Port staff asks to extend talks on Chula Vista convention center project

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SAN DIEGO — Asserting that they need more time to negotiate with a developer of a proposed hotel and convention center project on the Chula Vista waterfront, Port of San Diego staff members plan to ask the Board of Commissioners Tuesday to authorize an extra three months of talks.

An exclusive negotiating agreement with Houston-based Rida Development Corp. is scheduled to expire Friday, according to a port staff report. After the port called for proposals for what could be a massive development, Rida submitted the only qualified entry.

Port officials envision 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.

The negotiating agreement went into effect one year ago, and the port has an option for two 90-day extensions. The company, which has built major hotels in Houston, Pittsburgh and Orlando, Florida, has submitted a detailed project description for the resort hotel and convention center, as well as development costs and a financial analysis, according to staff.

Financial details, along with the various rights and obligations of the port and developer in leasing, developing and operating the hotel and convention center, still need to be finalized, according to staff.

The port is working off a master plan for the Chula Vista waterfront that was previously approved by the California Coastal Commission. 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.

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