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Six years after plans for a major hotel and convention center complex on Chula Vista’s bayfront fell apart, the Port of San Diego announced Monday that it is moving ahead with a similar project.

The port is marketing the 535-acre plot as “one of the last great waterfront development opportunities in California.”

A document called a “Request for Qualifications,” in which potential bidders state how they fit the port’s criteria, will be released this month. Respondents to the request will need to demonstrate their skills and ability to finance, design and construct a large-scale and environmentally-sustainable resort, according to the port.

Prospective developers will be asked to identify the intended hotel brand and operator during the second phase of the selection process.

“The port’s investment in this important new waterfront destination will truly transform the city of Chula Vista and San Diego’s South Bay region,” Port Commissioner Ann Moore said. “We are excited to enter this important developer selection process.”

Chula Vista Bayfront

In November 2008, Tennessee-based developer Gaylord Entertainment abandoned a $1 billion plan to construct a 1,500-room hotel and convention center complex on the waterfront.

The company, which runs the Grand Ole Opry, cited financial hurdles after negotiations with organized labor stalled. It’s unclear whether Gaylord, now known as Ryman Hospitality Properties, would enter the new bidding.

Any development that does get built in the future would need to bring improvements to the city’s picturesque marina, including the addition of commercial harbor facilities, and more shops and restaurants.

The port is working off a master plan for the Chula Vista waterfront that was approved by the California Coastal Commission two years ago. The port and city government have formed a joint powers authority to handle governance, infrastructure financing, and some capital funding for the convention center portion of the project.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.

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