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Port and Chula Vista officials say they want to push ahead with their redevelopment efforts on the bay front despite the withdrawl of Gaylord Entertainment’s billion-dollar resort and convention center plans
But officials at both agencies, which had agreed to subsidize the project by a combined $308 million, said they will likely complete some of the major environmental and land use reviews before seeking a developer for the project. The Gaylord resort was supposed to serve as a catalyst for redevelopment on the Chula Vista harbor.
The agencies will likely try to finalize the state-required environmental impact report for the entire 550-acre waterside redevelopment area and seek the California Coastal Commission’s approval of the bay-front master plan before soliciting bids from developers.
Having those land-use entitlements in place would give the future developer added certainty that a large-scale development could proceed on that site without environmental problems. Those processes could take six to nine months to complete, officials estimated.
Gaylord was unable to clear those hurdles before dropping out last week, complaining that labor unions and environmentalists vowed to disrupt the project with environmental challenges. Unions and environmentalists claimed they were still willing to negotiate over the construction of a 2,000-room hotel and 400,000-square-foot convention center when Gaylord abandoned the talks.
Chula Vista City Councilman Jerry Rindone told a meeting of the Lincoln Club of San Diego County yesterday that he was optimistic Gaylord would want another shot at the bay front once entitlements of the master plan were in place. The councilman said he was encouraged by the parting note of Gaylord’s letter.
“We would welcome the opportunity to work with the City and Port under different circumstances in the future,” Gaylord executive Bennett Westbrook wrote in his July 6 letter.
Port spokeswoman Irene McCormack, in an interview, said the port would be open to the possible return of Gaylord.
“It’d be too strong to say it was our preference, but I would say we wouldn’t shut the door to that opportunity,” she said.
Gaylord spokesman Brian Abrahamson said today the company didn’t have a comment on the officials’ statements.