Marriott International has withdrawn plans for its 1,929-room hotel in downtown San Diego. The project was part of Ballpark Village, which is the subject of a Centre City Development Corp. conflict-of-interest investigation.
The hotel was to be built on part of the 7.1 acres known as Ballpark Village, east of Petco Park downtown.
One of the landowners there is Lennar Corp., a nationwide builder and former business partner of former CCDC President Nancy Graham. Before coming to San Diego, Graham worked with Lennar and The Related Group to build a luxury condominium project in Lantana, Fla. Graham received money from the two companies, court documents show, including $125,000 from them in mid-2007.
While at CCDC, Graham was extensively involved in a process to modify the Ballpark Village project, which was originally approved shortly before she took office in 2005. Her personal calendars show numerous meetings with the project’s developers, a team that includes JMI Realty, a development company controlled by Padres owner John Moores.
“Given the two-year effort and significant financial investment that has gone into the pursuit of entitlements for this project, this was undoubtedly a very difficult decision for Marriott and certainly a setback for Ballpark Village,” said John Kratzer, president of JMI Realty, in a news release. JMI Realty is the development company owned by Padres owner John Moores.
Steve Peace, an advisor to Moores, said he was unsure what role the ongoing CCDC investigation played in Marriott’s decision.
“It was always a difficult deal,” Peace said, “and when the decision-making process becomes clouded, there’s only so many deals you can do in a tough economic environment and you have to make choices.”
In a release, JMI Realty said that Marriott was “undoubtedly influenced” by the turbulence in the country’s borrowing markets as well as “the various complications, delays and setbacks that have occurred in processing this project.”
The company said it is unsure what the project’s next steps will be. JMI Realty may complete an ongoing effort to clear the way for a hotel at the site — even if it lacks a tenant. The Marriott project had been scheduled to go to City Council for approval in October and begin construction next year.
Update: The original version incorrectly stated the number of rooms in the proposed hotel based on information provided by JMI.