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Industry sees growth, unveiling of landmark projects

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The $49.4 million County Waterfront Park opened to the public on May 10. Photo courtesy county of San Diego

San Diego’s construction industry seems to be making a shift from residential to nonresidential as statistics suggest improvement in commercial and public projects. There is also future growth in the South Bay: Developers for project centerpieces are needed for the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan.

By the numbers
Nonresidential construction is now leading the way when it comes to contracts awarded for future projects. According to McGraw Hill Construction, there was $761.57 million in future nonresidential contracts awarded in San Diego County in May, up significantly from $52.81 million in May 2013. Residential construction took a large dip from a year ago. Residential contracts for future work added up to $81.91 million last month, down from $149.58 million from May of last year.

Construction employment was up more than 1.5 percent from April to May this year, adding 1,000 jobs to San Diego County. From May of last year to this year, the construction industry added 5,100 jobs, an 8.5 percent increase.

Iconic project opens
The $49.4 million County Waterfront Park opened to the public on May 10.

The 12-acre park has two large lawn areas that can accommodate 6,000 people; a family and children's garden with playground equipment, tables, benches, restrooms and small concession area; a 13.5-foot wide promenade and a network of pathways to connect areas within the park and to adjoining streets; and new terraces that wrap around the west side of the County Administration Center.

The park also has more than 200 trees and flowers. The two existing fountains -- one to the west and the other to the east of the County Administration Center -- were extended, and five others were added. The park now has seven fountain basins -- each holding approximately 5,000 gallons of water.

The effort to bring a park to downtown San Diego’s waterfront dates back more than 20 years, when County Supervisor Ron Roberts was on the San Diego City Council and wanted to see a public plaza at the foot of Broadway.

Future work
Developers looking for their next iconic project should focus on the South Bay, as the city of Chula Vista and Port of San Diego have released a request for qualifications for a convention center and resort hotel.

Those interested in designing and building the planned 415,000-square-foot convention center and 1,400- to 1,600-room hotel can submit their qualifications to the port. The convention center and resort hotel project is the centerpiece of the 535-acre Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan.

“We are looking for developers that can demonstrate their skills and ability to finance, design and construct a large-scale, environmentally sustainable, convention-oriented destination hotel and resort,” said Tanya Castaneda, spokeswoman with the Port of San Diego.

The Port of San Diego will narrow down the finalists by the end of this year and then release to them the request for proposals. Short-listed development teams most likely will be required to identify the intended hotel brand and operator during this second phase of the selection process.

Port commissioners will make the final decision in choosing the developer in mid-2015

-By Carlos Rico, The Daily Transcript

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