By Mario Conde

The Calexico Planning Commission approved the Grand Plaza project at their Monday meeting that will bring jobs and brand name stores to the border city.

Its been a long time coming for the Charles Company who has been working with the City of Calexico for more than five years to develop an outlet shopping center that will be located on the south side of West 2nd Street, approximately ½ mile west of the International Port of Entry and downtown Calexico, and bounded to the south by the U.S-Mexico border.

The construction process for the proposed project would consist of two phases. The first phase of construction would include the development of 12 buildings with approximately 241,625 square feet of building area and a storage/maintenance building with 6,400 square feet. Phase I would be developed on the eastern side of the project site and is proposed for construction.

Phase II would include the development of 12 buildings with approximately 320,025 square feet of building area and a storage/maintenance building with approximately 6,400 square feet on the western side of the project site. Construction of Phase II is proposed to begin and end within six years of the Phase I construction start date.

The project applicant proposes to develop the site with a total of approximately 561,650 square feet of commercial/retail uses. To accomplish this, the project required a general plan amendment to change the land use classification from industrial to commercial highway, a zone change for the portions of the site that are currently zoned open space and industrial to commercial highway, a tentative subdivision tract map to divide the project site into six parcels, development review approval subject to the Municipal Code, West 2nd Street road re-alignment and widening, and an Owner Participation and Disposition and Development Agreement with the City of Calexico Redevelopment Agency.

Project Consultant Ron Holley said that this project contemplates to have tenants such as GAP, American Eagle, Aeropostal, Nike, Guess, Ralph Lauren, Levi, and others. The $94 million dollar project is expected to bring over $140 million dollars in annual sales tax revenue to the City of Calexico. Holley said that Grand Plaza will have 268 full time jobs and 617 working part-time. The project applicants already submitted plans the City and are hoping to break ground and start construction by March 2012.

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