Byline: The Log Staff
SAN DIEGO — The Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners and the Chula Vista City Council unanimously approved a financing agreement for the long-awaited Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan at a May 8 meeting, leaving the upcoming decision by the California Coastal Commission as the next step in the long-awaited process.
Following a 10-year planning process, the actions taken by both governing bodies are the first steps in implementing a plan designed to transform 556 acres of Chula Vista’s underused industrial bayfront landscape into a thriving residential and resort destination on San Diego Bay.
“The terms of the financing agreement reinforce the feasibility of this important project,” said Port of San Diego Commissioner Ann Moore. “The unanimous votes underscore the Port of San Diego and city of Chula Vista’s alignment and focus on our end goal: a world-class bayfront.”
With the financing agreement in place, the Coastal Commission can review the future plans for what some observers have called the last underdeveloped bayfront in the state. At its March 7 meeting in Chula Vista, commissioners and staff members from the Coastal Commission toured the 550-acre site, seeing the land that is earmarked for the three hotels, condominiums, an industrial business park and a convention center, and the 230 acres to be designated as open space and park area.
“The future of the Port of San Diego is in the South Bay,” said Ann Moore, vice chairwoman of the Board of Port Commissioners, who participated in the tour.
According to the Port of San Diego, the project is anticipated to create more than 2,200 permanent jobs, nearly 7,000 construction jobs and numerous indirect jobs in Chula Vista and the San Diego region.
Its economic impact was noted by Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox following her comments to the Coastal Commission during the public comment period at the March 7 meeting.
“Given its scale, this project, in many ways, is the first of its kind, balancing business investment and environmental preservation,” Cox said. “To me, it also means jobs and the generation of $1.3 billion for the regional economy over the next 20 years, including more than $11.5 million in annual tax revenues.”
The financing agreement between the port and Chula Vista identifies revenue necessary for infrastructure improvements that will provide public access to Chula Vista’s waterfront and protect key habitat areas.
Following the hoped-for approval of the plan by the California Coastal Commission, the port and the city will collaborate on the preparation of an updated market study, which will be used to create a future Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to select a developer for the project.
“The agreement by the port and the city of Chula Vista is another milestone in what has been a deliberate and thoughtful process to establish a sustainable plan for our bayfront, which is in great need of improvement,” Cox said. “The goal has been to balance economic development with environmental preservation, and now we have taken another significant step.”
The Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan is expected to be completed in four phases over a 24-year period.
Approximately 40 percent of the project’s total acreage is dedicated to parks, open space and habitat restoration/preservation; with 130 acres identified for new publicly accessible parks and open space. These areas will include promenades, bike trails and other public access areas linking the entire bayfront. A 46-acre “signature park” is also included in the plan.
Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan highlights include:
* Three hotels; one 250-room, one 500-room and one 750-room.
* 1,500 proposed residential units reserved for low-income families.
* Resort; up to 1,600 rooms and a 415,000-square-foot conference center.
* Mixed-use commercial recreation, office and retail space.
* 85 acres of parks and open space, a cultural facility and a signature park.
* Public promenades, bike trails and public access points to the bay.
* Reconfigured marina; improved commercial harbor and navigation channel.