Gaylord Drops San Diego Bay Project

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Nashville, TN – Gaylord Entertainment cited infrastructure costs and red tape in announcing it had scuttled plans to build a convention facility in the San Diego area.

The company said November 17 it was terminating its proposed resort hotel and convention center on San Diego Bay in Chula Vista, a short distance from the bayfront San Diego Convention Center.

“We are very disappointed to have made this decision since the greater San Diego region is such an important convention market,” said Colin Reed, chairman and CEO of Gaylord Entertainment. “Over the last year to 18 months, this project has become much more complicated and risky as infrastructure costs escalated and the timeline for the hotel was extended by the very complicated and prolonged approval process.”

Reed denied that the current economic downturn in the U.S. influenced Gaylord’s decision. “The fact is that the complexity and costs of the project were the main drivers of this decision,” he said.

The Chula Vista project was first proposed by Gaylord in 2005 for 30 acres of a 550-acre site that is one of the last undeveloped lots on San Diego Bay. The waterfront location is under the jurisdiction of the San Diego Port Commission and is also subject to tight environmental oversight from some nine state and local agencies.

The San Diego Union-Tribune said that under local development regulations, Gaylord would be responsible for around $308 million in new roads and other infrastructure for the project.

Gaylord also ran into a snag earlier this year when it failed to reach an agreement with San Diego County labor unions on the makeup of the construction workforce. Gaylord pulled out of the negotiations with the Port Commission and the City of Chula Vista last July, but resumed talks in August.

In the meantime, Gaylord won approval for a similar resort-convention development in Mesa, AZ, a suburb of Phoenix.

Reach Colin Reed at (615) 316-6000 or creed@gaylordentertainment.com