Developer Terry Manley plans to build 2,200-acre housing, retail and commercial development in Coachella. At a cost of $1 billion, his vision, called La Entrada,
would be on desert land south of Interstate 10, to the east of the All American Canal.
Manley is devoting his time and money to the project because he believes the East Valley is ripe for growth with the population of Riverside County expected to double in the next 40 years to more than four million people.
"The task for a developer in my mind is always to try to plan projects well in advance of growth, and just be there when the growth happens," said Manley.
Manley and his staff at Las Vegas-based New West Development have worked more than two years on firming up the scope of La Entrada, that will include 7,800 homes and about 900 acres of parks and open space. City leaders looking for economic growth like what they see.
"They've made a significant investment in planning for the infrastructure out in that area, water, sewer and also an interchange that will have to be built for this project to be viable," said Eduardo Garcia, the mayor of Coachella.
The I-10 interchange would provide easy access to the city by having Avenue 50 cut right through the development. While the city would have to put together the funding for the interchange, Manley said it's a business game changer, not only for his development, but also for the city of Coachella in general.
"That can create a tremendous amount of tax opportunity for the city of Coachella that currently doesn't exist," said Manley. "A lot of people don't know there isn't one hotel in Coachella right now, and that has a lot to do with access."
Once the La Entrada community is built out, Coachella could see its current population of 43,000 grow by as much as 30,000. But Manley warns the growth has to put into perspective since the development will be built in five separate phases.
"People tend to read provocative headlines and say, '30,000 people are moving in tomorrow, oh my gosh.' The reality is, this is going to play out over decades," said Manley.
First things first, ground breaking is still two years away pending the City Council's approval of the master plan. The council is scheduled to vote on the project Nov. 13.
The final public forum regarding the project is scheduled for Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Coachella Boys and Girls Club.