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Activity picks up in Chula Vista, Oceanside

Two cities on opposite sides of the county appear to have more than enough projects to keep them busy for many years.

Kelly Broughton, city of Chula Vista development services director, and Rick Brown, city of Oceanside chief building official, provided updates for their respective cities at a recent discussion at The Daily Transcript offices.

Broughton said the request for qualifications has gone out for the planned hotel and convention center on the Chula Vista Bayfront.

"There are going to be some interesting proposals," Broughton said, adding that an entertainment element will likely be part of the project.

An earlier plan for a 1,400-room hotel and a possible 415,000-square-foot convention center ran into a brick wall when Nashville-based Gaylord Hotels and the unions led by Unite Here Local 30 failed to agree over the use of non-union contractors in 2005.

Kelly Broughton is the city of Chula Vista's development services director. Photo by Glenn Grant

Broughton said the unions have already been brought into the discussions, so the project could be less contentious this time around.

About 1,500 housing units are also part of the bayfront plan, along with water-serving retail uses.

Further inland, thousands of units are still in the works at Otay Ranch and Millenia as EastLake winds down.

Broughton noted that along with three new villages in the works at the eventual 27,000-unit Otay Ranch development (more than 10,000 units have been completed) and a University innovation campus is edging closer to reality.

"We're working with HomeFed on that project," Broughton said.

Millenia is east of the state Route 125 toll road and just south of Otay Ranch Town Center.

The 80-square-block Millenia project -- Ambient Communities is buying Millenia from McMillin Cos. -- eventually calls for 3,000 multifamily residential units and about 3.4 million square feet of office retail and industrial uses. The exact mix of uses has yet to be determined.

"I can't understand why Chula Vista hasn't been able to attract more office development," Broughton said.

The Millenia project also calls for up to two hotels, civic and multiuse projects, an elementary school, joint middle and high school, six parks, promenades, plazas, bikeways and trails.

Most of EastLake's planned 7,000 residential units have been built and sold, with only about 266 to be completed.

Broughton said the residential activity in Chula Vista is improving but added a caveat.

"While the pace of activity is picking up, there is a lot more caution among developers. I don't get the sense that they're trying to get in front of the market this time."

However, Chula Vista will need new services. The current 250,000 population is expected to increase to about 350,000 by 2030, mostly from natural increase, and most of the city's residential capacity is expected to be exhausted by then.

Rick Brown is the chief building official for the city of Oceanside. Photo by Glenn Grant

At the other end of the county, Brown said Oceanside is seeing a nice recovery from the recession that has seen new hotels and industrial development, even if office development continues to lag behind.

Oceanside continues to process 1010 Oceanside, formerly known as the Belvedere, on Mission Avenue near Interstate 5. Plans call for 124 hotel rooms, 90 live/work lofts, meeting space and a rooftop deck with a pool and ocean view, along with some ground floor retail. San Francisco-based Amidi Real Estate Group is the developer.

"This is being built west of the freeway (Interstate 5) and close to Oceanside High School," Brown said.

Brown also said the 400-room hotel resort project that developer Douglas Manchester and SD Malkin failed to develop near the Oceanside Pier, may be revised. It is hoped the revision will be more palatable to the California Coastal Commission, which rejected the plan about five years ago.

Further inland, the Ocean Ranch development is seeing several new projects, including a 95,000-square-foot industrial building for Ollie's Salameria, (a salami packer) and 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space for Magna Flow Exhaust Systems.

"And Genentech Pharmaceuticals is preparing plans for more buildings so it can consolidate its processing," Brown said.

On the residential side, Brown said plans for a 380-unit apartment project called Terraza, off Rancho del Oro Road, will be submitted for technical review in 30 to 60 days.

Brown said Oceanside will also benefit from an ongoing job to widen Mission Avenue between Interstate 5 and the ocean.

"A portion of this will be one-way. It will make for a more walkable downtown," Brown said.

As officials from Chula Vista, Oceanside and the remaining 16 cities plus the County of San Diego are learning to live without redevelopment monies, they are also looking at ways to cut developers some slack.

"We can help by deferring impact fees when the permits are issued," Broughton said.

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