Menifee Mayor Cites Reasons for Calling 2014 a 'Banner Year'

Updated story corrects the location of the proposed Stater Bros. center to the southeast corner of N...

Updated story corrects the location of the proposed Stater Bros. center to the southeast corner of Newport and Menifee roads.

Saying 2014 will be a "banner year" for Menifee, Mayor Scott Mann this week outlined several ongoing and upcoming projects as evidence of the city's positive direction of growth.

In an interview with Menifee 24/7, Mann cited the completion this week of the Newport Road widening project as an important step, but just the first of many projects expected in 2014 and beyond. He said these projects will not only improve traffic flow in Menifee, but also the city's economic base and variety of public amenities.

According to Mann (left), plans are in the "pre-application review process" for a large commercial center on the southeast corner of Newport Road and Menifee Road. This parcel of land is across the street from the open field that has has most recently been used as a parking lot for construction vehicles on the Menifee Road widening project.

Mann said the complex would include 13 buildings and that 11 tenants are already committed. He said the project is expected to include a Stater Bros. market, CVS store, child care center and three restaurants.

"Now don't you see how it made sense to widen Newport Road first?" Mann asked. "I'm grateful that the staff saw the value in working on the (Menifee Road) Missing Link and Newport Road now. It's been a little painful in the interim, but these improved roads will greatly improve traffic flow in that area."

None of this is official, however. Mann acknowledged that nothing has gone before the Planning Commission. And Jeff Wyman, economic development director for the City of Menifee, wouldn't comment on specifics of any such plan.

"There is a developer looking to possibly move forward with a shopping center on that corner, but a formal development application has not been submitted to the City and therefore I do not have additional information at this time," Wyman wrote in an email to Menifee 24/7.

Mann also praised the beginning of grading on the property fronting the north side of Newport Road just west of Haun Road, where the Newport Towne Square project (right) is scheduled to include an Applebee's, Five Guys and Jersey Mike's restaurants. And that's just the first phase of a project which eventually will include several retail shops.

Beyond that, the mayor expressed optimism that a major movie theater complex would be coming to Menifee soon. According to Mann, city officials will soon announce a deal to bring a 17-screen theater complex to an undisclosed location in town.

"We're in final negotiations," he said. Asked about the location, Mann would only say that it would be "oriented in the center of town."

This view, looking southeast from Newport Road, shows land bordering Newport and Haun roads where a commercial center would be built.
Again, Wyman would not comment on the specifics of any negotiations regarding a theater complex.

"The City continues to focus on attracting a multiplex movie theater operator to the City in response to requests from the residents of Menifee," Wyman said. "From our aggressive outreach efforts over the past couple of years, our economic development team has attracted the attention of several large movie theater companies who are interested in opening a multiplex theater in Menifee.

"We have been negotiating with movie theater companies and property owners to secure a location for the theater development project with the end goal of securing a commitment to build a multiplex theater in Menifee."

One possible location for the theater is the parcel of land on the west side of Haun Road at Newport Road, across from Countryside Marketplace. The first building on that large parcel of land was the new Santa Rosa Academy, located on the south portion of the parcel. An access road heading south from Newport Road toward the school is under construction.

The proposed Menifee Town Center project has been in the planning stages for some time. No formal plans have been submitted for the property, which could include retail space and eventually a civic center and courthouse.

"We have tenants set for that parcel also," Mann said. "There will be some well-known brand name shops and retail space."

This is only a proposed project until a formal application is submitted by the developer, however.

"A developer is working on a possible center that would include new retail/shopping stores and restaurants," Wyman said. "A formal development application has not been submitted to the City for this project, and as such I do not have additional specifics on the businesses."

Even so, with so many developers interested and land available, it appears inevitable that such projects will be submitted and approved before long. And Mann said that the schedule of road improvement projects is on task to handle the ever-increasing traffic load.

The mayor told Menifee 24/7 that the city has received the final $14.6 million needed to fund the Newport Road interchange project, which is expected to begin sometime this spring. The Newport Road bridge will be widened and freeway on- and off-ramps reconfigured, eliminating the need for some traffic signals.

In addition, Mann said, he is optimistic about the city's ability to receive federal funding for the remaining $12 million needed for the Scott Road interchange project, scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015. Next up would be the proposed Holland Road freeway overpass, which is still early in the design and funding stages.



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