SANTA ANA, CA-Construction has begun on a five-level, 547-space parking structure at 811 Sycamore St. that is considered one of the essential elements of the Downtown Santa Ana revitalization plans.

McCarthy Building Cos. of Newport Beach has kicked off work on the $4-million structure, which is scheduled to be completed in January 2004 for Caribou Industries, the parking structure owner, according to Mike Harrah, president of Caribou.

Harrah called the project a catalyst for the revitalization of the Downtown area as well as surrounding neighborhoods. He notes that parking for office and retail space is one of the keys to the continuing redevelopment process here, where city officials have been pursuing a number of redevelopment and revitalization efforts. Including Downtown, about 5,000 acres of the 27-square-mile city are in six redevelopment zones. The revitalization efforts have produced a growing Artists Village district, a new federal building named for former President Ronald Reagan and a number of other commercial developments.

The 163,640-sf, cast-in-place Sycamore Street parking garage will be a concrete structure featuring masonry walls, security screening, roll-up gates and a colored plaster exterior, according to Frank Pasztor, a McCarthy vice president. Choate Parking Consultants, Inc. of Irvine is working with McCarthy to provide architectural services for the Sycamore Parking Structure, for which Pasztor says an expedited permitting and approval process produced permits, design, plan check and approvals in about half of the three months ordinarily required for such a project.

The new structure will be among more than 300 such facilities totaling $1 billion and 65,000 spaces nationwide that McCarthy has built. Among these are the 10,242-car Mickey & Friends Parking Structure at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, the 3,000-car parking garage for the Hollywood & Highland project in Hollywood and the 1,000-car Sierra Madre Villa Parking and Bus Facility in Pasadena.

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