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Chula Vista Bayfront residential project may be first up

After about three decades of planning, what could be the first ground-up project in the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan has been delivered to the city's planning department.

"This plan is finally getting legs," said Gary Halbert, Chula Vista city manager.

The luxury condominium project that San Diego-based Pacifica Cos. plans to build calls for a total of 186 units within a 14-story residential tower and two four-story buildings. The project will be built on a five-acre site at the northeast corner of J Street and Marina Parkway. Pacifica Cos. is the bayfront plan master developer.

The 186 units will consist of 21 studios, 63 one-bedroom units, 54 two-bedroom units, and 48 three-plus-bedroom units. San Diego-based Carrier Johnson + Culture is the project architect of what has been tentatively dubbed the Pacific Bayside Community Project.

Alison Rolfe, Pacifica planning director, said the range of floor-plan sizes is still being determined, however.

"Ash (Pacifica Chairman Ashok Israni) looked at the floor plans and didn't think they were big enough," Rolfe said.

This rendering depicts the luxury condominium project that San Diego-based Pacifica Cos. plans to build as part of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan. Courtesy image

The development will have 4,500 square feet of retail with a café and street-level shops, 3,000 square feet of live-work space in four of the units, 338 subterranean parking stalls, and 20 at-grade stalls in front of the live-work lofts.

Other amenities at the development will include a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, "usable" open spaces and a variety of landscape materials.

Getting to this stage hasn't been easy and there needed to be a land swap involving the Port of San Diego and the developer because the residential use isn't permitted on port tidelands.

The trade approved in 2010 involved taking 96 acres of land then owned by Pacifica Cos. near what is now known as the Living Coast Discovery Center in exchange for 35 acres of polluted land then owned by the port. This property has since been cleaned up by Pacifica in preparation for its project. The city of Chula Vista also had to sanction the swap.

Rolfe said following what she expects will be a joint City Council and planning commission meeting on the project later this year, design review of the development is expected next spring.

"We should start pre-construction in late 2015," Rolfe said, explaining that street work will likely go until the end of 2016.

Actual construction of the project itself is expected to begin in 2017 with completion sometime in 2019.

This project is the first of what is expected to be 1,500 multifamily residential units.

Pacifica's residential project is being proposed just as prospective developers are gearing up to answer the request for qualifications for the Chula Vista Bayfront hotel and convention center project.

A deadline of Sept. 8 has been set for the receipt of the requests for qualifications by the port.

That project calls for a 1,400-1,600-room hotel and a 400,000-square-foot convention center.

"We would love to have these projects going up simultaneously," Rolfe said.

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