Chula Vista Bayfront Project
Chula Vista waterfront master plan. Image courtesy of city of Chula Vista

The Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted to begin negotiations with a developer to build a bayfront hotel and convention center complex on a 535 acres in Chula Vista.

Houston-based Rida Development Corp., which has built major hotels in Houston, Pittsburgh and Orlando, Florida, was the only firm to respond and qualify for the job, according to a report from port staffers.

Tuesday’s action authorizes staffers to work out an exclusive negotiating agreement with Rida that would last nine to 12 months.

Port officials envision a development next to the Chula Vista Marina that would include about 1,600 hotel rooms, 415,000 square feet of meeting space and 100,000 square feet for restaurants. Additional hotels and retail space could be added to the project.

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

Gaylord cited financial challenges when negotiations with organized labor stalled. The company, which runs the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, has since merged with Marriott and did not submit a bid.

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