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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.

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Comments

Javajoe25 June 21, 2010 @ 2 p.m.

I don't think ten dollars and seventy cents is a lot to pay for all that work.

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Visduh June 22, 2010 @ 8:34 p.m.

'Dido has had that downtown redevelopment "bassackwards" from the start. A prosperous city could afford a big performing arts complex in its downtown. But that comes after the prosperity, not before. But in the early 90's the city built that Center for the Performing Arts, and it has struggled ever since. Putting a big hotel into the middle of the downtown business district would make sense if the demand for hotel rooms was already there. But in this case, it is not. This all reminds me of business plans that start with the finished product and them move back to the beginning, except that they never get there, 'cause the transition was never going to happen.

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CuddleFish June 22, 2010 @ 9:18 p.m.

The performing arts center was designed to draw people to ESCONdido, or at least that's probably the pitch used to get funding for it. A worthwhile project, too bad it fell short. Hard to say about the hotel, not living there myself. Is there a need for it?

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