The water tower on First Street has been Calexico’s symbol for decades but due to structural issues, the landmark structure will have to be moved to a new location.
The issue was one of the topics of the Sept. 21st Calexico City Council meeting where the council encourage the City Manager to start looking for a new place to preserve one of the few left historic landmarks in Calexico.
The city owns property at 352 East First Street where the city-owned water tower is situated. In March 2020, the City issued a Request for Proposals for the acquisition of the water tower site and telecommunication leases, and on June 3, 2020, the Council selected the highest bidder, SBA Towers X LLC (SBA), who proposed to obtain a 55-year easement over the water tower and obtain the assignment of all existing leases in exchange for one-time lump sum payment to the city to receive 70 percent of gross rental revenue for any new tenants added to the water tower.
Since the initial selection of SBA, structural defects have been discovered in the support structure of the water tower. Due to these structural defects, the parties have negotiated an amendment with SBA to require decommissioning, removal, and replacement of the existing water tower with a faux water tower.
Under the third amendment for purchase of the easement and updated agreement, SBA would complete the demolition and replacement of the water tower, relocate all existing tenants, and maintain and repair the replacement water tower for the easement term, in exchange for a flat fee of $1,005,000 and SBA absorbs all other costs to complete the demolition, installation of the replacement owner, and relocation of the existing tenants. The City will receive 70 percent of all gross rental revenue for any new tenants added to the replacement tower.
The replacement faux water tank will be designed to match the existing water tower color scheme and the “Welcome to the City of Calexico” message. Additionally, all antennas, wires, and conduits for the wireless facilities will be placed with the faux water tank to minimize the visual and aesthetic impact of the wireless facilities and appurtenances.
Additionally, SBA will remove and preserve the existing Water Tank on the property until such time the City identifies a permanent location for the existing water tank to continue to be used and enjoyed as a city landmark. The city will be obligated, at its own cost, to relocate the existing water tank to a permanent location following the SBA’s removal.
The water tower is no longer used for water storage. However, in the last couple of decades, the City has entered into contracts with various wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon) and with the Customs and Border Patrol to allow the placement of wireless antennas and equipment on the water tower and the ground beneath the water tower. Collectively, these contracts currently generate approximately $90,000 in annual lease revenues. In 2019, the City discovered a structural defect in one of the support footings of the water tower and made some limited repairs.