August 9, 2012
By Tom Fudge

The California Coastal Commission approved a plan to develop the Chula Vista waterfront, which means construction can soon begin.

A plan to develop the Chula Vista waterfront that’s been a decade in the making was approved Thursday by the California Coastal Commission. The plan includes three hotels, a conference center, condos and retail on 560 acres.

Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox said the Coastal Commission approval means construction can soon begin.


Credit: Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan

Above: A satellite map of a proposed redevelopment project on the Chula Vista bayfront.

“Probably the first part of 2016 we should see some shovels in the ground,” she said, “and then we’re off on a 24-year expansion of Chula Vista’s bay front.

The Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan turns a chunk of mostly empty industrial land along San Diego Bay into a very dense development that one Coastal Commission staffer said would be like downtown San Diego. At least one hotel on the site would be as tall as 300 feet.

The master plan included promises to protect sensitive marshlands. Those kinds of concessions won the support of environmentalists, led by attorney Marco Gonzalez.

“It’s not a common occurrence that the environmental community will say, ‘Go ahead and build a 300-foot tower anywhere close to the coast,’” said Gonzalez. But he added that it’s a reasonable concession to allow that intense development on land that’s basically industrial brownfields.

“I mean, not only are we keeping off of the sensitive lands. We’re also getting land cleaned up that’s been polluted after decades of industrial use,” said Gonzalez.

Approval of the Chula Vista waterfront development plan has been a long time coming, due in part to a changing cast of developers. City officials hope the development will create 2,000 permanent jobs and bolster city tax revenues.