Chula Vista Bayfront Center
A rendering of the planned Chula Vista Bayfront Center. Courtesy City of Chula Vista

The Port of San Diego and City of Chula Vista have approved key agreements needed to finance and begin construction of a $1.1 billion, 535-acre hotel and conference center on San Diego Bay.

“This is a historic day for Chula Vista and the entire South Bay,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. “Our dream for the bayfront — 30 years in the making — is coming true.”

The Chula Vista Bayfront project would consist of a 1,600-room resort hotel, convention center, associated restaurants and recreational facilities. The site is west of Marina Parkway between H and G Streets. The hotel would be operated by Gaylord Hotels, the convention brand of Marriott Corp.

During a joint meeting on Tuesday, the Board of Port Commissioners and Chula Vista city council both unanimously approved an agreement with Houston-based RIDA Development Corp. The agreement outlines the next steps in the project and the way revenue will be shared.

Public infrastructure improvements will begin first and could get underway as soon as 2019, which includes preliminary site preparation, building access roads and new public streets, providing utility services and building the new Harbor Park.

“The investments being made by the port, the city and RIDA will have far-reaching benefits for the City of Chula Vista, coastal visitors and the entire San Diego region,” said Port Chairman Rafael Castellanos.

The project is expected to create 2,300 jobs during construction and 7,800 permanent positions after completion.

The port and the city are contributing nearly $350 million to the cost of the project, with a third of the total going to infrastructure improvements in and around the site. Tax-example bonds will be issued to raise the required funds.

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