After a long back-and-forth discussion, the Turlock Irrigation Board of Directors and Hall Equities Group were able to find an agreement on the appeal that was before the Board at Tuesday's meeting that will keep the Monte Vista Crossings expansion on track for a fall opening.
In a 4-1 vote, the Board of Directors voted and approved a motion to allow a three year letter of credit worth $150,000 for Hall Equities Group if the appeal before the Board was withdrawn.
The original motion before the Board on Tuesday was just to approve or deny the appeal made by Hall Equities Group concerning the construction of an electrical loop as part of the electrical infrastructure of the Monte Vista Crossings expansion south of Kohl’s.
Completion of the expansion was set to be delayed from the fall opening if the appeal had been denied by TID, as the expansion had no power prior to the meeting.
“My whole objective here is to bring a vibrant center to the city,” said Tom Miller, Hall Equities Group Project Manager for the expansion. “Everyone wants to be open before Christmas, but we’re having serious repercussions from not having power.”
Following the approved motion, TID staff and Hall Equities Group were expected to work together to get power turned on in the expansion as soon as possible.
TID was requiring Hall Equities Group to build an electrical loop, a circuit that feeds power in two directions, at the southern end of the expansion to increase reliability for the tenants in Monte Vista Crossings. Hall Equities Group argued that they had only recently heard of the electrical loop, and felt that reliability would not suffer without one.
“To be honest, I’ve been working on this project for about eight years, I’ve never heard the word ‘loop’ until this discussion right now,” said Miller. “[Ed Jeffers, TID Electrical Engineering and Operations Department Manager] talks about it’s always been a plan to provide a loop… It wasn’t brought up when Safeway was done in 2003, it wasn’t brought up when Bed, Bath and Beyond was done in 2004, and, primarily, it wasn’t done in 2007 when Kohl’s [was done]. Kohl’s was the end of our shopping center. We didn’t own that south parcel, that south parcel was a Walmart parcel.”
TID suggested an option of a letter of credit, where Hall Equities Group would have one year to build the loop, or pay for the cost to install it. But while the group agreed a letter of credit would be feasible, they felt the time on the letter was not.
“A year is just not enough time to get tenants,” said Miller.
Hall Equities Group, does not at this time own the entire parcel bordered by Tuolumne Road, Countryside Drive, and Highway 99. The only piece of the parcel that is currently owned by them is what is being worked on at this moment. Hall Equities Group fears they would build the loop, only to have to rip it up and start over, based on what future tenants and layout may be in the rest of the parcel.
“We’re fine building this,” said Miller. “We’re just not in the market of throwing money out there just to have the potential to have it ripped up and built again.”
Miller added that the loop can wait, as what is under construction now can be powered reliably with the current infrastructure.
“The loop is not needed to provide power for what we’re building today…” said Miller. “We could turn on the switch and there’d be power there right now.”
After lots of back-and-forth between lawyers, the TID Board of Directors and staff, and Hall Equities Group representatives, all sides found a shared desire to get the Monte Vista Crossings expansion open by the holiday shopping season and eventually get an electrical loop installed at the expansion.
TID Director Joe Alamo, of Ceres, said he wants construction to continue so everyone can “start shopping for the holidays. My daughter wants Justice [& Brothers] in there.”
The TID Board of Directors eventually moved a motion, offered by Director Rob Santos, to allow Hall Equities Group a three year letter of credit, despite TID General Manager Casey Hashimoto disagreeing with the length of time.
“I’ve made my recommendation and I stand by it,” said Hashimoto. “It’s a one year letter of credit.”
On a 4-1 vote, the Board approved the motion to give Hall Equities Group a three year letter of credit, with Hall Equities Group withdrawing their appeal and Director Michael Frantz, of Hickman, giving the only dissenting vote. Hall Equities Group will also come before the Board annually to give an update on the acquisition and construction process of the rest of the parcel.