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Next steps for Chula Vista resort: financial negotiations and public education

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Since the Chula Vista City Council approved preliminary negotiations for a 1,500-room resort on the city's bay front, two issues have arisen: infrastructure funding and clarification of the environmental impact report.

"There's an enormous amount of work that's got to be done in ... how to finance (the project)," said Paul Fanfera, senior director of real estate for the Port of San Diego.

The city of Chula Vista, the port and the Chula Vista Redevelopment Agency have agreed to contribute $178 million for public infrastructure in and around the Nashville based-Gaylord Entertainment hotel and $130 million for the conference center. The resort will be located between F and G streets behind the Goodrich campus.

The break down of costs is yet to be decided, said Fanfera.

"We won't know the final ratio until farther along," he said. "It could be 50-50; it could be 60-40" between the port and the two other entities.

The port is expected to finance its share through lease revenue, while the city will finance with transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenue and the redevelopment agency will contribute monies from tax increments of redevelopment areas.

In July, the city of Chula Vista approved a letter of intent from Gaylord to enter negotiations for the resort. The project is expected to contribute an estimated $1.3 billion to the region, provide 13,000 jobs during construction, more than 3,000 onsite jobs during operation and 1,500 indirect jobs.

A 60-day public reviewing of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the entire Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan began Sept. 28. The port is holding public meetings to guide individuals through the 2,200-page report.

"We're doing everything we can to help the public review the EIR," said Fanfera, who hopes the meetings will teach the public how to look at the document "without killing themselves."

"The purpose is not to get into specific issues, but to make sure that everyone has their questions answered," said Laurie Madigan, the assistant city manager for the city of Chula Vista, adding that specific environmental concerns will be addressed at later public hearings.

Meetings will be held on Oct. 19 and 23 at 6 p.m. at the Just Java Café at 285 Third Ave. in Chula Vista.

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