Eva Knott 10:44 a.m., May 18
In November 2008 Gaylord Entertainment called it quits in Chula Vista. The Nashville-based company had ambitious plans for the city's bayfront which included a convention center and 1600 room hotel. A recent article in the Nashville Business Journal says Mayor Cheryl Cox is asking Gaylord to return.
Many attributed Gaylord's departure to an inability to reach agreement with local labor unions. However, a 2008 letter from Gaylord CEO, Bennett Westbrook to Tom Lemmon, the business manager for the San Diego-Imperial Labor Council, made it clear that the departure was about money. Westbrook wrote: "From the outset, we knew finding a mutually beneficial way to fund the infrastructure was a tall order--we have concluded there is no workable solution despite our best collective efforts."
Cox told the Nashville Business Journal "that the new master [bayfront] plan would cut infrastructure costs by more than $100 million..."
Though Cox was unavailable for comment, Chula Vista's assistant city manager, Gary Halbert, fielded some questions. Halbert said that the infrastructure savings might be found by using some of the existing infrastructure like roads already in place, and by using the existing right-of ways.
When asked how the death of the city's redevelopment agency will impact bayfront development, Halbert said that tax increment monies would have only accounted for 5% of the funding. The bulk of bayfront development will come from Transient Occupancy Tax (hotel and motel tax), developer impact fees, and port lease agreements.
The Coastal Commission will be meeting in Chula Vista Council Chambers March 7-9. The city's bayfront plans have not yet been agendized
Pictured: part of Chula Vista bayfront plan