Mexicali West is in escrow to be sold in early 2019 to a Northern California developer who has not disclosed what it might do with the property, though there may be some suggestion it will reopen as a restaurant.

The popular diner is scheduled to close on or near Dec. 31, at which time 55 positions will be cut. Controller Michael Guerra said some employees have already found work elsewhere and some have expressed plans to retire, while others may transfer to the company’s sister location downtown.

Terms of the transaction, set to close in the first week of January, have not been disclosed.

The 8,000-square-foot restaurant, situated on 1.9 acres at the southeast corner of California Avenue and Stockdale Highway, was offered for sale in August for $3.85 million.

Guerra said the buyer has not indicated what it plans to do with the property. But because the company expressed interest in the building itself, he said, it may be that the plan is to operate it as a restaurant.

"They just really like the property and they did like the building," he said, "but they didn’t say if that (reopening as a restaurant) is what their intentions were."

Mexicali West has insisted new owners not reopen the property under the Mexicali name.

Half a dozen different entities contacted the owner about possibly buying the property, he said, adding some were local and some were from outside the area.

Having recognized during the sale process that many people were saddened it would eventually be closed, Guerra said the owners are considering some kind of celebration thanking customers. There might also be a party for its employees.

"We're looking at all that stuff," he said.

The company has said two of its owners are nearing retirement and would like to stop running two locations at once.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf.

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