Still, it says a lot about the Valley that a developer is interested in coming here to partake in such a major project, one that would require millions and millions of dollars in investment. We were disappointed a few years back when another mall project failed due in large part to the developer being put off by infighting between local officials.
This time is different. The developer has a plan and a specific area in mind to build the project — an area that is in the city's sphere of influence and would have to be annexed into the city's border. The project will be built in the city of El Centro and would draw retailers away from another part of El Centro. The earlier project would have been built in the county. With the current project the only infighting that might get in the way will occur within the city itself.
Still, much more has to be done to market big boxes that are vacant in the city, including the Builders Emporium, Heilig-Meyers and Office Depot buildings, all on Imperial Avenue. The city and the property owners have not been successful in attracting business into such facilities. Along with the big box vacancies there is Valley Plaza — a shopping center that seems to have been almost forgotten.
We would hate to see Imperial Avenue become a ghost road because of a mall. It is up to the city to prevent that from happening.
We are excited about a mall. We just want to make sure the growth in the Valley is well thought out and truly serves the best interests of the Imperial Valley.
We would urge the developer to try to attract anchors beyond the large retailers we already have in the Valley. Let's bring in new stores with different clienteles than those already available in the Valley.
We urge all that are interested or who would be affected to work together on how to make sure a mall can succeed and how the city can market itself to prevent Imperial Avenue from becoming an eyesore.