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Northgate Plaza gets under way

October 26, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

El Centro's newest business development, Northgate Plaza, was dedicated Thursday before more than 100 people.

Northgate, a 32-acre project at the northwest corner of Imperial Avenue and Cruickshank Drive, will be the new home of El Centro Motors and a Food 4 Less grocery store.

Earl Cavanaugh, El Centro Motors co-owner, said the facility will include new and used car sales, parts, service and what he called a "quick lane" service. The quick lane will offer certain services for all vehicle makes and models, such as oil change, chassis lubrication, tire service and front-end work, among others.

"Truly we are looking forward to being a tenant out here and selling our product," Cavanaugh said. "It's been a long, long time."

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He said the pad upon which the business will be located should be ready in early 2002.

El Centro Motors sells and services Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars. By the time the new dealership is relocated, the business will employ 125-130 people. Cavanaugh said he could employ more people now if he had the room. The company will move its $7 million inventory from five lots spread over four acres at the intersection of Main and Fourth streets, to the new, 15-acre parcel.

Food 4 Less architect Steve Prince said the company looks forward to becoming a part of the community and a local employer.

El Centro Mayor Cheryl Walker praised city staff for its efforts to bring the project to fruition, especially Oscar Rodriquez, the city's economic development director, and Abdel Salem, city manager.

Walker called it a "banner day" for the city in light of the high unemployment rate. She thanked the developers for choosing the city of El Centro to build their projects.

Rodriquez, who acted as master of ceremony, said the project is about a year late.

Developer Geary Coats also praised city staff, the City Council and the community for making the project a reality.

"Today we're starting," Coats said. "Today we start moving dirt."

With shovels in hand, the ground was ceremoniously broken.

Though the site can support numerous other businesses, Coats said he's not at freedom to give out any name, though he said he expects to announce some of them within three to four weeks.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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