Mission Gateway, the $225 million development at the northeast corner of Johnson Drive and Roe Avenue, is something the city and its residents have been waiting on for more than 15 years.
The lot has been vacant since the Mission Center Mall closed in 2005 and demolished the following year.
New York-based Cameron Group LLC has owned the property since then, but no project has been successfully completed in the years since, due to a number of reasons.
In the last year, economic impacts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have put a stop to construction of the Mission Gateway project.
And more recently, the future of the city of Mission’s development agreement with Cameron — which includes a series of tax incentives — has been jeopardized because Cameron principal Tom Valenti failed to pay $356,000 in annual real estate taxes for the project that were due on May 10.
The Post has reported on Mission Gateway for years.
Here’s a look at some of our past reporting detailing how the long-planned mixed-use development has, so far, never come together:
- The Mission Mall closed over the course of 2005 and was completely demolished in 2006.
- By 2006, the city’s planning commission approved a redevelopment plan with Cameron Group LLC for a mixed use development.
From 2007 to 2015, developers submitted revised plans to the planning commission and city council. Some of these proposals, such as a plan submitted in 2013, were approved with millions in public financing incentives. The centerpiece of the site plan at this time was a proposed Walmart, but the specifics around a Walmart — such as the number of floors and square footage — changed often.
- Between the numerous revised plans, developers and the city held an original groundbreaking event in August 2013. The groundbreaking was supposed to mark the end of hurdles brought on by the 2008 recession that halted Valenti’s original plans for the site.
- Although construction was intended to ramp up after the groundbreaking, nothing happened for nearly a year. By June 2014, Valenti went before the city council to explain that the construction delay was related to not having a junior anchor tenant secured for the site.
- After years of back-and-forth, Walmart pulled out of the plan in October 2016. Valenti, at that time, said it was a mutual decision and vowed to find an anchor tenant to replace the mega retailer.
- In 2017, the Mission City Council approved a new final site plan that remains the one developers are working off of currently. It detailed a restaurant, hotel, retail space and an apartment building.
- By 2018, the city of Mission began issuing more than $200 million in industrial revenue bonds as part of the public financing support approved for the project.
- Preliminary construction began in July 2018, a week after the developer paid $2 million in back taxes.
- In May 2019, developers paid back millions of dollars owed to contractors after three liens were filed against them in January and February 2019.
Around that same time in 2019, Cinergy Cinemas and Entertainment announced plans to open at the development, but construction was put on hold as developers worked on the design, developer Andy Ashwal said at that time.
- Construction resumed in June 2019 after months of inactivity, caused partially by the weather as well as developers focusing on design, financial and contract details.
- The development hit a milestone in January 2020 as construction of Cinergy, the 90,000 square foot complex at the heart of the development, began. A massive, white concrete structure began going up on the site.
- Just two months later, in March 2020, COVID-19 shutdowns halted construction. Developers remained hopeful that work would resume later in 2020.
- While developers held onto that hope through May, by June 2020, developers said construction wouldn’t be able to resume indefinitely due to COVID-19 economic impacts.
- Valenti spoke before the city council in October 2020 to elaborate on the economic impacts causing the construction delay. Still, no new work was being done at the site.
- After more than a year of inactivity — with no word from Valenti after October 2020 — the city of Mission in May learned that developers had failed to pay $356,000 worth of real estate taxes by a May 10, 2021, deadline. The city gave Cameron Group 60 days to pay the back taxes or risk having the current development agreement terminated.