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Port seeks developer for Chula Vista convention center, hotel

The Port of San Diego began the process Monday of choosing the developer for a signature convention center and hotel on the Chula Vista bayfront.

The request for qualifications states the Port is seeking teams of investors, designers and developers with experience in “convention destination resort hotels” to develop Phase 1 of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan.

The first phase includes a 1,400- to 1,600-room resort hotel and an approximately 400,000-square-foot convention center on a 39.4-acre waterfront parcel.

The Port also wants the development team to enter into a long-term ground lease agreement that has a track record and capacity to design, build, finance and operate a large-scale resort hotel and convention center.

The deadline is 4 p.m. Sept. 8 for teams to submit their proposals on the Port’s bid solicitation website.

In addition to the electronic submission, applicants must submit 10 copies of the proposal within a week of the electronic response by 4 p.m. Sept. 15.

The Port has also scheduled a pre-bid meeting at 10 a.m. July 10 at Chula Vista Bayside Park for developers who want more information about the project.

“The Port's investment in this important new waterfront destination will truly transform the city of Chula Vista and San Diego's South Bay region,” said Port Commissioner Ann Moore. “We are excited to enter this important developer selection process.”

This request for qualifications is the first of a two-stage RFQ and request for proposals solicitation process. The Port plans to narrow the field of finalists by the end of the year and then release the request for proposals.

Short-listed development teams will need to identify the intended hotel brand and operator during this second phase, according to the Port.

Port commissioners will make the final decision in mid-2015.

The Port and Cox hope to receive resumes from around the world.

The convention center and resort hotel project is the centerpiece of the 535-acre Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan.

The 20-year build-out plan will transform the city’s waterfront by adding three hotels, a conference center, 1,500 multifamily housing units built by Pacifica Cos., two RV parks, restaurants, a mix of office and commercial buildings, and 238 acres of open space that will include 130 acres of public parks, trails and bike paths, and buffers to protect sensitive habitat.

The Bayfront Master Plan is the area west of Interstate 5, south of state Route 54 and north of Palomar Street. The master plan will be completed in four phases in three redevelopment districts.

The California Coastal Commission approved the master plan Aug. 9, 2012, after a decade of planning. Since then, the South Bay Power Plan has been demolished and a project has started to extend H Street from I-5 to the bay.

Jones Lang LaSalle is the lead adviser to the port and is providing advisory support on all aspects of the master plan.

The port and the city of Chula Vista have formed a joint powers authority that will facilitate governance, infrastructure financing and necessary gap capital funding for the convention center portion of the project.

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