Edit ModuleShow Tags

Front Pages


Published:

(page 1 of 4)

San Diego's Sam MarascoA Border Gateway to Binational Prosperity


The grand opening of the International Gateway of the Americas at the U.S.-Mexico border November 16 is not just the unveiling of one more shopping mall and entertainment complex. It’s a major commitment to creating a true cross-border relationship with widespread economic and social repercussions. A local development company is betting its new shopping complex will be both an indication and a beneficiary of that commitment.

“It’s in perfect step with public policy,” says an elated Sam Marasco, whose San Diego–based LandGrant Development is spearheading the $225 million redevelopment project in concert with the city of San Diego. His deal calls for Marasco to pay more than $20 million dollars in infrastructure costs that the city will pay back only with tax increment and sales tax money from his project—in other words, no sales, no payback.

But Marasco is delighted with the deal, in spite of economic uncertainty in a lot of places. He says the increasingly friendly relations between President George W. Bush and Mexico President Vicente Fox couldn’t come at a better time for the project he’s been working on for more than six years: “This is a huge signal to world organizations and countries that America is becoming less Euro-centered and more north- and south-centered.”

Nearly 80 high-end outlet stores and restaurants are opening in the first 400,000 square feet of the International Gateway project; another 250,000 square feet will be filled over the next few years on the 67 acres west of Interstate 5 in San Ysidro. The market they want to attract: shoppers from both sides of the border drawn to the outlet stores and eateries occupying pedestrian-friendly “villages” within the mall.

“The center has always been targeted primarily at the Mexican residents living in all of Baja California and those who already shop in the United States,” Marasco says. “But we are hoping for an equal split with south San Diego County residents as well—high-end shoppers on both sides of the border who want to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.”

The mall spruces up an area sorely in need of it—and Marasco says he’s committed to sharing the potential wealth with business neighbors across the freeway in the old San Ysidro business district.

Despite tighter border security after the September terrorist attacks, Marasco and Pam Hightman, the city’s redevelopment official overseeing the mall, say plans are still in the works for a pedestrian bridge from Mexico directly into the complex. The project calls for a huge arch across the border to create a dramatic landmark and emphasize the connection between the two countries.

“The new port of entry we’ve proposed and applied for has been well-received on both sides of the border,” Marasco says. “It’s really state-of-the-art—and will actually increase security because we’ll be able to install the latest equipment right from the start.”

San Diego redevelopment program manager Hightman agrees. She says there’s no indication from the federal government that the plan will be scrapped because of heightened security concerns. “We’re still very optimistic it will happen,” Hightman says.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

11 Off-Site Events during Comic-Con 2017

No badge, no problem—these happenings are free and open to the public

San Diego Fourth of July Guide 2017

Celebrate Independence Day all weekend long with fireworks, festivals, parades, drink specials, and more

6 Inspiring San Diego Women Give Their Top Advice

Plus, your chance to nominate who you think should be celebrated next
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Jason Mraz Is Growing Coffee on a Farm in Oceanside
    We spoke to the musician about all the whys — why food, why farming, why Oceanside, why coffee?
  2. San Diego Fourth of July Guide 2017
    Celebrate Independence Day all weekend long with fireworks, festivals, parades, drink specials, and more
  3. San Diego's Best Restaurants 2017
    The top tacos, chicken wings, seafood, burgers, kid-friendly eateries, breweries, and more
  4. The Man Behind San Diego's $26 Billion Company
    Will Illumina's new hotshot CEO be able to lead the San Diego genomics giant into the complex world of clinical care?
  5. Celebrating Women: Shanna Missett Nelson
    Like a good dancer, the Jazzercise president has mastered her balance—of career, family, and life
  6. San Diego's Restaurant Bubble Is About to Burst
    Restaurants are facing rising costs, cultural shifts, and other challenges
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

9 Reasons You Need a Better Barber

Get the look and service you deserve at this East Village salon

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags