Ven­dors face evic­tion from build­ing owner

Imperial Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - BY VIN­CENT OSUNA Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Busi­ness ven­dors in the shop­ping cen­ter bet­ter known as Price Cen­ter, which has stood for more than two decades, are ne­go­ti­at­ing with the build­ing owner as they face evic­tion at the end of this month.

The long-stand­ing shop­ping cen­ter, now named Smart Buy, has been the goto shop­ping cen­ter for more than two decades be­fore main stream shop­ping malls de­railed most of its busi­nesses. The cen­ter now op­er­ates as half a stor­age shed and half busi­nesses.

Re­cently, the build­ing owner in­formed its 19 busi­ness ven­dors it will evict them as it looks to ex­pand its Self Stor-It stor­age ca­pac­ity.

“The own­er­ship is de­vel­op­ing some changes in what they’re do­ing. The de­ci­sion to make changes in the use of the fa­cil­ity is no longer for gen­eral re­tail,” said Calexico Mayor Mar­itza Hur­tado.

How­ever, two Price Cen­ter ven­dors, who re­quested be anony­mous, told the Im­pe­rial Val­ley Press on Thurs­day that they, along with other ten­ants, have been in con­tact with the stor­age fa­cil­ity owner and strongly be­lieve they face no risk of evic­tion.

If those ven­dors are evicted, Hur­tado said the city is ready to of­fer them as­sis­tance.

“I do un­der­stand that this change is go­ing to in­con­ve­nience those ten­ants that have been there. Th­ese is­sues that we’re fac­ing in the city are hap­pen­ing at a time where we are po­si­tioned with pro­fes­sional re­sources that will ben­e­fit those go­ing through th­ese is­sues as best as pos­si­ble,” she said.

The Calexico Cham­ber of Com­merce is also ready to of­fer as­sis­tance to those ven­dors.

“Ev­ery­body that can is will­ing to help them,” said Hildy Car­rillo, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the city’s Cham­ber of Com­merce, who sees both pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives in the idea of the Price Cen­ter’s pos­si­ble change in busi­ness.

“Some­times it seems like the sky is fall­ing but it isn’t. Busi­ness will con­tinue and we will need to move a lit­tle more to get those peo­ple in new lo­ca­tions,” said Car­rillo, who noted that most the ven­dors have been busi­ness at the Price Cen­ter since it first opened.

Car­rillo noted one ben­e­fit if the stor­age fa­cil­ity does ex­pand.

“The fact that there’s an­other big busi­ness in there is pre­fect, be­cause a lot of peo­ple need stor­age and or in the process of mov­ing. It’s also good for per­sonal use for those that don’t want to use out­door stor­ages.” said Car­rillo. “Things are look­ing up even though it seems like it’s not for the econ­omy in Calexico. It’s not dooms­day. It’s go­ing to be a hard­ship for the busi­nesses, but we’re in it to help them. We’re not just go­ing to leave them there.”

Calexico’s Com­mu­nity and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Di­rec­tor Miguel Figueroa also as­sured the city is work­ing equally with both the owner and ven­dors.

“We are as­sist­ing the prop­erty owner and ten­ants of the Price Cen­ter prop­erty so both of them can learn about the needs that they have,” stated Figueroa. “We are glad to help out and be able to work with the prop­erty owner and com­mu­ni­cate so they can find a res­o­lu­tion for both sides.”

VIN­CENT OSUNA PHOTO

A view in­side the Calexico Price Cen­ter on Thurs­day evening. A plan has been pro­posed to shut down the Price Cen­ter and use the build­ing en­tirely for stor­age busi­ness, Self Stor-It, that al­ready oc­cu­pies half of the build­ing.

VIN­CENT OSUNA PHOTO

A view out­side of build­ing on Ha­cienda Drive which cur­rently houses Self Stor-It and Calexico Price Cen­ter on Thurs­day evening. A plan has been pro­posed to shut down the Price Cen­ter and use the build­ing en­tirely for the stor­age busi­ness.

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