Calexico mulls deal with landowner

March 05, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — To avoid a lawsuit, the City Council here will consider striking a deal with Raul Estrada to bring a new restaurant and hotel to Calexico this year.

Estrada owns four plots of land north of the Calexico 10 theaters.

His attorney said Monday that Estrada would like to enter into a "public/private partnership" with the city.

The city's part of the proposed deal would include bankrolling $450,000 in street improvements to Fiesta Road and Robinson Boulevard.

Those streets could be used by patrons of an Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar and maybe a Holiday Inn Express. Fiesta would run north to south, parallel and just west of Scaroni Road. The road would run behind the theater complex.

Franchisees of Applebee's and a motel developer have expressed interest in the land north of the theater.

To fulfill his end of the bargain, Estrada would enter into an agreement with those developers guaranteeing the businesses would be built here.


Estrada's attorney, John McClendon of Orange, told the council Monday, "There is a lot of drafting to do — documentation" but the "Applebee's people" are antsy and all parties involved want to expedite things.

"We hope to reach closure very quickly," McClendon added.

If that's the case, it would be music to the council's ear.

Mayor Victor Carrillo said, "I hope we take care of this in a timely manner."

He told the audience the council does not want to dicker over the specifics of the development for years. The audience included Estrada and the developer looking to build the hotel.

"We need to see something brought before us so that we can say it's either yea or nay, we move forward … or say nay, that's it."

Councilman Gilbert Grijalva asked Rood when the city might have the specifics of an agreement on which it could vote. Rood said it would take a week to a week and a half to bring something before the council.

In closed session, the council discussed the threat of a lawsuit by Estrada. Estrada's attorney has used that threat as a negotiating tool in public session discourse on the proposed developments.

As per the still-murky details of the proposed deal, Estrada would not sue the city if it paid to build the roads.

If the city does not enter into an agreement with Estrada, he may have legal grounds to sue because of a long ago land transfer that was never completed.

According to Estrada's attorney, the city paved a sliver of land behind the Calexico 10 theater that it did not officially have title to. Since the city paved property of a private party, Estrada could claim "inverse condemnation."

The only other item discussed at the short council meeting was an annexation years ago of acreage north of the Toys R Us.

Grijalva asked city staffers to put together a report of the latest news. The way he remembers it, the city paid $200,000 in impact fees to help a Heber-based landowner annex property into the city but the property has not yet been developed. Grijalva said he wants city staffers to find out what's happening.

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

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles