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Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., Dec. 9
The California Coastal Commission has filed documents indicating likely approval on a scaled-down high-rise hotel project on the former Lane Field site, original home of the minor-league San Diego Padres.
The original plans, submitted and approved in 2009, called for 800 guest rooms in two towers 205 and 275 feet tall, with another 80,000 square feet of retail space on the lower levels of the buildings.
Revised plans, first discussed last August, scale back the retail space by 16,000 square feet, call for building heights to be reduced between 10 and 30 feet, a reduction in the amount of available parking by about 150 spaces, and relocation of the buildings eastward to make room for a 1.66 acre public park along Harbor Drive. Convention and meeting space (originally planned at 50,000 square feet) and space for on-site day spas (originally 40,000 square feet) have been drastically reduced.
The project would be split into two phases, with the first phase taking place on the northern portion of the 5.7 acre property, currently used as a parking lot. This would include 275 of the total 800 hotel rooms, a number that remains unchanged though the units, originally described as “luxury” lodging with posted room rates of approximately $400/night, are now intended as mid-upscale accommodations going for closer to $200. The park, a condition of the Commission’s approval, would also go in during the first phase.
Developers Lankford & Associates, Phelps Development, and John Portman & Associates weren’t successful, however, in lobbying to get a $6 million fee to be paid before breaking ground split into two payments. In lieu of a requirement that the developer work with the Port of San Diego to develop a non-profit hostel with at least 400 beds in the downtown area, the fee was implemented. The Commission balked at a proposal that only $3 million to be paid up front, with the remainder forthcoming when the group was ready to begin construction of the larger southern portion of the development, including the additional 525 hotel rooms.
Photo: Lankford & Associates, Inc.