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$100M hotel project could start early next year

A $100 million, 387-room dual-branded hotel at Columbia and A streets could be under way as early as next year's first quarter.

The project was discussed last month during a Society for Marketing Professional Services luncheon at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Mission Valley.

The Columbia Tower hotel is a project of Dealy Development with the Chhartrala Group as its equity partner.

The 18-story hotel -- which will be across the street from Columbia Center -- will have 276 keys under the Hyatt Place and 111 rooms under the Hyatt Summerfield banner, even though both will be housed within the same building.

A design of San Diego-based Awbrey Cook McGill, the 18-story development could be completed in early 2014.

Dealy is also advising Chula Vista on that city's Bayfront Community Plan.

The 556-acre project, which has taken about 15 years to get to this stage, calls for 1,500 multi-family residential units, a 1,500- to 2,000-room resort and conference center, additional hotels, restaurants and retail shops.

The plan, which includes an office and industrial component, leaves about 230 acres for parks and trails.

For a time it appeared that Gaylord Hotels, which also owns the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, would be operating the large resort and conference center.

After a battle with unions over prevailing wage a couple of years ago, Gaylord gave up and left the project. Then last year, the Chula Vista City Council voted against project labor agreements. That has paved the way for hotel operators, perhaps even Gaylord to return.

"The Chula Vista Bayfront Plan should go to the Coastal Commission around mid-2012," Dealy said.

Dealy has other irons in the fire not the least of which is the Broadway Complex or Manchester Pacific Gateway that calls for about 1,400 hotel rooms in three hotels hundreds of thousands of square feet of office for use by the Navy and private companies, and a 240,000-square-foot retail component in the North Embarcadero area.

Dealy said he is awaiting two events. First for the legal challenges to the project over environmental grounds to be resolved.

"And we are waiting for the hotel finance market to return," Dealy said.

Dealy was joined by Kevin McCook, acquisitions and development director of Shea Properties, and Jim Reynolds, OliverMcMillan acquisitions director.

Shea Properties is the commercial property of the J.F. Shea Co. -- a firm that has worked on projects as diverse as Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.

McCook says his Aliso Viejo-headquartered firm has approximately 2 million square feet of retail space in the pipeline, plus anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 apartments in the works as well.

A recent opening by Shea on the retail side in San Diego County was a 106,000-square-foot , Von's-anchored shopping center in the Winding Walk masterplan in Chula Vista.

Shea is the developer of the $58 million, 85,000-square-foot Mercado del Barrio project.

This project, which also has a 92-unit multifamily development, was originally conceived about 25 years ago. The initial part of the plan was constructed with 144 low-income apartments at the beginning of the 1990s.

"We're also developing a 650,000-square-foot lifestyle center that's under construction between (in the Ventura area) Los Angeles and Santa Barbara," McCook said, adding the project also includes 207 apartment units.

Reynolds of OliverMcMillan, whose firm's developments have included the Pacific Gaslamp Quarter 15 theatres, Village Hillcrest property and Horton Fourth Avenue apartments, said his company is doing something a bit different these days -- buying large, troubled properties and turning them around.

One of these was a 48-story condominium tower with 459 units in Honolulu that the previous developer pumped $75 million into before being forced out.

Reynolds said OliverMcMillan not only picked up the pieces but has been able to sell the units that average roughly 850 square feet for about $600-per-square-foot.

"We had people camping out to buy them," Reynolds said.

Reynolds, who also said he has been working out the issues on an 88-unit multifamily property in Old Town, said its biggest turnaround effort includes a huge six-block, 8-acre mixed-use development known as Buckhead in the Atlanta area. The property is being planned for luxury retail.

"Luxury retail is coming back strong," Reynolds said.

Reynolds said while the previous developers were about $350 million into the property, the project's value is significantly more.

"This is an $800 million project," Reynolds said.

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