Earlimart residents and patrons passing through south Tulare County on Highway 99 will soon have new shopping options.
Tulare County officials and project developers today broke ground on a new commercial center in Earlimart that plans to include an AutoZone and Dollar General, a supermarket, national fast food restaurants and other food and retail businesses. The White River Plaza site is located at the northeast corner of Ave. 56 and Highway 99 interchange.
"The White River Plaza project represents the largest retail commercial development ever built within the community of Earlimart," said Chairman Pete Vander Poel, who represents the Earlimart area on the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. "The jobs that will be created are welcome in Tulare County. The established national businesses associated with it will provide the residents of Earlimart and the surrounding area with quality services that will sustain and improve the community's economic well-being and quality of life."
This project has been in the planning steps by the developers over the last four years. The Tulare County Economic Development Office and the Planning Branch of the Tulare County Resource Manage Agency have been working closely with project developer, White River Plaza LLC, regarding the processing of the required parcel maps, lot line adjustments, and proper entitlements for both AutoZone and Dollar General projects.
The principal owners of White River Plaza LLC, Tom Hocking and Max Bacerra, are based in Delano and both have been actively involved in business, investment, and development in the Central Valley for more than 35 years.
“We are happy to be part of the growth and progress in the Community of Earlimart," Hocking said. "Max and I have been a part of the Delano and Earlimart area for a long time. We’re glad to bring in new development, especially national tenants to the Community of Earlimart.
Bacerra said both men wanted to help bring more job opportunities to Earlimart to bolster the local economy.
"At build-out of the entire project, White River Plaza will bring in 200-230 new jobs and will create a better quality of life for the residents of Earlimart,” Bacerra said.
County Resource Management Agency officials said Project Planner Dana Mettlen was the primary County planning contact for this project and has been commended for her outstanding project management skills and being able to deliver the project on schedule. Autosome and Dollar General are expected to be completed and open for business by the end of 2013.