CALEXICO – Dirt began flying for the much-anticipated Gran Plaza outlet center Monday as the $94 million project five years in the making held its ceremonial groundbreaking.
Gran Plaza project director Ron Holley said construction will begin in May, and the first phase of the project by Charles Company is anticipated to be completed by April 2013.
The outlets are being built in two phases on about 52 acres of land on Second Street west of the Calexico Downtown Port of Entry.
Stores such as Ann Taylor, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, American Eagle and more have already expressed interest in being part of the project.
The project hopes to capture Mexicali shoppers that normally enter through the Calexico West Port of Entry and then continue north.
The first phase of the project is about 261,000 square feet and will have between 40 and 50 shops. Holley said and the second phase will be about the same size.
Charles Company Chief Executive Officer Arman Gabay thanked city officials and staff for believing in the project and helping it come to fruition. Mayor Pro Tem Maritza Hurtado was even presented with a special pink hardhat and pink shovel for the groundbreaking ceremony Monday.
All five City Council members expressed strong support for the project, which promises to boost the area economy through increased sales tax revenue as well as by providing part-time and full-time jobs.
Holley said the project is expected to bring 600 to 650 permanent full-time jobs as well as 1,200 to 1,500 construction jobs to the area.
He added that in conservative estimates, Gran Plaza should bring about $140 million in taxable retail sales to the area, generating about $1.4 million in sales tax revenue to the city.
“I’m in favor of this project tremendously, and I can only hope for the success of the project for the benefit of the citizens of the city of Calexico,” Mayor Daniel Romero said.
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.