County Hears Options To Help Expand The Gran Plaza Outlets
BY MARIO CONDE
The Imperial County Board of Supervisors heard an update regarding the Calexico/County EDA application to help the expansion of Gran Plaza Outlets on Tuesday.
Last year the City of Calexico requested the assistance of the County of Imperial to submit an application as co-applicant with the City of Calexico to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, in the amount of $3 million for off-site infrastructure improvements located in the right-of-way of the City of Calexico (West Second Street). The City Council of the City of Calexico has also requested that the County of Imperial act as the lead agency for the EDA grant application.
The proposed off-site infrastructure improvements are estimated to be at $6 million. If successful, the $3 million of the off-site improvements will funded by this U.S. EDA grant. The proposed project will assist in the expansion of the current Gran Plaza and assist with the development of the new Gran Plaza Power Center which together will generate sales tax revenue and expand employment opportunities.
Esperanza Colio-Warren, Director of Economic Development, said that since the execution of the MOU, the plans and specifications for the job creation portions of the project are not yet completed.
“Delay in completing the plans and specification are due in part to the project location being moved east adjacent to the outlets. The project includes approximately 210,000 square feet of retail stores. In addition to the street improvements to 2nd Street, the City would like to include a water loop to increase water pressure in the EDA application. The plans and specifications are due to be completed in June 2017,” Colio-Warren said.
On May 12, 2017, the City of Calexico and County met to discuss a potential a Housing and Community Development Over-the-Counter grant application to enclose the current Gran Plaza Outlet Center.
“It is understood, the enclosure of the outlet center is necessary to retain businesses that are struggling to remain in the market due to the harsh weather and could potentially bring eleven more businesses to the current outlet. Additionally, this project is expected to include a theater and a AM/PM gas station.” She said grant applications are submitted by the local agency in which the proposed project is located. However, the City of Calexico has informally requested that the County apply on its behalf.
“Because the improvements are solely on private property, the grant is actually a loan to the developer. The developer’s payments become program income for the applicant agency which can be used for any open CDBG grant activities.” Colio-Warren said.
County CEO Ralph Cordova said Calexico has asked the county to take a lead on this since they have issues at the city so they asked the county to do the application.
The estimated cost for the enclosing of the Outlet Center is approximately $7,100,000 without prevailing wages.
Supervisor Ryan Kelley stated that an enclosure requires ventilation and other improvements and thinks seven million is a small number. Colio said that they will have a better idea of the costs when the plans and specifications are submitted.