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RIVERSIDE, CA-DHL has chosen March Air Reserve Base as the site of a new $65 million distribution hub, delighting officials overseeing the redevelopment of the former Air Force base but disappointing others who had hoped to woo the air carrier giant. DHL says will spend the $65 million on leasing and development of the new West Coast distribution facility, which is expected to open in the fall of 2005 and to employ 250 workers. The completed hub will occupy 262,000 sf, with a 44,000-sf mezzanine floor. The new March facility will be “part of a $1.2 billion North American network expansion program” that the company launched in June 2004, according to Fred Beljaars, EVP of DHL Americas. Other facilities in the $1.2 billion program include an expanded hub in Wilmington, OH and the addition of seven new regional sort centers that will be opened this year. Beljaars says the hub at March Air Reserve Base will expand the company’s capabilities in California and into Nevada, including Las Vegas, as well as Arizona, including Phoenix. The hub provides a bridge between the company’s operations in the East and the West, he adds. Among the reasons DHL chose the March site are its 24-hour air control tower, its aircraft support equipment and security capabilities. The former March Air Force base is being redeveloped by the March Joint Powers Commission, which has been encouraging private companies and developers to locate at the facility, which is situated along the 215 Freeway. Officials at Ontario International Airport and at the former Norton Air Force Base, now known as San Bernardino International Airport, also had hoped to attract DHL to their sites. The DHL facility will bring additional commercial development to a stretch along the 215 Freeway where little or no commercial activity had occurred until the last year or so. Since then, Lennar Partners has broken ground on the 250-acre first phase of a 1,000-acre project called Meridian at the former March Air Force Base that will include manufacturing, warehouse and office uses. Not far from the air base, Northern California developer Transcan Development LLC is working on a 90-acre freeway-oriented development of retail and office space called Canyon Crossings at Canyon Springs. The Transcan project, as reported previously on GlobeSt.com, is within Riverside city limits at the southeast corner of Interstate 215 and State Highway 60.

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