national developer, but has previous experience in the San Diego market. In 2006, the developer completed the 75,000-square-foot Ocean Ridge office development in Carlsbad. The development firm also currently owns a 10-acre site entitled for 270,000 square feet of office and R&D development in Rancho Bernardo.

Through affiliate Lowe Hospitality Group, the developer built and operates the Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa, and is currently completing a $24 million renovation of the L’Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa, which will be completed in early June.

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