After numerous cancellations, the date for a public hearing on the downtown Escondido Marriott has been posted. On June 30, at 4 p.m., the public will have a chance to give their support or express their concerns on the proposed seven-story, 198-room hotel next to the California Center for Arts in Escondido, estimated to cost over $57 million.
In recent years, the public has been divided on the merits of the project. Many residents feel a $10.7 million city subsidy from city redevelopment funds is misguided. They believe those redevelopment funds should be spent on other more important projects, not a luxury hotel. Diminishing city revenues and a structural deficit, estimated at $4 million for next fiscal year, have added to their concerns.
The project's foundation never seemed to have too firm a footing. C.W. Clark, a La Jolla-based commercial-development firm, was awarded the contract in 2003, but the seven years since then have been wrought with delays.
In September 2006, a group of business owners in downtown Escondido sued the City, stating the hotel would create unwanted impacts to parking, traffic, and would permanently scar the face of downtown. A judge later ruled in favor of the City.
In late 2009, city officials nearly scrapped the proposal entirely over concerns about finances. In February 2010, those concerns were eased when the developer offered to pay over $3.5 million in a contingency plan in case of any snags during construction, assuring the city that its $10.7 million subsidy would not increase.
In recent weeks, several public hearings had been postponed, but the City would not disclose the reasons for the delays. That all changed when an official notice announcing the June 30 public hearing was posted on the California Center for the Arts building on June 18.
For more on the project and the upcoming hearing, visit the City's website at ci.escondido.ca.us.