In Riverside, Calif., New Plans for Office Building, Manufacturing Plant

Smurfit-Stone plans paper manufacturing plant; Koll Development plans 3-story office building


Much of the planned office space will be located near a planned MetroLink station, which could be open by 2012.

"We want people to use the line and take the cars off the highway," said Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, chairman of the March commission.

Morris, the LNR vice president, has said he expects Meridian business park to be home to 20,000 jobs by the year 2020.

Despite the rapid growth, efforts to develop the former Air Force base property has not been without setbacks. The property was turned over by the Air Force for civilian use when March downsized to a reserve base in 1996.

In March, Wild Rocket Foods, a British produce supplier, was forced to withdraw plans to build a distribution center in Meridian after company officials learned they would have to pay $4 million more than expected for wastewater disposal.

A DHL cargo distribution center, the first civilian air carrier to share an airfield on an air reserve base, has drawn continual complaints from Riverside-area residents over early morning airplane noise since it began operating in 2005.

But Lori Stone, interim executive director of the March Joint Powers Authority, said there are many successes despite a few setbacks.

"We are moving forward with some of the higher end development that we did not anticipate this soon," Stone said.

Copyright (c) 2007, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.