City Council discusses possible four block shopping center

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - It’s the entrance not just to our city, but our state and our nation. Soon, the first four blocks of IH-35 could see a face lift.

The remodeling would change the view as people enter the country through bridge number two, all in hopes of all those travelers shopping in Laredo.

"This is what we are visualizing of the four blocks,” said architect Bernardo Pozas. “This project started with the idea of creating an experience center around the Mexican Consulate. In Mexico we would call it a ‘mercado.’"

Pozas says there's a reason why the proposed project is called 'link.'

"I think it's a big opportunity to present a contemporary view of Mexico and our culture in the U.S.”

The four blocks would be home to a shopping center equipped with plenty of underground parking for restaurants, stores, a movie theater, and even a hotel; all located at the first step into the country.

"I-35 is very important for the U.S. and Mexico. If you drive south, you go all the way to Mexico City. If you drive north, you go all the way to Canada."

Pozas says the sight would be very welcoming.

"This is what you would see right after you cross the bridge. You'd see a big plaza going up into the public spaces that we'd be generating."

Here's what some of the public had to say on social media:

Homero Cruz says, "It would be a great sight.”

Noelia Elizondo mentioned it's a "very ambitious project."

And Lacho Vela said, "good concept, but just another ‘white elephant’ Los Portales project doomed to fail."

For now, all those at City Hall expressed interest.

"We think it's something doable,” said Co-Interim City Manager Robert Eads. “It's something we would recommend, and we would like to move forward with the plan"

"We hope that this does come through, and that it's promising as it appears that it will be," said Alberto Torres, Councilman District 4.

Council was wondering about a time frame, but Pozas says there's still a lot of details that need to be worked out.

"We know it's feasible. We need to get there, and that's down the road within a few months."

The council also mentioned this project would help stimulate the area, which they hope also helps revive the Asteca neighborhood.

Mexican theater chain, Cinepolis, has been in talks with the architect of the project, but we'll just have to see where it all goes.

The architect mentioned although the project is in the very early stages, the initial design phase could take up to a year, and an additional two to three years could pass before the construction would be finished.