Sheppard Mullin client, Otay Tijuana Venture, announced this week that a cross-border pedestrian bridge linking San Diego with Tijuana’s A.L. Rodríguez International airport will be set to open next year. The project, which began in 2008 when Otay Tijuana Venture purchased the land in Otay Mesa, involved Presidential permits in both countries as well as unique Public Private Partnerships with U.S. and Mexican customs and immigration authorities. It is the first project to connect a U.S. facility with a foreign air terminal.
The privately funded and operated project will create a port of entry limited to toll-paying airline passengers that is unique on the U.S. border. It consists of an enclosed 390-foot-long bridge with divided north/south corridors that will allow passengers to walk across between the United States and Mexico, avoiding lengthy lines at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry. The bridge will connect the airport to a 65,000-square-foot structure on Otay Mesa that will include retail shops and restaurants, airline customer service counters , and short and long-term parking facilities. It will also include an area where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers would process passengers.
The construction of the Terminal and connecting bridge is funded in part by a loan from Bancomext (Mexico’s development bank) and Banco Invex. This is the first time that Mexico’s development bank has made a loan to a U.S. based developer for a project based in the U.S. and collateralized primarily by assets located in the U.S.
Sheppard Mullin advised Otay Tijuana Venture in all aspects of the development including land use matters, corporate structuring and cross border tax planning , as well as negotiation of the financing agreements, leases and construction contracts.