Construction began recently near the United States-Mexico border on a 311-acre industrial park that developers hope will take advantage of the flood of imports and exports.
The Otay Crossings Commerce Park, in the works since 2007, is one of the largest industrial developments in San Diego County in years, costing $50 million to $60 million to develop the barren site. It is a partnership of two Southern California companies, developer and property manager Kearny Real Estate Company and real estate investment firm PCCP.
Up to 88,000 trucks a month in 2017 passed through the Otay Mesa border crossing, said the Department of Transportation, carrying everything from TVs to auto parts. Kearny's senior vice president Jeff Givens said the goal at Otay Crossings is to have facilities for trucks to come and go that can accommodate warehouse, storage and distribution facilities.
"There's a cross economy between the two countries," he said. "There's a lot of businesses currently in Otay (Mesa), and more coming in the future, that operate on both sides of the border on a daily basis."
Rather than just goods coming from Mexican factories, or maquiladoras, Kearny anticipates movement from both sides of the border because many products have some assembly in the United States and then are completed in Mexico, or vice versa.
Also, it may not just be business related to the border at the site. A lack of industrial space in San Diego County may attract other businesses, Givens said.
"There are just fewer and fewer places for your small warehousing business to go," he said. "With the growth of South County, where a lot of the growth will be in the next 10 years, we may see Otay Mesa, in general, as being a real viable place for businesses that are not necessarily tied into Mexico."
The site is located near plans for an extension of State Route 11, that will connect to SR-905 and SR-125. It is also near plans for a new border crossing that is expected to speed up truck delivery times called Otay Mesa East, also known as Otay II.
The California Transportation Commission allocated $45 million for the project in June last year. That's in addition to $49.3 million in federal funding awarded in 2016 from U.S. Department of Transportation.
Kearny plans to complete the first phase of Otay Crossings, which includes roughly 111 acres, by summer 2019. Work involves putting in a massive sewer line, roads and water. The sites are build-ready but they may construct buildings for clients if hired to do so.
Kearny is under talks with San Diego County for it to use 40 acres to develop an emergency vehicle operations course for training members of the city police and Sheriff's department. Another 120 acres will go to CalTrans to complete the last 1.8 mile of State Route 11 and the new port of entry.
The San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG, and CalTrans latest preliminary plan for the Otay Mesa East crossing is for construction to start in mid-2020 and construction on SR-11 to begin in early 2019.