L.A. developers planning 100-acre mall

October 03, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The City Council here denied the owner of 7 acres near the New River a permit to build a truck parking lot.

The council tabled the issue until next week after Calexico real estate agent Linda Barrientos told the council her development partners from Los Angeles would deliver the details of a 100-acre shopping mall proposal today that would encompass the 7 acres.

The total acreage in question is west of the downtown port of entry abutting the New River and directly across the street from the Vons supermarket and the airport.

Raymond Lopez of Calexico owns 7 acres of the plot near the New River where the Los Angeles developers want to build the mall.


During the city Redevelopment Agency meeting Aug. 28, the council, seated as the RDA board, heard a proposal from Armin Gabay of Los Angeles.

He told the council that his development firm, M&A Gabay LLP, needed "site control" of all of the acreage — including the 7-acre plot owned by Lopez.

To get "site control" he said he needed millions of dollars from the agency or 75 percent of the cost of the land.

The council decided to consider giving Gabay the money at that meeting but there had been no further public discussion of the project until Tuesday's council meeting.

During discussion about the truck lot, Mayor Victor Carrillo asked city Planning Director Ricardo Hinojosa, "What kind of impacts is this going to have?"

Carrillo said the city is in negotiations with the Los Angeles developers to build a shopping complex on that land.

Hinojosa told the council that Lopez had gone through all necessary procedural steps to develop a truck parking lot on his land. Hinojosa said it was beyond his authority to negotiate the sale of the 7 acres for the Los Angeles developers.

Councilman Gilbert Grijalva asked Hinojosa if it is a good idea to put an industrial user next to an area where the city might build a park.

The city has paid Seattle-based R.W. Beck $150,000 to try to attract humanitarian investors to create a park-like setting in the New River basin.

Grijalva said, "This could create a nuisance down the road that we will have to address."

Hinojosa told the council that the conditional-use permit for the truck lot project has a seven-year expiration date, after which the city could decide to do something else with the land.

He said the city Planning Commission has reviewed and signed off on the truck parking project because it would allow the city to provide a lot with security lighting and a night watchman.

The decision by the commission was made after a host of Calexico truckers complained to both the City Council and the Planning Commission that their trucks were being vandalized in unsupervised city lots.

Because Lopez has to apply for a conditional-use permit to build a parking lot on that land, the city can impose restrictions on the lot that it can't in other parts of town.

"There is a shortage of truck parking and this is an attempt by the property owner to build a project in an area that lends itself to that," Hinojosa said.

Hinojosa said the Los Angeles developers have not submitted to the Planning Department any sort of plan for their shopping mall project.

Right after he said that, Barrientos told the council her people would have "a package" ready by today.

Mayor Pro Tem John Renison proposed to table the issue until next week because, "We're between a dog and a fire hydrant."

A representative for the property owner, real estate consultant Marvin Mayne of Calexico, told the council his client "would like to go forward."

"No one has approached us to buy the land and he doesn't want to get involved with other projects," Mayne said.

The council decided to table the issue until next week and moved on to other matters.

· the council unanimously approved a contract with the Juarez & Lincoln Club to manage the Horacio Luna Gun Club despite the concerns of city Recreation Director Javier Gonzalez.

· by a 4-1 vote the council approved the allocation of $2,500 to each of the 10 city commissions to use for city business.

City Manger Richard Inman said he will sign off on each expenditure and provide a line item budget for the council to review.

Grijalva dissented because of "the way the motion was structured."

· by a 4-1 vote the council decided to solicit bids to buy a van. Grijalva dissented, saying the city shouldn't be spending money while in labor negotiations with city employees.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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