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Port requesting resumes for convention center, hotel developers

Developers looking for their next iconic project can focus their gaze on the South Bay, as the city of Chula Vista and Port of San Diego soon will release a request for qualifications for a convention center and resort hotel.

Starting June 23, 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.

“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, spokesperson with the Port of San Diego.

Development teams are asked to visit the port’s bid solicitation website to register and download all documents and back­ground information related to the solicitation and qualifications submittal process.

The information will be available on the release date.

"We are looking for a developer that has success in melding a multistory hotel resort and a convention center," Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox said. "We also want someone who can create a sustainable entity that uses, for example, recirculated water for landscaping and has someone on staff that knows about the rise in sea levels.”

Castaneda said 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.

The port and Cox are hoping to get resumes from around the world.

"I, personally, have met with people from China who were visiting Chula Vista and talked to them about the development possibilities," Cox said. "One council member met with people from Spain who have been interested for the past six years."

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 that will protect sensitive habitat.

The Bayfront Master Plan includes 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 master plan was approved by the California Coastal Commission on Aug. 9, 2012, after a decade-long planning effort. Since then, the South Bay Power Plan has been demolished and a project has started to extend H Street from Interstate 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, which will facilitate governance, infrastructure financing and necessary gap capital funding for the convention center portion of the project moving forward.

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