Developer confirms

March 10, 2002

plans to build huge

indoor shopping mall


Staff Writer

Plans for an 800,000 square-foot, regional indoor shopping mall in the southeast corner of El Centro were confirmed Friday by Dallas-based developer Buddy Herring, of M.G. Herring Group Inc.

Herring said the mall would be fully enclosed and include four major department stores. He acknowledged discussions with JCPenney Co. Inc. and Sears Roebuck and Co. He declined to mention any other potential anchors.


He did confirm the targeted date for opening the mall is March 2004.

"Everybody will be very pleased," he said, adding there are many issues yet to be resolved.

The project would be on about 160 acres east of Dogwood Road and south of Danenberg Road.

Herring said the El Centro area was chosen because of the need and the opportunity.

"We think the entire Imperial Valley offers a great opportunity," he said, adding the economic conditions in Mexicali add to the attractiveness of the area. He said the company built a similar mall in Brownsville, Texas, and that if one understands the border region, the results can be positive.

Herring also said, as reported, the mall will include 10 movie screens. What looks like an amphitheater on a site plan is actually a food court, he said. There will be a carousel in an area for children to play. The map shows space for other retail, restaurants, hotels and offices. An adjacent 25-acre property will likely be sold for multi-family residences, he said.

Finally, Herring said he is pleased with the service provided by city staff.

"They've been very positive," he said. "We found them to be very responsive and professional."

Herring said he is already working with the Local Agency Formation Commission — which oversees annexations — and the Imperial Irrigation District.

The El Centro City Council on Wednesday retained a consultant to perform the environmental impact report on the proposed mall. The action calls for the EIR to cover the annexation, general plan amendment, prezoning, conditional-use permit and tentative subdivision map. The cost of the study — to be paid by the developer — is $54,580. San Diego-based Mooney & Associates was selected to perform the study.

The EIR scope of work identifies key environmental issues as water runoff, use of agricultural land, traffic and circulation, noise and air quality. The study is expected to take six months to complete. Adjacent irrigation ditches and canals would have to be pipelined. Danenberg and Dogwood would have to be improved.

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

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