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Hearing set to consider approving Calexico center

February 20, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Wen-I Chang's Calexico International Center could finally morph from conceptual drawings into an actual construction project sometime this year.

On Tuesday, the Calexico City Council set a public hearing for its next regular meeting at which the council will consider approving Chang's plans to build a 231.8-acre multi-use center combining hotels and commercial space with residential homes, apartments and a mobile home park.

Chang, a Burlingame-based developer, has financed a hotel project in Brawley, but this would be his biggest investment in the Imperial Valley.

According to the fiscal impact analysis completed for the proposed project, up to 2,000 jobs will be created in Calexico and $460,000 to $2.3 million in revenue will be generated in taxes and fees between 2002 and 2013.


Before revenue starts pouring into city coffers, however, the City Council will have to determine if it can cover "fair-share contributions" for improvements to the infrastructure surrounding the project site. The improvements have yet to negotiated, according to City Manager Rich Inman.

The proposed center would be built on a wedge of land at the southwest corner of Jasper Road and Highway 111.

The roads around that land have to be widened, traffic lights have to be installed and new turn lanes have to be constructed to handle the increase in traffic.

There are three pages of projected improvements associated with the project.

Public Works Director Mariano Martinez said Tuesday his office has not even seen a rough estimate of the total projected cost of the improvements.

Unless Chang's engineers provide that information to the city later this week or next, the council will consider approving conceptual plans for the center without knowing what the end cost would be to the city.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for Raul Estrada asked the council to also consider improving roads on his client's property if it is considering work on improvements associated with Chang's project.

Estrada owns a plot of land near the Calexico 10 theater complex south of the proposed site of Chang's center.

Developers are looking to build a Holiday Inn Express and an Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar on parcels in that plot.

Estrada's attorney, John McClendon, said his client would consider donating land to the city so it could build access streets for the proposed hotel and restaurant.

The streets would run behind the theater parallel to Scaroni Road. Going north, these are the same streets — Fiesta and Robinson roads — which Chang's engineers have designed to access the International Center.

The issue that will have to be decided in the next few weeks include: Who will pay for the construction of these streets, the city, the developers or a combination of both? If both, then who pays for how much?

City Attorney Michael Rood recommended bringing the issue back before the council in closed session because real property negotiation is involved.

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

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