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Plans include homes, commercial space

November 16, 2001|By MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — The Brawley Gateway Project here would create a subdivision and bring retail/commercial areas, office/commercial areas and industrial sections.

And it is moving forward.

The project would bring in 125 single-family homes, up to 240 apartments or condominiums, 43 acres of retail/commercial space, 5.5 acres of office complexes and 44 acres of light industrial.

In the southwest area of the city and to the east of Pioneers Memorial Hospital, the project is expected to attract large-name retail stores.

"It will serve as a new gateway to the city on the south end that will enhance it," said Jerry H. McLees, project manager/principal planner for EDAW Inc. of San Diego. McLees will be managing the project.

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The land belongs to Steven and Thomas Church, former Brawley residents who now reside in Salinas.

The project has been in the works for seven years. If the project becomes a reality, ground-breaking will be in two years.

In a City Council meeting last week, McLess sought approval of four items related to the project.

Two were approved — the first reading of a zoning change on the projected site and a mitigated negative environmental declaration.

The other two matters were tabled after concerns about traffic were expressed by Councilwoman Jo Shield. The two items were to approve an amended general and a specific plan.

They will be brought up at the next council meeting.

Mayor Wayne Johnson seemed to favor the project but was disappointed by the length of time before ground-breaking would take place.

"I think it's going to have a positive impact on the economy," he said.

"We need more housing but we also need a large retail store, which is what is being proposed," he said.

He said the development would give the city more tax revenues.

"I'm hoping it (the ground-breaking) will be a lot sooner," he added.

Despite her concerns, Shields also favors the project.

"I'm excited about the project. I think it's an exciting development for Brawley," she said.

She added the Brawley Beef plant and the new San Diego State University campus in Brawley will attract new people to the city who will need housing like that proposed in the project.

"We have a lot of things happening for us right now," she said.

"I'm excited the Church family decided to develop this property. It will certainly add to the city," she added.

>> Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3435.

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