By Jim Predmore 

  The Imperial Regional Center Project Groundbreaking Ceremony was held on Tuesday February 9, 2010 at Highway 111 and Heber Road. This $200 Million Project is slated to be a development for wholesale international trade of new retail products to be introduced to retail business in the United States. The Imperial Regional Center has received a $2,500,000 grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help build the infrastructure.

   The Imperial Regional Center will provide a variety of mixed uses including commercial retail and service-oriented uses, along with cultural lifestyle uses such as outdoor recreational park or plaza areas intended for public purposes which include pedestrian walkways, waterways, and Green Roofs. The balance of commercial, social, and environmental design will enhance the overall quality of experience for patrons and will transform the Regional Center from merely a shopping complex to an organic community facility.

   The center will be constructed on a 78 – acre parcel, with a total 3,383,305 square feet, and is expected to provide millions of square feet of commercial facilities. Two 4-story parking structures will equal 900,000 square feet with 3000 spaces. There is even a loading area (expansive docks with hundreds of truck loading spaces and 70 automobile loading spaces) in the back of the center.

   The design theme will reflect the vibrant feel of the center’s natural surroundings.  Color schemes will display elemental motifs mirroring the sun, water, river, and stars.  Building designs and layouts will be carefully planned to create an attractive and unique experience for patrons.  The Imperial Center is designed to share a water/river feature which will flow through the featured components of the center: waterfalls, pedestrian bridges, courtyards, art and cultural center, and outdoor Performance Center/stages.

   The first part of the construction has already taken place that will build the infrastructure and bring sewer and water to the area. This will also provide those needed services to adjacent land to help promote more economic growth in the surrounding area. The first building projects are to be a large convenience store with gas station, a hotel complex to include 200 suites to facilitate the international clientele as well as local travelers with a café, small gift shops, lounges and conference/banquet space with full audio-visual equipment available.

    Tom DuBose (Development of Design & Engineering) stated “This is a wholesale center and those of us that went to Yiwu a couple of times know, you can’t imagine until you have been there what it really is. And I will just say this, as we walked into that first complex, Mr. Wyitt, Mr. Heuberger and myself, back in June, I think we all looked at each other and the first thing we said was ‘I’m not sure this project is big enough once this thing takes off.’ That’s pretty exciting. We are here today as a part of a couple of phases of infrastructure, and then there will be some phases of vertical construction that goes on here. Well there is a very good chance that there are going to be more phases of this kind of opportunity, once this does take off. The great interest shown by investors and by the people from actually beyond our travels to China, but now coming in from all over the world, will prove that this will be an excellent location. And what is it? Well it’s another location of what goes on in Yiwu City that has millions and millions of square feet and hundred of thousands of businesses and over 5000 cargo containers delivered daily from that port to the port in Shanghai to be delivered all over the world. And they would like to see an opportunity of that facility branched off into North America and they like this location of Imperial County and Imperial Center and that is what this is going to be”.

   This project has the prospect of bringing thousands of much needed jobs to the Imperial County and is a great addition to the Valley.

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