San Diego Business Journal

Coastal Panel OKs Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan

By Lou Hirsh Friday, August 10, 2012

The California Coastal Commission has approved the latest revisions to Chula Vista’s bayfront master plan, clearing the way for up to $2 billion in new residential and commercial development to begin within the next four years.

“The important thing is that we now have the green light,” said Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox at a press conference following the decision, noting that city efforts to develop its waterfront date back more than a decade. “It’s jobs, it’s the economy, it’s going to allow residents to enjoy the waterfront like they haven’t before.”

Cox said construction of the first commercial developments could get under way in early 2016. The Port of San Diego this year will initiate the process of obtaining requests for qualifications and proposals for commercial developments, which could be carried out by one or more developers.

Commercial plans call for development of up to three hotels with approximately 2,850 rooms; 220,000 square feet of commercial recreation and marine related offices; 100,000 square feet of restaurants; 245,000 square feet of retail; and 415,000 square feet of meeting and conference center space.

Chula Vista officials said the first project expected to move forward is a multi-phase, 11-building waterfront condominium development with up to 1,500 units, being developed by San Diego-based Pacifica Cos. Allison Rolfe, Pacifica’s director of planning, said the process of gaining city and port development approvals for the residential project will likely be completed over the next year to 18 months.

City and port officials have projected that at full build-out, private developers will have invested $1.5 billion to $2 billion in waterfront projects. Developments are expected to generate about 7,000 construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs, and generate $1.3 billion in new tax revenue over 20 years.

Marco Gonzalez, an attorney for a local bayfront environmental coalition that has been monitoring development proposals, said the master plan now has sufficient elements to buffer wildlife and nearby residents from the effects of development. There are also measures in place for commercial developers to clean up a formerly unusable industrial site.

Meeting Aug. 9 in Santa Cruz, the Coastal Commission approved the latest revised proposals worked out by the city of Chula Vista and Port of San Diego. They included relocating a 250-room hotel proposed for the site, establishing certain public view corridors, and redesigning the conference center to incorporate public amenities.