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Our Opinion: Doing it right?

August 28, 2001

More than three years in the making, the Calexico International Center, a proposed 216.8-acre development on the northern outskirts of Calexico, looks like it's turning out to be more than a proposal.

To be built in five phases on the northeast corner of Jasper Road and Highway 111, center developers are looking to send to the Calexico Planning Commission a long-awaited environmental impact report on the development. If and when the Planning Commission approves the report, it will go to the Calexico City Council for final approval.

The first phase of the project is said to include a 150-room hotel with conference facilities, a service station/mini-mart and a 440-space RV park. Later phases are to include an executive golf course, condominiums, light industrial facilities, residential housing and much more.

What is being proposed is ambitious, and if one of two of the wish-list items doesn't come to fruition we wouldn't be surprised. Still, if just a handful of the planned features, such as the RV park, the hotel and the golf course, become reality, the city of Calexico is looking at taking the next step in becoming a powerful area.

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There are so many pieces of the Calexico International Center equation that make sense for the city. The opportunity to finally have an RV park that would attract snowbirds south of El Centro will be a boon as will the hotel and golf course, because snowbirds love golf and those doing business at Mexicali maquiladoras need hotel accommodations. Factor in the gas station and mini-mart, which would seem a smart choice at such a location because of southbound traffic on its way to Mexico, and the housing developments said to include a senior apartment complex, it would seem there are countless possible ways in which the center would become an asset to not only Calexico but the entire Valley.

We suspect much of what has been proposed for the center will come to pass with Burlingame-based developer Wen-I Chang as the driving force. By all accounts, Chang has made all the right moves to make sure studies pertaining to the development have been done.

Chang is not a new face to the Valley, having successfully overseen the building and running of the Brawley Inn, a hotel that has brought much profit to both Chang and Brawley.

What's more, Chang has a reputation for being a developer who goes by the book, especially refreshing in an age where most developers approach projects in Calexico in general and the Imperial Valley in general with both hands open, asking what can a city do for the developer instead of the other way around. Chang, who also is doing routinely required things such as the EIR and other studies without whining or threatening court action, seems to follow methods by which all developers going before cities should take note.

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