Construction will begin today on an $18-million shopping center in Tijuana within walking distance of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Plaza Valle del Rio is aimed at attracting U.S. tourist dollars, according to developer Sergio Carrera, who is chairman of the board of the Plaza Valle del Rio Corp.
"We designed the project with a mentality of what it is Americans want," said Carrera.
"The motif looks Mexican. It looks clean, and tourists don't have to take their car into Mexico. We wanted to have all the amenities that would attract the tourist."
The complex, he said, will be 500 yards from the San Ysidro-Tijuana border, on a 1-million-square-foot site along the Tijuana River bed, near the intersection of Paseo Tijuana and Via Oriente.
The shopping complex, to be completed by February, 1987, is within a redevelopment zone that already includes the new Centro Cultural.
Plaza Valle del Rio will have more than 500 shops, selling Mexican handicrafts, leather goods and European imports, Carrera said. The complex will be open-air with several restaurants and a central plaza.
Carrera, who is from Mexico City, said Tijuana is an ideal place to build a shopping complex. The developers also considered Tijuana a good location because the government of Baja California is very supportive of the project, he said.
"If this is successful we plan to do it in other border towns," Carrera said. "So far, it looks promising."