Bay Area engineering firm coming to Castle Commerce Center in Atwater

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comDecember 22, 2013 

CW Commerce Center Economic Assessment

A Bay Area technology and engineering firm plans to lease 60 acres of land at Castle Commerce Center in Atwater, seen here in August.

CHRISTOPHER WINTERFELDT

— The Merced County Board of Supervisors approved a contract earlier this month with a Bay Area technology and engineering firm to lease 60 acres of land at Castle Commerce Center.

LRC Engineering LLC will lease the space for two years for $456,000, according to county documents. The lease payments are about $19,000 a month, beginning in May 2014.

The Mountain View-based firm will use the space to conduct research related to developing communication tools for motor vehicle drivers, according to Mark Hendrickson, Merced County director of community and economic development.

The firm plans site improvements to build a low-speed closed course for vehicle testing, Hendrickson said. The company will use the area for the “operation and testing of motor vehicles,” according to county documents.

“They believed the location was ideal because of its openness and low traffic,” he said. “We as a county are pleased, and we believe that Castle is ideally suited for research and technology development.”

Hendrickson said the construction work at the site over the next four months, including road improvements, will provide a boost to the economy through the use of local vendors. “We’re very pleased with the fact that this company has chosen Castle from which to do their work,” he said.

A representative for LRC Engineering declined comment Friday, saying the firm doesn’t have anything “specific to share” about its future plans in Merced County.

District 4 Supervisor Deidre Kelsey, chairwoman of the board, said the research and technology firm will hire 10 to 15 employees and could spark more growth for Castle.

“The more Bay Area businesses we attract – especially technology businesses – to Castle, the better, because we will attract more in the future,” Kelsey said. “We’ll do whatever we can to accommodate new business that comes to Castle. I’m hopeful that their business endeavors lead to other opportunities for Castle and Merced County.”

Castle Airport and Commerce Center covers 1,912 acres in Atwater, 450 acres of which have nonairport uses.

Sun-Star staff writer Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com.

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