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Highway 99 center may drive tax revenue into Tulare County

Highway 99 center may drive tax revenue into Tulare County

Sequoia Gateway Commerce Center proposed for corner of Highway 99 and Caldwell Ave.

@TheSunGazette

VISALIA – A highway commercial/mixed use project is proposed for the southeast corner of Caldwell Avenue and Highway 99 that would provide services to motorists, a visitor’s center and tax revenue to the County of Tulare and the City of Visalia.

The project will also be home to Valley Children’s Medical Group’s new Specialty Care Center. Once completed, it is estimated that the Specialty Care Center will see up to 30,0000 South Valley patients each year over the next decade as the region continues to grow.

The Sequoia Gateway Commerce Center, proposed by Sequoia Gateway LLC partners Fred Ruiz and Bill Travis, would be built in phases over the next eight to 10 years, explained Stephen Peck, the project’s planner and developer. The pediatric Specialty Care Center clinic and highway commercial uses would be built first, with hotels, restaurants, retail stores and a visitors’ center at build-out.

“This project will help fill a void in highway commercial services for travelers on State Route 99,” Peck noted. “It will feature numerous environmentally friendly features, including electric vehicle charging stations and landscaping designed with minimal water use in mind.”

Plans call for signals at the northbound and southbound highway ramps and other circulation improvements valued at $10.5 million, Peck added.

The Tulare County Resource Management Agency has reviewed and approved the draft environmental impact report for release. The next steps include review by the Tulare County Planning Commission, the Airport Land Use Committee and the Board of Supervisors. The report details potential impacts on air, water and, traffic, utilities and public services, and provides options for mitigating any impacts.

Upon approval of the report, site improvements are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2019 on the 12-acre first phase. New businesses and highway commercial uses could open as early as the first quarter of 2020.

“We estimate that Sequoia Gateway will generate 2,300 jobs and over $17 million in tax revenue each year, to be distributed among schools, hospitals, County road maintenance, libraries and fire service,” Peck explained. “Analysis indicates that there is about $117 million in uncaptured highway commercial business. In its early stages, this project is expected to fill about 15 percent of that need.”

While Sequoia Gateway is located in unincorporated Tulare County, planners expect that the project will eventually be incorporated into the City of Visalia. A tax revenue sharing agreement between both entities is in development.

For further information, contact Steve Peck, 731-5778, or visit www.sequoiagateway.com.

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