Byline: Taylor Hill
CHULA VISTA — Before Chula Vista’s 556-acre Bayfront Master Plan can move toward reshaping San Diego’s South Bay, a defunct power plant must be demolished.
The power plant, long an obstacle in the path of developing the waterfront, is now scheduled to be taken down in one large implosion, amending an earlier plan that included two separate detonations.
The plant’s demolition was originally approved by the California Coastal Commission June 14, with the plant’s previous operator, Dynegy South Bay LLC, and demolition team Silverado Contractors planning a two-phase implosion.
To minimize impacts to the surrounding communities, Dynegy submitted an amendment of its demolition permit to the Coastal Commission. With a single implosion, noise levels would be reduced, the need to re-route traffic in the immediate area would be lessened and the demolition schedule would be shortened by approximately two months.
“The city of Chula Vista supports Dynegy South Bay’s decision to amend its Coastal Development Permit,” said Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox. “Demolishing the power plant with a single implosion will expedite creation of an unobstructed view corridor for the residents of Chula Vista and moves us closer to creating a world-class resort and residential destination on our portion of San Diego Bay, as outlined in the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan.”
Since the plant’s final decommissioning in 2011, Silverado has been dismantling parts of the structure — including pipes, lights, controls, duct work and tanks. Warehouses, storage buildings, tanks and other ancillary equipment are being removed using heavy equipment.
“The Port of San Diego and the city of Chula Vista’s goal has always been to remove the South Bay Power Plant swiftly and safely,” said Ann Moore, vice chairwoman of the Board of Port Commissioners. “We believe the amended project will achieve that result, allowing plans for a redeveloped and improved waterfront to come to fruition.”
Dynegy South Bay will outline a revised demolition timeline to reflect the single implosion event, and the implosion could take place as early as November.
The project’s total cost is estimated at $60 million for demolition and mitigation, and it is expected to generate about 21,000 tons of recyclable metals — including iron, steel, aluminum and copper. It may also generate up to 3,400 tons of other non-hazardous waste, such as wood or plastic, which will be recycled, as feasible.
Once the power plant is removed, the Chula Vista Bayfront Plan will move one step closer to reality. The Coastal Commission approved the plan Aug. 9.
Costing an estimated $1.5 billion to $2 billion to implement over the next 20 years, the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan is expected to create 7,000 construction jobs, 2,200 permanent jobs and generate a projected $178 million in revenue for the city and the port.
The project will be implemented in four major phases over a 24-year period, with the first phase to include the development of a resort conference center, creation of public parks and open space, restoration of habitat areas and construction of a new fire station, RV park and mixed-use residential development. Construction on the first phase could start by 2016.