Port of San Diego Seeks Developer for Convention-Oriented Hotel & Resort

The Port of San Diego will issue a Request for Qualifications, seeking a developer for a new convention destination resort hotel as part of the Chula Vista Bayfront, considered one of the last great waterfront development opportunities in California.

BAYFRONTThe Port of San Diego will issue a Request for Qualifications, seeking a developer for a new convention destination resort hotel as part of the Chula Vista Bayfront, considered one of the last great waterfront development opportunities in California.

Jones Lang LaSalle is the lead advisor to the Port and is providing advisory support on all aspects of the project.

“It’s a rare opportunity to develop waterfront property of any significance on the California coast line and normally it’s hard to get the entitlements and you can’t get through the California Coastal Commission,” Bob Hunt, JLL’s managing director, public institutions on the West Coast, told Commercial Property Executive. “It took a 10-year effort and we did some fairly detailed feasibility that said the time is now in the development cycle.”

The plan is to transform nearly 535 acres on San Diego Bay into a world-class destination for domestic and international visitors alike.

“We’re looking at almost creating a small town, anchored by this signature resort on the waterfront, but also there’s a mixed-use development component and there’s room for residential,” Hunt added. “To the north, there will be passive recreation—a signature park, bike pathways and an RV site that will almost be like a camp ground. To the south, there’s potentially office investment development and maybe some interesting land development.”

According to Hunt, respondents to the RFQ will need to demonstrate their skills and ability to finance, design and construct a large-scale environmentally sustainable convention-oriented destination hotel and resort. For the second phase of the selection process, short-listed development teams should plan on identifying the intended hotel brand and operator.

“We’re looking for a visionary developer who understands the resort convention business,” he said. “A developer who understands how to create the uniquely branded presence and create their own identity rather than syphon off the next hotel down the road, but also understands how to bring conventioneers in and understands what a full-service resort is.”

In the report, Tourism Economics for the San Diego Tourism Authority, it’s forecasted that San Diego’s overnight visitor volume will increase 1.8 percent annually on average, during the next four years. According to the report, while annual hotel room demand is expected to increase more than 2 percent each year for the next four years, supply is estimated to increase at a lesser pace.

“With an improving U.S. economy and predicted increases in business and leisure travel, Chula Vista’s unique location on San Diego Bay is sure to attract strong interest from the development community,” Cheryl Cox, mayor of Chula Vista, said in a published statement. “Chula Vista and the Port have cleared the way to create a shovel-ready project on prime bayfront property.”