CALEXICO — Despite thin information from Calexico officials about what might be built at the revived Calexico Mega Park/Jasper’s Crossing project, the city council on Feb. 5 approved the project’s final subdivision map.
More than a decade in the making, Calexico Mayor Bill Hodge described Mega Park as a mix of commercial and light industrial development at the southeast corner of Jasper Road and Highway 111.
The council’s 3-0 vote
sliced up a previously city-approved two-parcel, 155-acre development into 18
parcels of various sizes. Council Member Rosie Fernandez and Mayor Pro Tem David
Romero were absent.
Formerly known as
Calexico Mega Park II, the newly renamed Calexico Mega Park Unit 1 project has
been under some phase of development since at least 2009. Referred to as
Jasper’s Crossing in some records, published reports over the years have
claimed the project would include a mix of retail and warehousing.
The project would also
include the development of Jasper as a new route connecting truck traffic to the
Calexico East Port of Entry.
Hodge had few insights when
asked about the project Feb. 6. Information has been spotty from the city,
which has not received site plans from the developer, Assistant City Manager
Miguel Figueroa said Feb. 4. He declined to discuss the project in further
detail until the city receives those plans.
Prior to the council’s
vote to split the parcels, which city officials said would allow the project to
develop in phases, Figueroa gave the council a bit of project history.
“This is one of the first
things I had to deal with back in September 2017 when I was brought on in my
role as director of community and economic development. This project stood out
right away because of entitlements (such as the approved maps),” Figueroa told
the council Feb. 5.
The project “was very
attractive,” Figueroa said, had already gone through the entire economic-impact
report phase, had been approved and was ready to move forward when, for reasons
Figueroa did not explain, it stalled.
Apparently, from what
Figueroa described as the “Calexico Mega Park” team, which he did not further identify,
the same developers have been on board since Figueroa took over the project.
“What I do want to share
with you is, what is being proposed now is an updated development that suits
the needs of the city. A project of this magnitude could bring many
opportunities,” he told the council.
“I’m happy to report that
as a result of this picking up more traction, a group of professionals was
brought in to create a cohesive team that has fast-tracked a lot of what you
have here in front of you today. It’s part of the new breed of bringing new
life to the city,” Figueroa added.
The owners of the land
are listed as Calexico Mega Park LLC, said Jack Dunnam of the Imperial County
Assessor’s office. It appears the land has not changed hands since 2006 and the
most recent activity at the county level shows a lot-line adjustment signed off
by Mega Park managing partner Phil Heald in December 2008, Assessor’s records
Heald, a longtime Imperial
Valley resident, was known for years as the owner of the Imperial Stores
hardware chain and recently sold the firm.
It wasn’t immediately
available if Heald is still a principal member of Calexico Mega Park LLC. No
other information was available from the Assessor. Calexico Mega Park LLC does
maintain an El Centro post office box address.
Contact information for Heald
was not immediately available.
Council Approves Grant Application
Added to the council
meeting as an emergency item, the council approved 3-0 teaming with a long-time
affordable-apartment-builder, Chelsea Investment Corp. A $3.5 million state infrastructure
in-fill grant will be sought so the city could finish its part of
infrastructure improvements to several roads tied to an ongoing project.
Chelsea is the developer
of 274 affordable and market-rate condos and apartments south of Highway 98
west of Highway 111 as part of something called the Remington Project. However,
portions of the project are reportedly stymied by the city not being able to
afford the infrastructure improvements needed to build out several streets, explained
David Davis, a project manager with Chelsea working on the Remington condos/apartments.
The lack of
infrastructure is affecting Chelsea’s ability to get certificates of occupancy
for some of the units, he told the council.
The city and Chelsea want
to team up to seek no more than $3.5 million through the state Department of
Housing and Community Development, Davis said. Of that, $3.2 million is needed for
the city to build out the streets.
The funding became
available in October, Velasco said. The
deadline to seek the grant is Feb. 18, and Chelsea and the city only recently
became aware of it, Davis added.
Chelsea and the city qualify
to apply for the money because around 64 units of the development would be
considered fulfilling a need for fixed rent, low-income “affordable” housing,
Nuisance Ordinance Approved, Firm Hired
The council also approved
3-0 a one-year professional services agreement with Fire Prevention Services
Inc. of El Cajon to clean-up properties in the city cluttered with overgrown
weeds and strewn with trash, work Hodge said could begin almost immediately.
Describing it as a
“turn-key” operation, Calexico City Manager David Dale said the firm will
monitor nuisance-abatement citations, property clean-up and billing the
The city does not have
the staff or financial resources needed to run its own nuisance-abatement
operations, Dale added. The city will identify sites for initial code
violations or alert FPS to watch for troubled areas, Dale wrote in a report to
One area of concern is a
vacant lot near East Sherman Street and Heffernan Avenue, Hodge said. The city
has been unable to locate the owner and it has become an eyesore of weeds and
trash, overtaken by transients and littered with used drug paraphernalia.
Meanwhile, the council gave final approval to an amended section of the nuisance-abatement ordinance. It clarifies for both city officials and affected property owners what is expected in terms of keeping properties clean. As part of the ordinance, 24 common definitions and examples of ordinance violations were described. The amended ordinance will go into effect 30 days from Feb. 5.