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CHULA VISTA, CA-Gateway Chula Vista, an $80 million mixed-use project boosters say will change the face of this South County city’s Downtown, has opened its first 102,259 sf of office and retail space.

Chula Vista business and civic leaders Monday marked the opening the highly anticipated Gateway Chula Vista center, expected to boost the Chula Vista economy through the generation of an estimated 1,200 new jobs.

A joint project of Gateway Chula Vista, LLC — a collaboration of real estate developers — and the City of Chula Vista’s Redevelopment Agency, the complex is the first major development in Chula Vista’s Downtown area in almost 20 years. The three-phase complex, twice the size of Chula Vista’s current largest office building, will consist of one five-story and two six-story luxury office and retail structures. At build out, the project will total 346,000 sf.

The first phase has already attracted such tenants as American Water Works Service Company; San Diego County Credit Union; Quizno’s; Health Care International, Starbucks Coffee House; Town Pa Ma Express; External Images; Global Fax Network; Chiyoda Integre of America; Velure Land Investments; Mountain West Real Estate; Property Service Management, LLC Executive Suite Center; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The first phase is expected to be fully leased by the end of the year.

The second and third phases of the project, a total of 240,000 sf, are in the planning stages and scheduled to break ground this fall and summer 2003, respectively.

The development offers quality retail and office space for companies looking to relocate or in search of an alternative to the pricey and congested office hubs of Downtown, University Town Center and Sorrento Valley, says Jim Pieri, President of Mountain West Real Estate and a development partner.

The city has committed up to $7.3 million for development cost. Other city sponsored efforts to further rejuvenate the area include road reconstruction, $700,000 in streetscape improvements and matching grant programs to upgrade facades and business roadside signage.

The city’s “smart growth” policies promote “a healthy balance of commercial and residential development in our redevelopment project areas,” says city Mayor Shirley Horton.

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