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Airport seeks local contractors for $285M project

SAN DIEGO – This fall, a new rental car center will be built at Lindbergh Field and airport officials want to award as much of the work as possible to small, local businesses.

“We’re talking about $285 million as far as the rental car center is concerned,” said Bob Silvas, Director of Small Business Development. “As much of that money that we can keep in the San Diego region is good for the region.”

The rental car center will combine the majority of the rental car facilities into one location. Silvas said they will need just about every kind of specialty contractor.

Overall%20Aerial%20From%20South“You’re going to need to have counter space,” said Silvas. “You’re going to need to have concessions, restrooms. You’re going to need cabinetry. You’re going to need any kind of finish work.”

And that’s just a small portion of what will be needed. Landscaping, roofing, utilities are a few others.

Silvas recognizes competing for the jobs against major corporations can be challenging for a small business. That’s where his office comes in. They have employees that help the local business owners apply. They even have a program to help with bonding, which can be difficult for small businesses.

“About seven years ago, we started the process of building a bonding and contract financing assistance program,” said Silvas. “This is a program that will let a small contractor actually obtain first time bonding or increase their bonding capacity, which allows them to compete on any public projects.”

Silvas said this isn’t the first time his office has recruited locally for an airport project. He said 85-percent of the terminal expansion went to San Diego area contractors.

Theresa Alonso’s company, ARC Corporation – Alonso’s Roofing, was among those hired.

“Working for the government or federal or any kind of agency can be overwhelming at times,” said Alonso. “Paperwork. Questions we’re not familiar with. Everybody at the airport was very, very helpful. They took their time with me.”

Alonso said the process definitely works and makes a huge impact on small, local companies.

“Economically, everybody’s having a hard time and especially the small businesses,” said Alonso. “People don’t want to give you a chance because you’re small, because they don’t know you and the airport is willing to take that chance.”

Several informational sessions will be taking place in San Diego County to allow contractors to meet with the Airport Authority and project managers. The first is in North County on March 6, followed by East County on March 27, South Bay on April 3 and Central San Diego on April 17.

Details are available on the airport’s website and you can also register your business in the vendor database.