by alberto garcia
A gala event at the new Cross Border Xpress bi-national terminal in Otay Mesa gave visitors a first peak around the world’s only airport skybridge to cross an international border.
Among the attendees were local and international leaders, including The Honorable Remedios Gomez Arnau, Mexican Consul General in San Diego, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas, Mexico’s Undersecretary of Tourism Francisco Maass, and representatives from Congressmembers Juan Vargas, Scott Peters, and Susan Davis.
The event was a kickoff dinner for the Mexico Moving Forward conference sponsored by UC San Diego’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the School of Global Policy and Strategy. The conference brings together business leaders, scholars, and policy makers to discuss Mexico’s progress and future direction.
CBX, as the Cross Border Xpress is known in the airport world, is scheduled to open to the public on December 8th. The new terminal is located directly across the border fence from Tijuana’s Rodriguez Airport and connects with the Mexican airport via an enclosed pedestrian skybridge. Travelers will be able to park on the US side and have direct access to flights departing Tijuana.
The terminal will serve an estimated 2 million annual Tijuana airport travelers that currently cross the border at the land ports of San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. The Tijuana airport serves more destinations in Mexico than other Southern California airports, and also offers direct flights to Shanghai not offered from San Diego.
“This will open up domestic travel throughout Mexico and many other destinations served from Tijuana while providing the security of parking in the US,” commented Eduardo R. Contreras, a Mexican national visiting San Diego.
CBX will offer short- and long-term parking lots, retail shops, duty-free stores, and complete Customs processing and screening. CBX users will be charged a toll of $15 per crossing, in addition to parking fees.
The $120 million CBX facility is a private project developed and operated by Otay Tijuana Venture, LLC, an investment group with US and Mexican shareholders including PAP Corp, PALAREO Inc., and EGI-Otay Investors, with lending from Invex and Bancomext.
One of the principal investors of the project is Boston-based billionaire Sam Zell, an international investor who has played a major role in real estate development, energy companies, as well as the Tribune newspaper company. Mr. Zell was on hand to speak at the dinner.
The terminal was designed by famed Mexican architect Ricardo Legoretta, known for his use of bright colors, play of light and shadow, and solid Platonic geometric shapes. The buildings also includes quartz quarried in Mexico.