Mission greenlights initial agreement for latest version of Mission Gateway plan

Mission Gateway

Mission City Council on Wednesday approved a predevelopment agreement, which city officials say protects the city's interests, with Mission Gateway developers for the newly proposed plan. File image.

The Mission City Council on Wednesday approved a predevelopment agreement for a new iteration of a plan to develop the much-watched Mission Gateway site.

After defaulting last year on a previous agreement for failure to complete the project, developers Andy Ashwal and Matt and Tom Valenti presented a new plan to city officials earlier this month.

“This is an unenviable position that we are all in, but we are all going to do what we think is best for the city,” Councilmember Hillary Thomas said Wednesday’s council meeting. “I just want the public to have that top of mind.”

New plan details

While the core features of the previous plan are still included in the new plan, changes include a smaller food hall and more apartments.

Previously, the food hall was projected to be 40,000 square feet but will now be somewhere between 10,000 to 15,000 square feet with anywhere from 10 to 15 food stalls.

An apartment building would also sit above the food hall, at the corner of Johnson Drive and Roe. The number of apartment units has more than doubled from the 2017 plan from 168 units to 372 units.

The development hit a milestone in January 2020 as construction of a 90,000-square-foot complex at the heart of the development, began.

The massive, white concrete structure that went up remains unfinished, and the site has seen little real progress since the start of the pandemic.

Protections for city

City Administrator Laura Smith told the city council on Wednesday that the city cannot choose to ignore property owners who bring forward proposals.

Smith added that the city is obligated to hear the property owner or developer out, and predevelopment agreements protect the city.

The Mission Gateway predevelopment agreement approved on Wednesday protects the city in the following ways, as outlined in city documents:

  • First, developers will establish a $10,000 fund to reimburse Mission for expenses related to the “discussion and review of a final development agreement.”
  • The agreement does not require Mission to approve a final development plan nor public incentives related to this project.
  • Mission can terminate negotiations if the developer fails to pay taxes on time, if there are code violations at the site or if there is “a judicial foreclosure action” pending against the property.

Still, a few residents expressed frustration with the lack of movement at Mission Gateway and the developer’s failed attempts.

Kandace Khoury said she’s come to the conclusion that Mission Gateway has not received “a good faith effort” from developers.

Khoury said she doesn’t “feel that there has been even a minuscule effort (from developers) to engage the public” and keep them informed.

“I delayed buying my house in Mission because I wanted to see what was happening at Mission Gateway, and I can’t believe I’m the only one,” Khoury said.

Mayor Sollie Flora echoed Thomas’ comments, and said the city does have to hear developers out on proposals and let them go through the process.

Flora said the predevelopment agreement approved Wednesday protects the city’s interest as that process continues.

The city council unanimously approved the predevelopment agreement. Councilmember Ken Davis was absent.

Check out the Post’s timeline of how Mission Gateway got to this point here.