September 8, 2000

Almost $4.2 Million in Construction Contracts for Market Creek Plaza Awarded to Local Minority and Women-Owned Contractors

Almost $4.2 million in construction contracts for building San Diego's innovative market Creek Plaza project were recently awarded to several local minority or woman-owned contracting firms.

The largest contract award-ed to a minority-owned business was Cats Excavating, which received a $953,000 contract for grading the 20-acre parcel of land. IE Pacific landed the $644,000 job to install sewer and storm drains, while much of the electrical work on the site will be completed by Bendix Contracting for $606,000.

Other winning contractors were Pereria Plumbing ($556,000), Southern Steel Fabricators and Erectors ($213,000), A&T Electric ($174,000), Cobos Construction $154,000), J.F. Todd ($170,000), Silva General Construction ($272,500) and Kevin Smith Air Conditioning ($129,000). Inspection work on the project will be performed by Quality Engineering, who captured the $50,000 contract. Finally, Simon Wong Engineering, serving as a consultant on the design process, received three individual bids totalling more than $279,000.

The goal of Market Creek Plaza is to provide an economic infrastructure that will create jobs and generate equity opportunities for community residents. Setting a new standard for commercial and community development, the development strategy promotes community inclusion in the planning, construction and operation of the effort and provides an opportunity for community-based ownership and long-term wealth creation for the local area. Located at the intersection of Market Street and Euclid Avenue, Market Creek Plaza has been planned in partnership with local residents, businesses and organizations. The project developer is the Jacobs Center for Non Profit Innovation, a non-profit foundation focused upon under-invested neighborhoods.

The commercial development will be brought to completion through a multi-layered construction collaborative of local, minority-owned entities. Each level of the collaborative builds on the work of the other, offering an expanding, local group of contractors the opportunity for career and financial advancement through participation in the construction of Market Creek. The collaborative includes the Multi-Cultural Contractors Group (MCCG), the Winning Opportunities for Responsible Contractors (WORC) Foundation, San Diego Youth and Adult Coalition (SDYAC), and the Latino Builders (LBIA) and the Black Contractors Association (BCA).

"Through a collaborative effort with the Jacobs Center, California Southern Small Business Development Corporation, Neighborhood National Bank and Willis Insurance, we have been able to provide what small, emerging, disadvantaged contractors need most —increased financial capacity and access to bonding supported by technical expertise," said Rickey Laster, president of MCCG and author of the contractor mentor-protegé program operated by the WORC Foundation. "After participating in the program and completing their work on market Creek Plaza, these contractors will be able and eligible to pursue other public and private projects."

The owners of Cats Excavating and A&T Electric were among a group of 12 contractors who graduated from a special contractor training course developed by the WORC Foundation. Each completed a 30-day, 36-hour course developed specifically around Market Creek Plaza construction policies and procedures. The continuing course is funded and supported by the Jacobs Center, which is partnering with the WORC Foundation to provide training and access to resources for local contractors. WORC's curriculum assisted participants in transitioning from smaller residential projects to major commercial projects. For many, Market Creek Plaza will serve as a first step toward building a solid resume for their companies, as well as increasing their involvement in other major construction projects in San Diego.

"With the training of the WORC Foundation and the help of the Multi-Cultural Contractors Group, we've had many doors opened to us that were closed before," said Steve Groves of Cats Excavating. He and co-owner Cliff Smith both graduated from the WORC course.

Edward Ford, owner of A&T Electric, said, "Although I have an associate degree in electrical engineering and a bachelor's in business management, the WORC Foundation showed me how to make my business more marketable provided the opportunity for more exposure. Now I will be able to build my business. I can be financially strong and more competitive."

"This course gives them the confidence and the know-how to compete for mainstream projects," said Robert Brandy, president and CEO of WORC. "As some of our graduates work on the Market Creek Plaza site, other graduates are involved in projects in the community until their particular skills are required for Market Creek."

During the construction phase, Market Creek Plaza is expected to generate 360 jobs with a payroll of $7.9 million and a goal of at least 65 percent inclusion of minorities and women on the job. When complete, the development is expected to generate hundreds of jobs and sales revenue in excess of $25 million.

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