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Regional Report

Oceanside

General Contractor Gets $40M Order for Barracks

Harper Construction, a San Diego-based general contractor, has been awarded a task order of more than $40 million, to design and build recruit barracks for the School of Infantry at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. The U.S. Department of Defense announced Sept. 21 that the work is expected to be completed by October 2012.

The Defense Department said the work was assigned under a previously announced multiple-award contract. The new construction will consist of open bay barracks for two companies, as well as offices, instructor rooms, shower and laundry facilities.

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The task order also contains one planned modification that, if issued, would increase the cumulative task order value to about $45 million, a statement said. The contracting entity is Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest in San Diego, which plans and builds shore facilities for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.

— Lou Hirsh

Carlsbad

Companies, City Work on $16.5M Training Center

The city has completed the “first pour” of concrete on a $16.5 million facility to train first responders in emergency situations.

The city announced Sept. 23 that the concrete formed the foundation of the largest building on the site off Orion Way, which will house a police shooting range and classrooms.

Ground was broken in June on the training center. The general contractor is Ledcor Construction Inc., with concrete work being done by RLH Construction.

A city statement said the facility, set for completion in early 2012, will allow police, firefighters and street and utility crews to train together on various scenarios, without having to travel to surrounding communities.

The center will include a five-story tower where police, fire and safety workers can conduct training, including fire simulations and tactical exercises. A smaller building will be used by firefighters to train for fighting residential fires and by police for tactical training.

— Lou Hirsh

Del Mar

Fitch Affirms Rating on Race Track’s Bonds

Fitch Ratings said it affirmed its underlying BBB- rating on the Del Mar Race Track Authority’s outstanding $39.3 million series 2005 revenue bonds. Fitch also revised the rating outlook for the racetrack to stable from negative in its Sept. 22 announcement.

The global rating agency, which provides the world’s credit markets with independent and prospective credit opinions, said credit concerns include the weakening condition of the California horse racing industry, which has been exacerbated by the recession; competition for patrons from Indian gaming casinos and other recreational activities.

In terms of long-term credit strengths, Fitch cited the track’s ability to attract a core patron base, a lack of expected additional borrowing, and management’s willingness to control operating expenses to mitigate lower revenue.

For 2009, Fitch said the track’s daily average of 17,180 attendees wagered $12.7 million, leading the state. Preliminary results for the 2010 racing season, which concluded the week of Labor Day, indicate total wagering revenues are down 2.9 percent from 2009, with average daily wagers off by 6.2 percent.

The 2005 bonds were used for the refinancing of bonds issued in 1996 and for capital improvements at the fairgrounds and track, according to Linda Zweig, a spokeswoman for the fairgrounds, which leases space to the Thoroughbred Club. The Thoroughbred Club stages the annual horse racing meet.

— Steve Sinovic

San Diego

Northern Chamber to Open Mira Mesa Office Oct. 5

The San Diego North Chamber of Commerce plans to hold the grand opening of its Mira Mesa office at 5 p.m. Oct. 5. The satellite office is at 10717 Camino Ruiz, off Mira Mesa Boulevard. The gathering will be in the courtyard. For information, call 858-487-1767.

The office will serve Mira Mesa as well as Miramar, Scripps Ranch and Sorrento Valley. The chamber’s economic development team will work out of the office from Tuesday to Thursday.

It is the region’s third-largest chamber, with 1,000 members. Originally the Rancho Bernardo Chamber of Commerce, the organization merged with the Diamond Gateway Chamber of Commerce and now serves cities and communities north of Interstate 8, including Escondido, Poway and Carmel Mountain Ranch.

The chamber’s primary office is on Iberia Place in the Rancho Bernardo area.

— Brad Graves

Escondido

City Looks to Hit Home Run With Padres’ Ballpark Plan

The City Council on Sept. 22 unanimously approved spending $373,000 to study the possibility of building a $50 million ballpark to house the San Diego Padres’ top minor-league baseball team, now based in Portland, Ore.

The studies, which cover the environmental and financial effects of a new ballpark, are necessary before any final decision can be made on the project. The ballpark would be located east of Interstate 15 and south of state Route 78.

If things go according to the Padres’ plan, the team called the Portland Beavers would play next season in Lake Elsinore at the home of one of the Padres’ lower-level minor league teams the Lake Elsinore Storm while the new ballpark gets built.

— Mike Allen

San Diego

Sony Online: ‘Star Wars’ Game Attracts 1M Users

In a mere week, Sony Online Entertainment reports that its new online game has gained 1 million users.

Credit goes in part to director George Lucas and the storytellers who elaborated on his late 1970s “Star Wars” tale.

The new Internet browser-based game is “Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures.” Locally based Sony Online said Sept. 24 that the game, launched Sept. 15, had registered a million users in the space of a week. The game, where players explore a virtual world, is free to play and billed as family friendly.

Sony Online developed and published the game, licensing creative material from LucasArts in conjunction with Lucasfilm Ltd. The game ties in with the new “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated television series on Cartoon Network, a unit of Time Warner. Sony will update game content as new episodes of the TV series are aired.

— Brad Graves

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